Who’s Next? Playing Match Maker with UFC 219 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 219. 

 

Cris “Cyborg” Justino: Megan Anderson

There can’t be any doubter in Cris “Cyborg” Justino anymore, right?  She is a once in a lifetime athlete. She showed how technically skilled she is by basically winning a kickboxing matchup against a former boxing champion. The Brazilian was landing her counter right hand at will. The scary thing about Cyborg is that she is a multiple time world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has rarely shown her grappling in a Mixed Martial Arts match.

It is a tragedy that Cyborg can’t make it down to bantamweight. If so, there would be so many possible matchups for her. However at featherweight, the only logical option Invicta FC champion, Megan Anderson. Anderson is a true featherweight standing at 6″0″. The two were scheduled to face each other at UFC 214 until Anderson withdrew from the fight due to personal reasons. The two women want the matchup. It’s the only one to do.

 

Holly Holm: Sara McMann

Holly Holm is extremely tough with tremendous heart. That was shown on Saturday when she was battered around by Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Holm was willing to move up in weight and challenge a woman that very few are willing to fight. My issue with Holm is that I don’t think she is as skilled as many people believe. While she has a boxing background, she really hasn’t beaten many with her hands besides Ronda Rousey. Her best weapon is her high kick. However, she gets into a very predictable rhythm with Cyborg and other (Valentina Shevchenke and Germaine de Randamie) have been able to figure out. With Holm being 1-4 in her last five fights, even moving back down to bantamweight, she shouldn’t be in the title picture. I would have her face off against the wrestler, Sara McMann in a classic striker vs grappler matchup and she which women can get back in the title talk.

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Tony Ferguson

I don’t care about rankings or belts, Khabib Nurmagomedov is the best lightweight in the world. He has the best top pressure and ground and pound that I have ever seen. It was hard to watch him punish Barboza for signing a fight contract to fight “the Eagle”

If Conor McGregor comes back in the near future (or ever), Tony Ferguson should get the first crack at “Notorious”. However, I really doubt if he will fight anytime soon. Now, Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been previously scheduled to fight each other three separate times and the fight gods have found a way to not allow it to happen. These two guys are two of the best streaks in the UFC and need to fight each other. Let’s give it one more shot and pray that we find so favor from the fight gods.

 

Edson Barboza: Justin Gaethje

Edson Barboza is insanely tough. Not many people could have sustained the beaten that Khabib Nurmagomedov put on him and in the 3rd round still trying to win the fight. I thought Barboza had a good strategy. Keep moving and attack Nurmagomedov’s legs. He also defended some takedowns. However, he simply didn’t have the skills to deal with the insane pressure and relentless of Nurmagomedov. Barboza will have to work his way back up to the title picture. I think the first roadblock on his journey should be Justin Gaethje. These two have shared a mutual interest in fighting each other, and it would be a spectacular matchup. Imagine these two throwing shots at each other, while their heavy leg kicks. I want this fight to happen so bad!

 

Daniel Hooker: Lando Vannata

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Daniel Hooker has had 8 fights in the UFC and has finally ended his pattern of win-lose-win-lose. He was able to pick up the biggest win of his career by submitting his highly favored foe, Marc Diakiese. Nobody is expecting the Australian fighter to be a title contender, but the well rounded technical fighter can beat some talented guys. He asked for a fight at UFC 221, I would give him his wish and match him against Lando Vannata.

 

Marc Diakiese: Kajan Johnson

Everyone was excited about Diakiese before his entrance into the UFC. After starting 3-0 and having one of the best KOs in UFC history over Teemu Packalen, many were calling him the next star from Great Britain. Since dropping two fights in a row, people are starting to categorize him as a bust or wasted talent. Diakiese must learn that he can’t simply “out athlete” everyone in the division. He must start to develop his techniques better and form a better game plan. He needs a step down in competition, Kajan Johnson seems like the right choice for his next foe.

 

Carla Esparza: Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Carla Esparza displayed what it means to be a seasoned veteran on Saturday against the budding prospect Cynthia Calvillo. After dropping the first round, she made the proper adjustments and was able to grind out the last two rounds to win the contest. Despite losing a controversial fight to Randa Markos (I scored it for Esparza), the former women’s strawweight champion, Esparza has only lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I don’t think Esparza is well rounded enough to win the title, but because of her record, you have to give her a big fight. Esparza along with Karolina Kowalkiewicz are two top 10 ranked fighter that seems to be on the outside looking in on the title picture. While they are waiting for their chance at the title again, let them fight each other.

 

Cynthia Calvillo: Winner of Maryna Moroz vs Juliana Lima

Tons of great fighters lose fights to veterans early in their career. The first one that comes to my mind is when BJ Penn lost to Jens Pulver. Another example would be Georges St. Pierre losing to Matt Hughes. Hopefully, for Calvillo, this is another example and she has a great career. In this fight, there were moments when she looked like a future champion. Her top game in the first round was very impressive. I was really surprised that she didn’t initiate a takedown in the last two rounds. Now, I know this won’t be a popular pick, but I think Calvillo should take a major step back in competition to build some more experience. I would match her with the winner of Maryna Moroz and Jamie Moyle

 

Neil Magny: Jorge Masvidal

Neil Magny is what he is. He isn’t a great striker, but he can outstrike someone that isn’t. He isn’t a great wrestler, but he could out wrestle someone that isn’t. Sure, he has some weaknesses. He doesn’t use his massive length, and never checks kicks, but he is still a good fighter. He asked for a top 5 opponent next. I don’t think he deserves that, so I gave him a top 10 fighter instead. Magny vs Jorge Masvidal seems like a good matchup to me.

 

Carlos Condit: Mike Perry

Some will say Carlos Condit has lost a step since losing a controversial decision to Robbie Lawler, I would argue that he is 1-4 in his last five fights. I think that shows that he might have lost a step way before then. He just matches up good against Lawler. Can he still beat a quality opponent? I think so. It’s just got to be someone that won’t wrestle him. Mike Perry won’t do that. Him and Condit both want a firefight. Match them up.

Prelims

  • Michal Oleksiejczuk: Devin Clark
  • Khalil Rountree: Viktor Nemkov (Bring In from M-1 Challenge)
  • Myles Jury: Winner of Shane Burgos / Calvin Kattar 
  • Rick Glenn: Alex Caceras
  • Omari Akhmedov: Ryan Janes
  • Marvin Vettori: Artem Frolov (Bring In from M-1 Challenge)
  • Matheus Nicolau: Winner of Deiveson Figueiredo / Joseph Morales 
  • Louis Smolka: Release From the UFC
  • Tim Elliott: Winner of Dustin Ortiz / Alexandre Pantoja
  • Mark De La Rosa: Damian Stasiak

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