Who’s Next? Playing Matchmaker with UFC Charlotte Fighters

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So we have all done it after a certain fight. We have all made suggestions on who a certain fighter should fight next after a match. This article isn’t me looking into a crystal ball and predicting who the UFC will matchup up next; it is me stating that if I was in control of the UFC matchmaking how I would match these fighters next. I will give my matchups for all the fighters of the UFC Charlotte. 

 

UFC Charlotte Main Card Fighters

 

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Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Chris Weidman

Last April when Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was knocked out by Robert Whittaker, the talk of Jacare being done as a title contender reached an All-Time high. Since that fight, Jacare has turned a year older and relocated to Orlando, where he trains with a new team.

The 38-year-old Brazilian halted Father Time once again on Saturday night. Jacare made quick work of Derek Brunson in Brunson’s home city of Charlotte. Jacare displayed his underrated striking arsenal. He snapped Brunson with a high kick and finished him off with some power shots.

While Jacare’s window of capturing the UFC gold is closing, he might still have some moxie left in him to make one final stand. The longtime title contender should face off against former champion Chris Weidman. The two somehow has never crossed paths and would be a fantastic stylistic matchup. One of them would be set up for a final title shot.

 

Derek Brunson: Vitor Belfort

Just a few weeks ago, the MMA Takeover staff published an article where each staff member made a bold prediction for 2018. My prediction was that Derek Brunson would finally reach his potential, win the middleweight title and be named our Fighter of the Year for 2018. I think it is safe to say that I failed at my prediction.

My prediction was based on the view glimpses of greatness that Brunson has shown. He once was beating top contender, Yoel Romero until he found a way to lose. He was extremely close to knocking out current champion, Robert Whittaker but somehow got himself knocked out instead. He simply can’t get over the hurdle in big fights.

I have given up on him. Vitor Belfort is looking for an opponent for Belfort’s retirement fight. I would favor the younger Brunson to beat the legendary Belfort. However, the past has shown that you can’t trust Brunson at all.

 

Andre Fili: Zabit Magomedsharipov

I scored the fight for Dennis Bermudez. I thought his constant pressure with his calf kicks earned him the victory. That said, it was not a robbery and I have no issue with anybody that scored the fight for Fili.

Fili has always had talent. A lengthy striker that surprised me with his wrestling ability. I was shocked at how many times he took Bermudez, the more accomplished wrestler, down. He also displayed great takedown defense.

I think the 27-year-old Team Alpha Male product should square off against Zabit Magomedsharipov next. Magomedsharipov is a Mark Henry protege that is a tall featherweight with world class Sambo. Let’s see if Fili can stall the progression of Magomedsharipov or of he will just become a name on his journey to the title.

 

Dennis Bermudez: Winner of Artem Lobov vs Alex Caceres

It wasn’t that long ago that Bermudez was thought of as a possible future champion. The NCAA wrestler with power in his fists has not come close to that. The New Yorker has lost five out of his last seven fights including his last three. While I did score the fight for Bermudez, it is time for him to take a step down in competition. Match him up with the winner of Artem Lobov vs Alex Caceres.

 

Gregor Gillespie: Daniel Hooker

I am high on Gregor Gillespie like everyone, but I think we need to pump the breaks on talk of him facing a top 10 fighter. He will have to overcome a lot of obstacles to be a champion. He is small for the lightweight class. Gillespie doesn’t have much experience as he has only fought professionally for four years and didn’t have any amateur fights. He is already 31 years old, so his prime years will likely be cut short.

Gillespie is a world class wrestler, with punching power and dominant top game. Have him face off against the well rounded Daniel Hooker, who is coming off a big win over Marc Diakiese. If he can pass that test, it is time for a top 15 opponent.

 

Jordan Rinaldi: Erik Koch

I didn’t understand why the UFC placed Jordan Rinaldi against Gregor Gillespie. Rinaldi is a good fighter, but nobody had expectations that he would upset Gillespie. Usually, the UFC matches hometown fighters in fights they have a chance at winning (Look at UFC 220 with the Boston fighters). He needs to take a drastic step down in competition. Erik Koch makes sense to me.

 

Drew Dober: James Krause

Drew Dober vs Frank Camacho is the early leader for Fight of the Year. Dober is a good kickboxer that has improved by leaps and bounds over the years. Dober plans on moving back down to lightweight. I want him to face off against a more technical striker that won’t throw out a gameplan when facing him. James Krause is the perfect opponent for that.

 

Frank Camacho: Vinc Pichel

Frank Camacho is so fun to watch. He can take a beating and won’t stop. He invites his opponent into a firefight. Vinc Pichel seems like a fighter that would want to engage Camacho in that kind of fight. Let’s match them up and see if Camacho can be involved in a third straight fight of the year candidate.

 

Prelims:
  • Bobby Green: Marco Polo Reyes
  • Erik Koch: Jordan Rinaldi
  • Mirsad Bektic: Arnold Allen
  • Godofredo Pepey: Makwan Amirkhani
  • Katlyn Chookagian: Jessica Rose-Clark
  • Mara Romero Borella: Montana De La Rosa
  • Randa Markos: Michelle Waterson
  • Juliana Lima: Tatiana Suarez
  • Ji Yeon Kim: Shana Dobson
  • Justine Kish: Bec  Rawlings
  • Vinc Pichel: Frank Camacho
  • Joaquim Silva: Bring In Islam Mamedov from WSOF
  • Niko Price: Abubakar Nurmagomedov
  • George Sullivan: Release From the UFC
  • Cory Sandhagen: Bring In Thahn Le from LFA and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’s Series
  • Austin Arnette: Loser of Humberto Bandeney vs Steven Peterson

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