FIGHTS TO MAKE NEXT: UFC 230 Edition

By Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

Nov 3, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Jared Cannonier (blue gloves) celebrates beating David Branch (red gloves) during UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Cormier def. Derrick Lewis to retain UFC Heavyweight Championship

Daniel Cormier came into UFC 230 as a heavy favorite and did exactly what was expected of him. He dismantled the number two ranked heavyweight fighter in the world and in the process defend his heavyweight championship. People will always compare him to Jon Jones but in this writer’s opinion he has done more than enough to stake a claim as one of the greatest of all time. He is a well-rounded fighter in a division that does not have a lot of them and his elite skills such as his wrestling and clinch work are second to none in most cases. He seems dead set on facing Brock Lesnar is his next fight and if not, he has said he would like to defend his belt against Stipe Miocic or return to light-heavyweight to face Jon Jones. The Brock Lesnar fight is a weird thing because Lesnar certainly does not deserve it in the sporting sense of the word but that usually doesn’t matter in the UFC. I’m not really sure what would keep the Cormier/Lesnar fight from happening at this point. So, for that reason that’s the fight I’ll go with. Its hard to see it being very competitive, but it will certainly be a spectacle and it will be a pay day for Cormier and he deserves them at this point in his career.

Fight to make next: Daniel Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar for UFC Heavyweight Championship

Derrick Lewis is without a doubt one of the most entertaining personalities and fighters in all of MMA. He has collected quite a few exciting knockouts over the years and he has managed to establish himself as one of the UFC’s top heavyweights. I believe he did enough to warrant earning a title shot and I hope that he continues to fight for years to come. But with that being said he ran into a far superior fighter on Saturday. Lewis came into the fight as a heavy underdog and for good reason. Many of his wins have come from his ability to capitalize on the mistakes of fighters in fights that he is sometimes losing on points. The problem is that Cormier is not that type of fighter that will make those types of mistakes. Lewis didn’t have the wrestling defense or the ability to get back to his feet when put on his back. Lewis is a great talent but watching him fight last night my main thought was that he needs to find a new gym. He wins but he doesn’t seem to improve much aside from adding flashy kicks to his arsenal. Alexei Oleinik has been on a roll as of late and is coming off perhaps the biggest win of his career over Mark Hunt. I’m a fan of bringing guys back a notch when they suffer a loss. This fight will give Lewis a chance to show that he can deal with a high-level grappler and it will give Oleinik the chance to get closer to a potential title shot.

Fight to make next: Derrick Lewis vs. Alexei Oleinik

Ronaldo Souza def. Chris Weidman

Jacare Souza seemed on his way to a decision loss when he caught Chris Weidman with several punches that knocked the former champion out. Souza was on a tear several years ago when he won five straight but was never able to earn a title shot. Since that winning streak ended he has won four of his last seven bouts. The problem that he could have is that two of the losses during that stretch were to Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whitaker who are of course fighting for the championship at UFC 234. What this means is that regardless of who wins the belt the champion will have a victory over Souza which doesn’t makes things easier in terms of earning a shot. But what could maybe get him over that hump would be a victory over the hottest prospect in all of MMA right now. It’s safe to say that Israel Adesanya graduated from prospect to contender with his KO victory over Derek Brunson and its now only a matter of time before he can no longer be denied a title shot. A win over Jacare should be enough to get him there.

Fight to make next: Ronaldo Souza vs. Israel Adesanya

Chris Weidman is one of the more interesting cases in all of MMA. He rose to fame when he defeated Anderson Silva and ended the Brazilian’s nearly decade long stranglehold in the middleweight division. He then defeated Silva in a rematch, and also earned victories over Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida before things changed. For the first time since winning the belt, Weidman was matched up with someone who was more of a contemporary than an established veteran. Luke Rockhold capitalized of off Weidman’s mistake and took his belt in brutal fashion. From there Weidman would lose to Gegard Mousasi and Yoel Romero before finally breaking the streak with a submission victory in a tough fight over Kelvin Gastelum. That win over Gastelum is the one victory that is keeping him truly relevant in the middleweight division. He is an incredibly skilled and well-rounded fighter and he is never outclassed but he has just come up short a lot as of late and that was the case at UFC 230. He remains a top ranked middleweight thought and will likely face one in his next bout. Luke Rockhold was the originally scheduled opponent for Weidman before an injury took him out of the planned rematch. I don’t see a reason why they can’t rebook that fight for some time in the future.

Fight to make next: Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold II

Jared Cannonier def. David Branch

Jared Cannonier came into this fight as an underdog and also coming off of two straight losses. He proceeded to put on the best performance of his professional career when he stopped David Branch with punches early in the second round. It was clear towards the end of the first that Branch was wavering and Cannonier wasted little time taking him out in the second frame. Despite the win over a high ranked opponent I think its still fair to bring Cannonier back a bit instead of just tossing him to the wolves based off of one win. Abu Azaitar is a very interesting character in MMA and he is worth a google if you are not familiar with him. He has a very large fan base in certain areas of the world and he also happens to have a very respectable record of 14-1 as well as a 1-0 record in the UFC. Cannonier seems like a different fighter since moving to Arizona to train at the MMA Lab so it would be interesting to see what he could do against the hard hitting Azaitar.

Fight to make next: Jared Cannonier vs. Abu Azaitar

David Branch is one of my favorite fighters, so I hated to see him lose this fight especially considering that it was one short notice against an unranked opponent. He has always seemed like a guy that could be really great due to his length and grappling abilities, but he just never seems to get everything working at once in the UFC. This is a tough loss for Branch but one that he should be able to recover from. Antonio Carlos Junior has turned himself into a skilled mixed martial artist as of late and seems capable of winning with more than just his submissions. It’s a bit of a step back for Branch but losing to an unranked fighter in the way that he did will probably have some negative effects.

Fight to make next: David Branch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior

Karl Roberson def. Jack Marshman

Karl Roberson continues to show his well-rounded skills and this time it was with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory over Jack Marshman. Roberson has a background in professional kickboxing but has shown himself as more than capable of handling himself on the ground in certain situations as well. He now sits at 2-1 in the UFC and should be geared up for a step up in competition. Andrew Sanchez won the Ultimate Fighter some time ago and since then he has not done much in the way of impressing UFC officials. But he has looked good as of late and should serve as a good opponent for Roberson.

Fight to make next: Karl Roberson vs. Andrew Sanchez

Jack Marshman is a scrappy fighter, he hits hard and if he hits your chin he can hurt you. But on Saturday he looked stiff and was soundly defeated by Karl Roberson. He doesn’t seem to have much upside, but he does have exciting fights so hopefully that’s enough to keep him around for another opportunity. Markus Perez came into the UFC talking a big game but has so far not backed it up. He is 1-2 in three octagon appearances and might be in danger of losing his job if he doesn’t pick up a win soon.

Fight to make next: Jack Marshman vs. Markus Perez

Israel Adesanya def. Derek Brunson

Israel Adesanya answered a lot of questions on Saturday night. It was clear from the start that Derek Brunson was less than enthused to be facing Adesanya and he almost immediately tried taking the fight to the ground. Adesanya largely stuffed all of the attempts with no problem though and proceeded to pick Brunson off with a couple of well-placed strikes towards the end of the first round. With the win Adesanya has shown the world that he is to be taken seriously as a contender. With his meteoric rise and the support of the UFC brass is seems likely that he could be given a shot at the title pretty soon. I still think he needs one more win though. Ronaldo Souza is a guy who is nearing the end of a fantastic MMA career, but he has shown that he still has something left in the tank. A win for Souza can give him a last second shot at the title before he leaves his prime while a win for Adesanya could be what gives him his first crack at an MMA world championship.

Fight to make next: Israel Adesanya vs. Ronaldo Souza

It was a rough night for Derek Brunson and that is to put it lightly. The veteran struggled to implement his game plan throughout the entire fight and Israel Adesanya made easy work of him on the feet. Brunson was a fantastic grappler at earlier points in his career but over the last few years he seems to have favored the knockout. He tried going back to his grappling against Adesanya, but it just wasn’t there. Brad Tavares is another top ten fighter that has felt the wrath of Adesanya. It will be interesting to see how these two return to form after such one-sided beatings.

Fight to make next: Derek Brunson vs. Brad Tavares


NEXT: DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON AND EDDIE ALVAREZ TO BE FEATURED IN ONE CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX TOURNAMENTS


Undercard:

Jordan Rinaldi def. Jason Knight

Fight to make next:

Jordan Rinaldi vs. Danny Henry

Jason Knight vs. Martin Bravo

Sijara Eubanks def. Roxanne Modafferi

Fight to make next:

Sijara Eubanks vs. Montana De La Rosa

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Lauren Murphy

Sheymon Moraes def. Julio Arce

Fight to make next:

Sheymon Moraes vs. Steven Peterson

Julio Arce vs. Brandon Davis

Lyman Good def. Ben Saunders

Fight to make next:

Lyman Good vs. Bryan Barberena

Ben Saunders vs. Zak Cummings

Matt Frevola and Lando Vannata fought to a DRAW

Fight to make next:

Matt Frevola vs. Marc Diakiese

Lando Vannata vs. Alex White

Shane Burgos def. Kurt Holobaugh

Fight to make next:

Shane Burgos vs. Michael Johnson

Kurt Holobaugh vs. Gavin Tucker

Marcus Rogerio De Lima def. Adam Wieczorek

Fight to make next:

Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs. Arjan Bhullar

Adam Wieczorek vs. Hu Yaozang

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