Fights to Make Next after UFC Fortaleza

By Cole Henry, mmatorch Contributor

Feb 2, 2019; Fortaleza, Brazil; Marlon Moraes (blue gloves) reacts to the fight against Raphael Assuncao (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Arena CFO. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Marlon Moraes def. Raphael Assuncao via Submission (Guillotine)

Marlon Moraes is without a doubt the most deserving contender for a title shot in the bantamweight division. He has won four straight fights against top competition, and with his latest win over Raphael Assuncao, he has avenged the only blemish on his UFC record. When he initially made the move to the UFC, people wondered if his skills would translate. We have so often seen highly touted fighters from outside of the UFC come in only to falter when faced with the bright lights, and consistent, high-level competition. But Marlon Moraes has absolutely proven himself with a decision win over John Dodson, knockout wins over Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera, and his latest, a submission win over Assuncao. To put it simply, Marlon Moraes deserve a shot at some gold. But as is often the case in the UFC, simplicity is never an option. While Marlon Moraes is the most deserving contender at Bantamweight, an argument could be made that he is actually NOT the most deserving contender in the UFC.

I don’t have to tell you that Henry Cejudo recently made quick of Bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, and some are pushing for the Olympian to receive the next shot at 135. In my opinion, though that will just create a log jam. In the interest of the sport, and fair competition, I think that Moraes should receive the shot here.

Fight to make next: Marlon Moraes vs. TJ Dillashaw for UFC Bantamweight Championship

Raphael Assuncao is without a doubt one of the most mistreated fighters in the history of the UFC. He has won eleven of his fourteen fights and has been on two different win streaks consisting of at least four or more wins in a row. He has also never sniffed a title shot…History will remember Assuncao as one of the greatest to never earn a shot, but also possibly for avoiding fights in the prime of his career in an effort to protect his streak. Still, though his accomplishments should not be overlooked, he has consistently been one of the best bantamweights over the last seven years, and he owns notable wins over Moraes, TJ Dillashaw, Bryan Caraway, and Aljamain Sterling. But at 36 years old, and with a decisive loss in his last bout, you have to wonder what is next for Assuncao, and where he is mentally.

What he does have going for him though is that he owns a win over Moraes, so perhaps if he goes on to win the belt, then we could see Assuncao get the chance to settle the score once and for all. In the meantime though he should be matched up with John Lineker. A win over Lineker will keep him afloat, while the bout his Lineker a chance to earn a win over a highly ranked opponent in his own quest for gold.

Fight to make next: Raphael Assuncao vs. John Lineker

Jose Aldo def. Renato Moicano via TKO (Punches) Round 2

For anybody that wasn’t sure I think we can now rest knowing that Jose Aldo is absolutely still one of the best featherweights in the world. He took out a surging young contender while sustaining very little damage in the process. His legacy is secure, and he is still amongst the best, but that doesn’t make the future are clearer for the “King of Rio”. Luckily for me though a few fighters have already made it clear that they would love to be the next dance partner for Aldo, and one of the potential suitors stands out a bit more than the rest. Moments after securing his TKO win over Moicano, Aldo likely wasn’t checking his Twitter, but if he’d taken the time to do so he would have noticed a message from Brian Ortega.

“Well let’s start negotiating”

Aldo vs. Ortega would be a fight between the two most recent top contenders, and stylistically it makes for a very exciting match up. Aldo is technically superior on the feet, but Ortega is durable and has power. Ortega is technically superior on the ground, at least on paper, but Aldo is a very competent BJJ fighter, so really this fight should be interesting and exciting anywhere that it goes.

Fight to make next: Jose Aldo vs. Brian Ortega

Renato Moicano seemed prime to finally make the push into the top tier of UFC featherweights…but then he came crashing back down to earth in a fiery crash. Moicano is a relatively unproven fighter, but still went into the fight as a slight favorite mostly due to the perceived decline of Jose Aldo. Aldo proved to have plenty left in the tank though as he stopped Moicano with a vicious onslaught of strikes in the second round. This is the second devastating loss that Moicano has suffered, the first coming in a bout against Brian Ortega, a fight he would have won if not for a poor tactical choice in shooting for a takedown. Ortega went on to defeat Frankie Edgar and now sits as one of the top two or three featherweights in the world.

Moicano on the other hand is still fighting for recognition and that quest will continue after this latest loss. The way I see it, Moicano is a tier 2 featherweight, he’s just behind the likes of Edgar, Ortega, and Holloway who I would put in tier 1. I’ll match him up with a fellow tier 2 fighter here, that being Chan Sung Jung, and with a win over the Korean Zombie perhaps we can expect to see Moicano get another crack at a top guy.

Fight to make next: Renato Moicano vs. Chan Sung Jung (Pretty sure the UFC just lists him as “Korean Zombie” these days)

Demian Maia def. Lyman Good via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

As a child, I occasionally watched martial arts movies, and one constant them was an “ancient” or “old” master, who had been around for ages, and was capable of defeating any man with just one simple strike! I always viewed that “ancient master” as a Hollywood troupe, that is until last weekend. It finally hit me that Damian Maia is that ancient master, who only comes down from his mountain with the intentions of putting some out of line young man back into his place.

While he has struggled a bit as of late, it still must be stated that at 41 years old, he is as much of a threat as ever. Lyman Good is an explosive puncher, and a much younger athlete, yet we saw none of that this past weekend. Maia neutralized Good almost completely and proceeded to do what he does best. During his post-fight speech, Maia stated that he has two fights left on his deal and then he will evaluate his future.

The second Maia defeated Good, the first though that popped into my mind was that he needed to be matched up with Michael Chiesa next. Several days later, Maia called him out (“Called him out” isn’t exactly the right choice of words…he was very polite and more so requested the fight.). It’s a bout between two skilled submission specialist (though I am not comparing the two…Maia is far better on the ground), who are also capable on the feet. It’s a big fight for Chiesa and a chance for him to make some noise at welterweight. For Maia, it offers him another chance to prove that age is just a number.

Fight to make next: Damian Maia vs. Michael Chiesa

Lyman Good first found notoriety in Bellator, and even compete for the World Championship there. But that was long ago, and the Lyman Good of today has struggled to gain a footing now that he is competing amongst the best in the world in the UFC. He UFC tenure has consisted of some good, and some not so good moments, as well as injuries and long layoffs. Good was competing for just the fourth time since debuting in the UFC in 2015 and was unsuccessful in his attempt to build off the KO win, he picked up in late-2018. He will likely get a step down in competition considering his latest loss, and I think I have just the opponent in mind for him.

Warlley Alves holds a notable victory over Colby Covington but aside from that, he has failed to really gain much notice despite a few good performances. Both of these guys are coming off of losses so win for either guy is necessary if they want to continue fighting in the UFC.

Fight to make next: Lyman Good vs. Warlley Alves

Charles Oliveira def. David Teymur via Submission (anaconda choke)

Jose Aldo may be the King of Rio, but its quite possible to make the argument that Charles Oliveira is the King of Jiu-Jitsu, or at least submissions in the UFC. My evidence? With this submission win over David Teymur added to the list, Oliveira now has thirteen submission wins in the UFC to his name. Some of the names just below him? Royce Gracie and Damian Maia, just to name a couple. The point is that Oliveira is very good at submissions, and he is also skilled on the feet. David Teymur is a skilled Muay Thai fighter, but he just couldn’t find any room against Oliveira and ultimately, he was out struck by the Brazilian.

Now for as good as Oliveira has been on his career, he has also often faltered when matched up with the higher ranked fighters at lightweight and featherweight, but barriers are made to be broken. Gregor Gillespie is not exactly an established top ranked fighter, but he is a surging contender and his unbeaten record is nothing to scoff at. Oliveira vs. Gillespie is an interesting matchup, especially for Gillespie, but whoever emerges as the victor will likely find himself matched up with a top five opponent.

Fight to make next: Charles Oliveira vs. Gregor Gillespie

David Teymur ran into a wall, or a snake, or…well he ran into a better fighter on Saturday night. Teymur had found nothing but success up until UFC Fight Night 144, but once his fight with Charles Oliviera started it looked as if all semblances of success vanished. He wasn’t able to get anything going on the feet and spent most of the fight just trying to create enough distance to land a meaningful strike. Unfortunately for him, and for Oliveira for that matter, the most effective strike that he landed was an eye poke. He followed that shot up with another eye poke, but from there Oliveira kicked it into gear and eventually forced Teymur to tap to an anaconda choke after first battering him on the feet, and against the cage.

Despite the off night, I think we should expect Teymur to come back stronger. Sometimes a loss is good for a fighter, and Teymur is still relatively young in his MMA career. This is his first high profile loss, so perhaps it will give him a chance to reevaluate whatever it is that he believes led to his loss. As for his next opponent, Alan Patrick seems like the right guy. Patrick is coming off a loss to Scott Holtzman, and has suffered several injuries through out his career, but he should serve as a good test for Teymur.

Fight to make next: David Teymur vs. Alan Patrick

Johnny Walker def. Justin Ledet via TKO (Spinning Backfist and Punches)

Johnny Walker is two fights into his career and people are already calling for him to fight Jon Jones. Those people aren’t reasonable but they’re still out there. Walker is 2-0 in the UFC, both wins have come via destructive KO, but that’s really all that we know about him so far. Can he grapple, can he take a punch, can he go the distance? We don’t know, but we will find out. Walker has already called out Jimi Manuwa, but that’s a dangerous fight without very much upside.

Corey Anderson on the other hand is a very tough fight, but the juice is worth the squeeze. Walker is young in his UFC career, but he is 16-3 overall so he has plenty of experience. Perhaps it’s a but much too soon, but if Walker could defeat Anderson then he would start to look like a very good option for Jon Jones sooner rather than later.

Fight to make next: Johnny Walker vs. Corey Anderson

Justin Ledet was undefeated coming into the UFC, undefeated during his heavyweight run in the UFC, but has found nothing but failure since dropping down to the light-heavyweight division…in the UFC. For those reasons I wish that Ledet would move back to heavyweight, where I think he holds an advantage with his speed, and boxing abilities. As a light heavyweight, he doesn’t possess the same speed, or it isn’t so noticeable at least. But that’s obviously a decision that he will have to make and up to this point he hasn’t said anything, so we will book him in the light-heavyweight division for his next fight.

Tyson Pedro has had a good bit of hype at various points in his career, but he hasn’t had much success against ranked fighters. He is coming off a loss to Shogun Rua, a fight he was not doubt expected to win, and now finds himself with three losses in his last four fights. But he is young, and everything can still be salvaged. Ledet vs. Pedro is a fight between two guys who desperately need wins, but its also a fight between two guys who have shown skill in the past.

Fight to make next: Justin Ledet vs. Tyson Pedro


NEXT: TOP 10 FIGHTERS WITH THE MOST LOSSES


Livia Renata Souza def. Sarah Frota via Split Decision

Fights to make next:

Livia Renata Souza vs. Xiaonan Yan

Sarah Frota vs. Syuri Kondo

Markus Perez def. Anthony Hernandez via Submission (anaconda choke)

Fights to make next:

Markus Perez vs. Zak Cummings

Anthony Hernandez vs. Bevon Lewis

Mara Romero Borella def. Talia Santos via Split Decision

Fights to make next:

Mara Romero Borella vs. Joanne Calderwood

Talia Santos vs. Lauren Mueller

Thiago Alves def. Max Griffin via Split Decision

Fights to make next:

Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry

Max Griffin vs. Neil Magny

Jairzinho Rozenstruick def. Junior Albini via KO (Headkick and Punches)

Fights to make next:

Jairzinho Rozenstruick vs. Allen Crowder

Junior Albini vs. Chris de la Rocha

Geraldo de Freitas def. Felipe Corales via Unanimous Decision

Fights to make next:

Geraldo De Freitas vs. Kevin Aguilar

Felipe Corales vs. Jordan Griffin

Said Nurmagomedov def. Ricardo Ramos via TKO (Kick and Punches)

Fights to make next:

Said Nurmagomedov vs. Rob Font

Ricardo Ramos vs. Guido Cannetti

Rogerio Bontorin def. Magomed Bibulatov via Split Decision

Fights to make next:

Rogerio Bontorin vs. Mark De La Rosa

Magomed Bibulatov vs. Joseph Morales

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