FIGHTS TO MAKE NEXT: UFC Fight Night 127 edition

Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

Fabricio Werdum (photo credit Jason Silva © MMATorch)

With UFC Fight Night 127 in the books, it time to look ahead at what could be next for every fighter on the card.

Alexander Volkov def. Fabricio Werdum via KO (Punches)

Alexander Volkov picked up the biggest win of his career on Saturday. He weathered through Fabricio Werdum’s early grappling attack, and landed shots continuously throughout the four rounds, until he landed the big KO shots midway through the fourth. Volkov was patient, poised and looked good enough to warrant a top 5 ranking in the heavyweight division with his performance.

Following the fight, he called for a title shot in his home country of Russia, and while that’s a nice thought I really don’t think it’s the right direction for the division.

Primarily, Stipe Miocic (Or Daniel Cormier) should not be forced to defend the title in such hostile territory. Volkov is good but doesn’t deserve what he is requesting, at least right now. Heavyweight has some killers in the top 5 and I think he needs to beat at least one more of those guys before he gets a shot.

Cain Velasquez has been MIA for quite some time now, and there are rumblings about him wanting to return at UFC 226. However, with Velasquez until he actually steps into the cage, it is hard to say that anything is a guarantee. Assuming he can fight soon, I think that Velasquez should be the next opponent for Volkov. A win for Volkov should be enough to earn him a title shot.

Fight to make next: Alexander Volkov vs. Cain Velasquez

It was clear from the beginning of the fight that Fabricio Werdum wanted to take Alexander Volkov down. He was successful several times, but ultimately couldn’t get a finish. Aside from a few dominant positions he never really threatened Volkov and appeared to gas as the fight went into the later rounds. He appeared to be carrying a bit more weight than normal, and I wonder if that was by design or if it is a sign of age, lack of discipline, or something else. I am not questioning Werdum’s discipline, but I just thought it was a less than inspiring and rather one-dimensional performance from a guy that has shown himself to be a very complete martial artist over the last few years.

It was stated several times during the fight that the two trained together in the past, and perhaps this was the reason for Werdum doing what he did. It’s possible that he dominated Volkov on the ground in the past and thought he could do so again. Either way he has now suffered his second loss in his last four fights and at 40 years old he really can’t afford many more.

Werdim is still a former champion, and a top ranked fighter so I think that he will get a big fight next despite this loss. Derrick Lewis wants Francis Ngannou, but I think Lewis vs. Werdum makes more sense. Lewis and Ngannou are two of the only potential future contenders in the division and I can’t see a reason to have them try to take each other out right now.

Fight to make next: Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis

Jan Blachowicz def. Jimi Manuwa via Unanimous Decision

The most unexciting rematch in recent memory turned out to be one of the best fights the lightheavyweight division has seen in a while. Jan Blachowicz took a pretty serious beating in the first fight but dished out just as much punishment in the rematch. While he appeared cautious at times (In fairness who wouldn’t against Manuwa?) he showed patience and was able to connect with several shots that knocked Manuwa down, and badly busted his nose. He picked his shots and worked for takedowns in route to a unanimous decision victory.

He has now won three straight fights and could be looking at a top 5 ranking after this win over Manuwa. While an immediate rematch with Manuwa would be fun, it really doesn’t make sense right now. The fight to make is Jan Blachowicz vs. Ilir Latifi. Both fighters have won several in a row and could be dark horse contenders in a division that could soon be without both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.

Fight to make next: Jan Blachowicz vs. Ilir Latifi

Jimi Manuwa is one of the scariest guys in the UFC, but he got beat up Saturday night. Manuwa was looking for the KO from the beginning but it evaded him and Blachowicz can now say that not only is he the only man to have ever gone to decision with Manuwa, but he can now say he’s done it twice.

Manuwa stalked Blachowicz and managed to land some big shots but none of them were big enough. This makes two straight losses for Manuwa, and he will really need a win in his next fight if he wants to remain relevant. The same can be said about Misha Cirkunov, though he may be in an even deeper hole. Both guys need a win here, and both guys often find a finish. Should be a fun fight.

Fight to make next: Jimi Manuwa vs. Misha Cirkunov

Tom Duquesnoy def. Terrion Ware via Unanimous Decision

I will start off by saying that I disagreed with the decision and thought that Terrion Ware should have got the nod. Duquesnoy still did what he could though and will get the win on his record despite what I or anybody else thinks. He has now had two rough performances in a row.

Ricardo Ramos put himself on the map with a violent KO victory over Aiemann Zahabi and would probably like to follow that performance up with another one against a notable prospect like Duquesnoy.

Fight to make next: Tom Duquesnoy vs. Ricardo Ramos

As stated above I think that Terrion Ware did enough to earn his first UFC win, but it wasn’t to be. Keeping this in mind I think that he will get another shot in the UFC despite three straight losses. He will need to pick up a win to stick around, the same can be said about Joe Soto. Soto was on a run but has since been stopped in back to back fights. To borrow a term from pro wrestling I will call this one a loser leaves town match.

Fight to make next: Terrion Ware vs. Joe Soto

Leon Edwards def. Peter Sobotta via TKO (Punches)

Leon Edwards picked up a win in the final seconds of his fight with Peter Sobotta and with that picked up his 5th straight victory. After the fight he asked for the Darren Till fight and I think he’s onto something. He isn’t a big name but has been consistent and I think he deserves this chance to take Till’s spot. As for Till, this is a chance for him to pick up a quality win in his home country.

Fight to make next: Leon Edwards vs. Darren Till

Peter Sobotta saw his two-fight win streak snapped in the final moments of his fight with Leon Edwards. It must be a tough pill to swallow, but he is 4-2 in his current UFC run and should be viewed as a key part of any card that could take place in Germany in the future. Despite a few bumps in the road he is overall a fun fighter to watch. A fight with Jessin Ayari makes as much sense as any.

Fight to make next: Peter Sobotta vs. Jessin Ayari

Charles Byrd def. John Phillips via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Fights to make next:

Charles Byrd vs. Julian Marquez

John Phillips vs. Keith Berish

Danny Roberts def. Oliver Enkamp via KO (Punch)

Fights to make next:

Danny Roberts vs. Shinsho Anzai

Oliver Enkamp vs. Jim Wallhead

Danny Henry def. Hakeem Dawodu via Submission (Guillotine)

Fights to make next:

Danny Henry vs. Arnold Allen

Hakeem Dawodu vs. Shane Young

Paul Craig def. Magomed Ankalaev via Submission (Triangle Choke)

Fights to make next:

Paul Craig vs. Jake Collier

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Khalil Rountree

Kajan Johnson def. Stevie Ray via Split Decision

Fights to make next:

Kajan Johnson vs. Rustam Khabilov

Stevie Ray vs. Desmond Green

Dmitry Sosnovskiy def. Mark Godbeer via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Fights to make next:

Dmitry Sosnovskiy vs. Justin Ledet

Mark Godbeer vs. Marcelo Golm


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