Who’s Next? Playing Matchmaker with UFC Gdansk

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 Gdansk.


Darren Till: Winner of Stephen Thompson / Jorge Masvidal :

I don’t understand why the UFC is promoting Darren Till so hard. I mean he is a young, talented, confident, outspoken, European that has precision and power in his hands. Nobody like him has ever been a star, right? Okay, joking aside, Till talent is real. He is so calm in the cage. It appears that he sees everything thrown at him, and can land strikes at will. He dispatched Donald Cerrone which Robbie Lawler couldn’t do.

So what would I do next will Till? I wouldn’t match him with Mike Perry. I am not confidente Perry gets by Santiago Ponzinnibbio. Beating Mike Perry seems like what would give you a chance at Donald Cerrone, not the other way around. I think Till needs to fight a person that would give him a title shot if he wins. Being that the winner of Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos gets the shot at the champion, Tyron Woodley, I think the next logical fight would be the winner of Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal. I would love to see Till’s striking against either of those great strikers.


Donald Cerrone: Dong Hyun Kim:

Donald Cerrone is on a three-fight losing streak.  He still has a major problem dealing with fighters that press him. After 11 years a professional, I don’t think he is ever gonna fix this problem. After 42 professional fights, it appears like the Cowboy is nearing his last ride. He claims that he is scheduled to fight at UFC 219 on December 30th. That turn around knocked out so many possibilities. Perhaps he moves back down to lightweight to try to save his career, but if not I would match him against Dong Hyun Kim. They are two fighters that have been ranked top 15 for a long time and never faced. Both are well rounded and could give each other trouble. The winner would still have a slim glimmer of hope to get back into a title picture and the other could call it a career.


Karolina Kowalkiewicz: Winner of Carla Esparza / Cynthia Calvillo

This is what a top 5 fighter should do to an undersized journeywoman making her UFC debut. The UFC set Karolina Kowalkiewicz to rebound from back to back losses. With Joanna Jedrzejczyk running through the entire division, a few wins and Kowalkiewicz could get another shot.

Cynthia Calvillo is a woman that the UFC wants to be a title challenger. If she could get by former champion, Carla Esparza, then a  fight against Kowalkiewicz could make sense.  Esparza could get some hype again if she could derail the Calvillo train. Both matchups would be right for Kowalkiewicz.


Jodie Esquibel: Jessica Penne

Jodie Esquibel was put in the toughest situation. She was forced to fight a top 5 opponent in her UFC debut. She has to travel all the way to Poland, face her opponent in her home country. Also, add in that Esquibel is very small for the weight class. Esquibel is really an atomweight.  I would put Esquibel against Jessica Penne. The former title challenger is on a three-fight losing streak. She also used to fight at atomweight. Let the two Invicta standouts fight for relevance in the UFC.


Jan Blachowicz: C.B. Dolloway

Just when I gave up on Blachowicz if shows great improvement. The scouting report on Blachowicz was always a terrible wrestler with a poor gas tank. Balchowicz showed much-improved takedown defense in this fight and was going strong in the second round when he got the submission.

Now on to the submission. I have heard many people call it a Bulldog choke. I am not a BJJ wizard by any means, but I am pretty sure it was just a standing rear naked choke without any hooks in. Go check out Carlos Newton’s choke on Pat Miletich. That is a bulldog choke. I heard Zane Simon describe the choke from Blachowicz as what you do to a person if they get too rowdy at the keg party.

I am not sold on this new found takedown defense. Let’s match him against another wrestler and see if he shows it again. CB Dolloway makes sense to me.


Devin Clark: Sean O’Connell

What a terrible showing by Devin Clark! I mean he was a budding prospect, who should have easily dispatched of Blachowiz. Clark has shown great athletism and relentless takedown skills in his last few UFC fights. Hopefully, this was just a speed bump and Clark can get back on track and be one of the top prospects in the UFC. What do you do when you need to get a guy back on the winning track? Give him Sean O’Connell.


Oskar Piechota: Brendan Allen from LFA

I was impressed by the undefeated debuting Oskar Pechota. He displayed a well-rounded game. He was able to impose his will on both the feet and the ground. The Polish prospect is young and needs to be worked up slowly. Brendan Allen is a tough fighter out of LFA. Like Pechota, he showed a well-rounded game. I think you match up the two young promising stars and see who the fighter is to back.


Jonathan Wilson: Cut From the UFC

Jonathan Wilson is 1-3 in the UFC and on a three-fight losing streak. In his last three fights, he has shown almost no offense at all. He attempted he saved his UFC career by moving down to middleweight but was unsuccessful there as well. I don’t think Wilson is a UFC level fighter.


  • Marcin Held: Polo Reyes
  • Nasrat Haqparast: Johnny Case
  • Brian Kelleher: Jose Quinones
  • Damian Stasiak: Reginaldo Vieira
  • Ramazan Emeev: Marvin Vettori
  • Sam Alvey: Brad Scott
  • Andre Fili: Dennis Bermudez
  • Artem Lobov: Josh Emmett
  • Warlley Alves: Danny Roberts
  • Salim Touahri: James Nakashima (Bring in From LFA)
  • Aspen Ladd: Sarah Moras
  • Lina Lansberg: Kalindra Faria
  • Josh Emmett: Artem Lobov
  • Felipe Arantes: Gavin Tucker

Make sure you follow me on Twitter: @ShilltheThrill1 and tell me who you would match up.

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