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Who’s Next? Playing Matchmaker with UFC Japan Fighters

By Keith Shillan

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 UFC Japan.

Ovince St. Preaux: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Ovince St. Preaux (OSP) did nothing for his career by beating Yushin Okami on Friday Night. Sure it was fun for him to get another submission by Von Flue choke. However, he still beat an undersized opponent on short notice. I think the UFC should just rebook the fight that was supposed to take place on Friday. Have OSP face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a rematch.


Yushin Okami: Rick Story at 170 lbs.

Yushin Okami was put in such a tough position. He moved up two weight classes (He has been fighting at welterweight in the WSOF/PFL recently), on short notice to face a top 10 ranked Ovince St. Preaux. He was clearly outmatched. The UFC should reward the longtime veteran by giving him a fight in his actual welterweight class. I would match him up against fellow longtime veteran Rick Story.


Jessica Andrade: Tecia Torres

What a performance by Jessica Andrade. She bullied the much bigger Claudia Gadelha and beat her worst than Joanna Jedrzejczyk has. She pressured her fellow Brazilian and was able to overcome Gadelha’s size with brute strength.

When Andrade fought Jedrzejczyk, I picked Andrade to get to pull off the upset. Jedrzejczyk outclassed Andrade with ease. That said, I still think Andrade is the person that could beat Jedrzejczyk. If she could learn to cut the cage off instead of chasing the champion and close the distance, she would have a good shot. If she could get her hands on Jedrzejczyk, she could take her down and land some heavy ground and pound.

I would match Jessica Andrade against Tecia Torres with the winner getting a title shot after Jedrzejczyk faces Rose Namajunas.


Claudia Gadelha: Andrea Lee (LFA/Invicta) at 125 lbs

Claudia Gadelha was in such a tough spot before Friday Night. If she was able to defeat the very tough Jessica Andrade, she still probably wouldn’t have got a shot at Joanna Jedrzejczyk after already losing to her twice. Now that she lost to Andrade, she has a very long road to get to the strawweight title shot.  Gadelha was unable to handle fighting a fighter that was more physical than her for the first time in her career.

I think Gadelha should move to the new flyweight division. I would match her up against Andrea Lee, who fights at flyweight for LFA and Invicta. Lee is the perfect match for the UFC. She is talented. She has charisma. But most important she is smoking hot. The UFC needs to fill the new division with talent. Let Valentina Shevchenko face the winner of TUF 26 for the title. Have Gadelha and Lee fight for the #1 contender’s spot.


“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim: Tony Martin

The other Dong Hyun Kim beat the biggest name of his career. For the rest of his life, he gets to tell people that he knocked out Takanori Gomi. I would match him against a real UFC next. Tony Martin makes sense.


Takanori Gomi: Retire

Takanori Gomi is a legend of the sport. Sadly, he is a ghost of the fighter he once was. Gomi has lost five fights in a row. All which was stopped in the first round. He should have placed his gloves in the middle of the cage in his home country. He had some huge wins in the Saitama Super Arena. He should have ended it there.


Gohkan Saki: Gian Villante

MMA is a star-driven sport. Gohkan Saki is a potential MMA star. To call him a world class kickboxer would be underselling him. He is one of the greatest kickboxers in history. He is extremely confident and knows how to sell a punch. He is easily the best striker in the very shallow UFC light heavyweight division. He might be the best striker in the entire UFC. If he could learn how to stuff takedowns and conserve some energy, you could be looking at the next big thing in MMA. Think Mirko Cro Cop when he first came to Pride FC.

At 33 years old and tons of mileage on him, he needs to get an accelerated push. Gian Villante is the next guy I would match him with.


Henrique da Silva: Cut by the UFC

Henrique da Silva has lost 4 fights in a row in the UFC including being stopped in 3 of the fights. He was dumb enough to stand up with a kickboxing legend. Hneedsed to be cut.


Teruto Ishihara: Alex Caceres

“Where’s my bitches at”? I hate that the UFC censored Teruto Ishihara. What was more fun than a Japanese fighter that barely speaks English but loves the women? He is everything that the UFC wanted Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama to be.  He isn’t a special talent, but he is entertaining. Let’s match up the last two guys that beat up Rolando Dy. Give Ishihara Alex Caceres.


Rolando Dy: Dennis Siver

Rolando Dy is probably not UFC material. That said, he did take his debut fight on short notice and followed that up with a very entertaining fight against Teruto Ishihara. Give him one more shot. Dennis Siver was the first mid level featherweight I could think of.


Jussier “Formiga” da Silva: Ben Nguyen

With a long line in front of him, Jussier Formiga has a long road to a flyweight title shot. However, the Brazilian is a world class grappler and is always tough to beat. I think him vs Ben Nguyen makes a lot of sense. Formiga has been a stalwart of top 10 rankings for a long time. Nguyen is 4-1 in the UFC and coming off the biggest win of his career. Let’s have these two top 10 fighters lock horns.


Yuta “Ulka” Sasaki: Winner of John Moraga vs Magomed Bibulatov

Ulka Sasaki looked very good in the start of the fight versus Jussier Formiga. He displayed fast hands but unfortunately got taken down by a world class BJJ guy. With his huge size and length at flyweight, Sasaki is a tough out for anybody. I would match him up with the winner of John Moraga vs Magomed Bibulatov.



  • Keita Nakamura: Bryan Barberena
  • Alex Morono: Alberto Mina
  • Syuri Kondo: Ashley Yodor
  • Chan-Mi Jeon: Kailin Curren
  • Shinsho Anzai: Jordan Mein
  • Luke Jumeau: Jonathan Meunier
  • Daichi Abe: Nathan Coy
  • Hyun Gyu Lim: Cut From the UFC

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