Jack Hermansson def. Ronaldo Souza (Unanimous Decision)
If you watch the poorly made, unofficial prequel to “Dumb and Dumber”, “Dumb and Dumberer”, you’ll hear a quote. A young Lloyd Christmas announces that he usually eats his lunch on the toilet and justifies it by saying “out with the old, in with the new”. I don’t recommend the movie, but the quote actually does make some sense here. Jacare Souza has been a dominant force in the middleweight division for quite some time, but he will likely never reach his goal of being a world champion, and you could say that Hermansson is the guy that drove the final nail into the coffin. Hermansson entered UFC Sunrise as an underdog but nobody told him… Hermansson beat Jacare from bell to bell, he beat him on the feet and he beat him on the ground. He seemed to zap Jacare early on and never appeared to be in any real danger. He will move forward now as one of the hottest contenders in a tough division. The next title fight is set, and Hermansson will probably need at least one more win if he wants to be the guy to face the winner of Adesanya and Whitaker. The gatekeeper in literature is often a cloaked figure with a key or hourglass around his neck… but in the UFC middleweight division, the gatekeeper to the gold is a very angry Cuban, and while he may say the opposite, we know he doesn’t really “luh” anybody, especially not Jack Hermansson. If Hermanson wants to face the man, he’ll first have to get past the beast.
Fight to make next: Jack Hermansson vs. Yoel Romero in a “Title Eliminator” bout. I know… that’s a mythical term but I think it helps get my point across.
Ronaldo Jacare Souza just might go down as the greatest middleweight to never get a crack at the title. He has been dominant at times in his UFC career, seemingly unstoppable even, and he is just one fight removed from a violent KO win over Chris Weidman, but he is also 39 years old and the light is fading. If Souza couldn’t get a shot in his prime, what would he have to do now? He can start with a quality win over a long time member of the UFC roster. Brad Tavares isn’t a world beater but he is a tough test for an up and comer and he can serve as a great rebound for Jacare. Either way, we will have a good idea of where Souza is after this bout, and for all that Tavares has done, he always deserves any ranked opponent that he gets.
Fight to make next: Ronaldo Souza vs. Brad Tavares
Greg Hardy def. Dimitri Smoliakov (KO Round 1)
A lot of people don’t like Greg Hardy for reasons that I won’t get into here… I will say this though, he has horrible tattoos, he has a horrible nickname, he is the king of cringe-worthy quotes, but with that being said we better get used to him. He is dangerous, and he could become a real threat in this division if he is allowed the chance to develop… and considering his most recent opponent, I would say that the UFC is definitely taking it easy on him. Smoliakov seemed to forget that he was a fighter, and preferred instead to show us his running skills. But Hardy caught him and put him out, and then proceeded to make some absurd comments. He said he would be the Michael Jordan of combat sports… I assume that’s a two-sport reference but honestly, I don’t have any idea and neither does he. He also stated that he has his eyes on Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, which may or may not mean that he is insane. Regardless of your opinion of him, he is here… He will probably get another can of tomato paste for his next opponent so I just picked a random guy from the heavyweight roster to fill the blank.
Fight to make next: Greg Hardy vs. Jaris Danho, Chris de la Rocha, or Daniel Spitz*
*I am sure that some folks would love to see Hardy face all three men at once, but I just mean one of the three. And I’m not saying they are tomato cans but they don’t have great records so hopefully they prove me wrong.
Dimitri Smoliakov… well… I don’t think we will be seeing him again.
Fight to make next: Dimitri Smoliakov probably won’t be back considering his 0-3 record and poor performance.
Mike Perry def. Alex Oliveira (Unanimous Decision)
Mike Perry is a wild man, that much we knew. He’s durable, he hits hard, and he can dance… but will Mike Perry every improve in terms of fight IQ? Can we ever expect to see Perry shoot for a takedown if it makes sense to do so? Who knows, but he certainly is fun just the way that he is now. Perry has already competed ten times in the UFC, and he has competed against some very solid competition. But one guy that he hasn’t faced, but certainly has tweeted, is Darren Till. Now, Till is a bit of a mess right now, but for the first time in a while, this fight makes sense. Till is a former title challenger but he’s lost two straight and he really needs a win. As for Perry, well a win over Till would push him one step closer to being a legitimate contender.
Fight to make next: Mike Perry vs. Darren Till
Alex Oliveira seemed close to becoming a contender a few years back and seemed like a potential threat in two different weight classes. But those days have passed. Cowboy has lost two straight fights, and you have to wonder if he will ever be the same after the horrific beating, he took at the hands of Gunnar Nelson. Bryan Barberena is a strange cat, he entered to that Baby Shark song for his last fight, and then he proceeded to show everybody that his head is made of concrete. This is more of a fun fight than a relevant one for the division, but sometimes a little excitement is enough to boost you into a higher profile bout.
Fight to make next: Alex Oliveira vs. Bryan Barberena
Glover Teixeira def. Ion Cutelaba (Submission Round 2)
When the world ends, only ash will remain… ash and Glover Teixeira. Teixeira looked to be in a lot of trouble against Ion Cutelaba on Saturday night, but he showed grit and weathered the short, stubby storm that is Ion Cutelaba. With the win, Teixeira has now won straight since his loss to Corey Anderson and looks to be in good shape if he intends to make another run towards the belt. He isn’t the youngest guy, but it also doesn’t take much to get a shot at light-heavyweight gold… you just have to win a few fights in a row or be a middleweight… Anyway, for some reason, the next opponent for Teixeira popped into my head as he was still in the midst of his comeback. Nikita Krylov lost in his return to the UFC but picked up a recent win in a rematch with Ovince St. Preux, and he would probably love the chance to add a legendary scalp such as Teixeira’s to his mantle. *
*I am not implying that Krylov has an actual mantel with actual human scalps on it… but would you be surprised? The man has serial killer written all over him… Don’t tell him I said that.
Fight to make next: Glover Teixeira vs. Nikita Krylov
Ion Cutelaba is very much like a Dodge Power Wagon… they’re staggeringly powerful vehicles. But after a family vacation taken by yours truly back in 2011, I can attest to the fact that the thing guzzles gas to achieve that power. We pulled a camper, and at one point in the mountains of Tennessee, we were getting just over three miles to the gallon. That’s a fact and also a reason not to get a power wagon… My point is that Cutelaba is very powerful, but his gas tank is a serious problem it would seem. He has managed to put guys away early in the past, but if he isn’t able to do that then he faces a real possibility of a loss. He has passed the point of facing easy opponents, so he won’t get an easy fight here just to get back on track. Ovince St Preux is the ultimate company man at 205… he fights all the time, and he brings it every time. Cutelaba will need to shore up the cardio if he wants to be a problem at light-heavyweight, otherwise, he probably has a fairly mid-level ceiling.
Fight to make next: Ion Cutelaba vs. Ovince St Preux
Cory Sandhagen def. John Lineker (Split Decision)
Cory Sandhagen is an interesting contender. He now has a quality win, and should expect a top-ranked fighter in his next bout, but how good is he? He is a proven finisher and a big guy for the division, but what will he be able to do against the absolute tip-top of the division? I have a lot of questions, and I think a lot of them could be answered with a fight against Raphael Assuncao. Assuncao is a bit like Jacare, but 50 pounds lighter… He has beaten everybody, and I mean everybody, but he has never earned a title shot. Still, though, he has been a top five guy for years, and only losses to the best. If Sandhagen beats Assuncao, it’s about time to roll out the red carpet.
Fight to make next: Cory Sandhagen vs. Raphael Assuncao
John Lineker is a small man, but he packs one hell of a punch. Unfortunately, he can’t always land it. Lineker lost a very competitive and highly anticipated bout against Cory Sandhagen and because of that, he will continue to linger near the middle of the top of the pack. Douglas Silva de Andrade is a guy that’s trying to prove that he belongs amongst the top of the pack, but a recent loss stopped has slowed him. A win over Lineker is huge, and on top of that, both of these guys hit like trucks for the division.
Fight to make next: John Lineker vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Roosevelt Roberts def. Thomas Gifford (Unanimous Decision)
Roosevelt Roberts sounds distinguished. He is also a great fighter and a very interesting prospect in the lightweight division. He is a tall guy with good speed and well-rounded skills. It’s still a little early to have a full assessment but things definitely look good for him. A fight with Damir Ismagulov will give us another chance to see what he is capable of.
Fight to make next: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Damir Ismagulov
NEXT: MMA TALK FOR PRO WRESTLING FANS TALKING UFC FORT LAUDERDALE, BELLATOR 220 AND UFC OTTAWA PREVIEW
Who is Thomas Gifford? Well, I don’t really know, but he has hair like few fighters you’ve ever looked at before. I didn’t really get a good look at Gifford, but he will likely get another shot in the UFC as I am pretty sure that he took this fight on short notice.
Fight to make next: Thomas Gifford vs. Mike Davis