UFC Fight Night: Rotterdam took place last weekend, and while the card was light on big name fighters, it did provide some exciting action. We saw a main event fight between two giants, and several violent stoppages that left the crowd cheering. With the event in the rear-view mirror we now move on and decide who these fighters should fight next. Below is a list of potential future match ups for all of those involved on the card.
Alexander Volkov def. Stefan Struve
Alexander Volkov is now 3-0 in the UFC after his knockout victory over Stefan Struve this past weekend. The UFC heavyweight division is filled with huge talent gaps, and as it stands now I would say that Volkov is somewhere near the top of the middle. Most of the guys ranked ahead of him are already booked, so I say give him a fight with Ruslan Magomedov and if he wins he can perhaps have his wish of fighting in Russia sometime in the future against a top ten opponent. Magomedov has been under suspension since September but it should be ending soon so he should be available to fight.
The fight to make next: Alexander Volkov vs. Ruslan Magomedov
Stefan Struve is still a young man at only 29 years of age, but he has suffered some brutal knockouts, and it leaves me wondering how much longer he will go on fighting. He has had some noted heart issues, and along with the 7 KO losses it does not seem like the recipe for a happy and healthy life. With that being said, Struve obviously knows himself better than me so I will keep my two cents to myself in the future. As far as a future opponent for Struve, I think that a fight with Walt Harris makes sense. It’s a bit of a step back in competition, at least on paper, but Harris has won two straight and has always been an interesting talent. It will give Struve a chance to get a win, but it will also give Harris a chance to prove that he belongs higher up on the card.
The fight to make next: Stefan Struve vs. Walt Harris
Siyar Bahadurzada def. Rob Wilkinson
Siyar Bahadurzada has competed in the UFC just 5 times despite debuting back in 2012. While he has competed at welterweight recently, he did compete as a middleweight from 2003-2010. He did so again this past weekend when he picked up a TKO victory over the then undefeated Rob Wilikinson. I’m not sure if he plans to compete next at middleweight or welterweight, so I’m going to go ahead and pick a potential opponent for both divisions. If he chooses to remain at middleweight, a fight with Anthony Smith makes the most sense. Bahadurzada needs to prove that he can fight on a consistent basis before he is going to get any big or notable fights. With that being said, Smith has won two straight in impressive fashion so we could see a good fight here with the winner proving that he deserves a step up in competition. If he chooses to compete at welterweight I think Niko Price is the fight to make. Price has looked fantastic since making his UFC debut, and Bahadurzada serves as a strong test and with a win and some consistency, perhaps he can still make a run in either division.
The fight to make next: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Anthony Smith – Middleweight
The fight to make next: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Niko Price – Welterweight
Rob Wilkinson drew one hell of a straw when he was booked to face Siyar Bahadurzada in what was his UFC debut. He actually took the fight on short notice, so good on him for stepping up to the plate against such an experienced veteran. When he returns I expect it to be against an opponent with more similar experience, and I think that opponent should be Karl Roberson. Roberson recently made a good first impression when he stopped Ryan Spann on Dana Whites Tuesday Night Contender Series.
The fight to make next: Rob Wilkinson vs. Karl Roberson
Marion Reneau def. Talita Bernardo
Marion Reneau is one of the good stories in MMA. She is a full time PE coach at her local high school, as well as a UFC fighter, and she does it all at 40 years of age. She picked up a TKO win over Talita Bernardo this past weekend, and in the process improved to 2-0-1 in her last three fights with both wins coming via TKO. Reneau was originally scheduled to face former UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Germaine de Randamie until an injury forced the UFC to find Bernardo as a replacement. To me, rebooking this fight makes the most sense assuming that de Randamie can fight in a reasonable amount of time.
The fight to make next: Marion Reneau vs. Germaine de Randamie
Talita Bernardo took this fight on short notice which should earn her another shot despite the loss. Not much is known about her yet, but she showed her toughness against Reneau. Perhaps a bout against an Irene Aldana makes sense, but until we get more of an idea of her abilities it’s hard to say where she is on the roster and who she should be matched up against.
The fight to make next: Talita Bernardo vs. Irene Aldana
Leon Edwards def. Bryan Barberena
Leon Edwards has continued to impress in the octagon, and was able to win a tough decision over the always formidable and durable Bryan Barberena. Edwards could be somebody to watch here in the division, but he still needs a few more fights to really show what he is capable of. I’m a fan of managing a fighter’s career slowly and taking things step by step. In the case of Leon Edwards I think a fight with Peter Sobatta makes sense.
The fight to make next: Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobatta
Bryan Barberena is perhaps best known for submitting Sage Northcutt in what was at the time considered an upset. Since then Barberena has proven to be a tough opponent for anybody, and has managed to pick up several wins aside from his victory over Northcutt. He was as durable as ever against Edwards, but couldn’t get the job done. He has alternated wins and losses so far in the UFC and will surely be looking to get things back on track in his next fight. A fight against Jordan Mein makes sense for him. Mein is looking to break a two-fight losing streak, and would have a hell of a time doing it against Barberena.
The fight to make next: Bryan Barberena vs. Jordan Mein
Darren Till def. Bojan Velickovic
Fights to make next: Darren Till vs. Li Jingliang & Bojan Velickovic vs. Davis Ramos
Mairbek Taisumov def. Felipe Silva
Fights to make next: Mairbek Taisumov vs. Joaquim Silva & Felipe Silva vs. Desmond Green
Michel Prazeres def. Mads Burnell
Fights to make next: Michael Prazeres vs. Leonardo Santos & Mads Burnell vs. Josh Emmett
Rustam Khabilov def. Desmond Green
Fights to make next: Rustam Khabilov vs. Al Iaquinta & Desmond Green vs. Abel Trujillo
Aleksander Rakic def. Francimar Barroso
Fights to make next: Aleksander Rakic vs. Dominick Reyes & Francimar Barroso vs. Jan Blachowicz
Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Mike Santiago
Fights to make next: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Rick Glenn & Mike Santiago vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Abdul-Kerim Edilov def. Bojan Mihajlovic
Fights to make next: Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Jeremy Kimball & Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Josh Stansbury (At 0-3 it will be a shock if Mihajlovic isn’t released)
Thibault Gouti def. Andrew Holbrook
Fights to make next: Thibault Gouti vs. Darrell Horcher & Andrew Holbrook vs. Felipe Silva
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