Jessica Andrade def. Rose Namajunas to become the UFC Strawweight Champion (TKO/Round 2)
Jessica Andrade is the new UFC Strawweight Champion of the world, and we are now left with a cluster at the top of the division, and an interesting MMA math equation. Jessica Andrade beat Rose Namajunas, who beat Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who beat Jessica Andrade… so who gets the next shot? Well, possibly neither of the two contenders listed above. With nearly every division seemingly in a constant state of chaos, we very rarely have clear cut number one contender bouts. Title shots are rarely given on merit these days, so it is a bit refreshing knowing that the next contender at strawweight just might be someone that has worked for it, much like the current champion did. Nina Ansaroff and Tatiana Suarez are scheduled to compete next month, at UFC 238. The winner should be next in line for the Strawweight Championship title bout.
Fight to make next: Jessica Andrade vs. Winner of Tatiana Suarez/Nina Ansaroff (UFC 238)
I don’t mean to make this depressing, but I have to. Jim Carrey once had a girlfriend, Cathriona White, was her name. She passed way in 2015, and upon doing so, Carrey released a statement that contained a very fitting description of her. He described her as a “kind and delicate Irish flower too sensitive for this soil.” When Rose Namajunas was speaking post-fight, that quote popped into my head. Rose Namajunas, as skilled as she may be, just might be too delicate to compete in the sport of MMA. I don’t mean that in the physical sense, as her skills speak for themselves, but her words tell a different story. After losing her felt, Rose admitted to feeling relieved and later stated that perhaps she wanted to do something else with her life. It’s hard to say what this means considering that most of us don’t know her, so we can only take her words at face value. If she walks away, she will do so as one of the more interesting stories in MMA, the reluctant champion, who possessed all the skills but perhaps lacked the heart required to truly become one of the greats. If she does choose to continue fighting, a matchup with fellow division stalwart, Claudia Gadelha could make some sense, but until she clarifies her position it’s hard to say what’s next for Rose Namajunas.
Fight to make next: Rose Namajunas vs. Claudia Gadelha
Jared Cannonier def. Anderson Silva (TKO/Round 1)
Not sure where to start with this one… Jared Cannonier alive and well, we know that much. But what else? He is 2-0 as a middleweight with two stoppage wins, but he doesn’t seem to really be gaining much steam. Perhaps the stoppage due to injury tainted this win a bit, or perhaps beating Anderson Silva just doesn’t give you the shine it once did, but I don’t feel like Cannonier will be getting much of a boost from this win. A guy in a very similar position would be Derek Brunson. Brunson picked up a much-needed win recently, but it hardly did much to move him forward. Perhaps a win here for either guy can propel them forward a bit in what is suddenly a crowded division.
Fight to make next: Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson
Anderson Silva was at one time the gold standard in MMA. He was a guy that managed to dominate a division despite a noted lack of wrestling skills. He beat everybody for so long that I started to believe that he would never be defeated again. Those days are long gone, Silva is long past his prime, and it’s fair to wonder, after this latest setback if we will ever see him again. He didn’t look terrible against Cannonier and arguably was in control of the fight in some respects, but it should be noted that Silva’s leg, the one that eventually gave out, was a target for Cannonier all night. Depending on the significance of the injury, it is possible that we have witnessed Anderson Silva compete in the UFC for the final time. But would anybody be surprised if chooses to continue his career? If he does continue fighting, it should be against contemporaries and not young lions who are just looking to make a name. I know that MMA is a brutal sport, but Silva deserves better than that. This is a bit of a random match up, but I think a fight with Hector Lombard could make some sense here. Lombard and Silva once ruled over the Bellator and UFC middleweight divisions respectively, and a fight between the two was often talked about. It’s years past relevancy, but it still might be fun.
Fight to make next: Anderson Silva vs. Hector Lombard
Alexander Volkanovski def. Jose Aldo (Unanimous Decision)
When I originally drew up the outline for this article, I had Volk in line for the next title shot. But things change, MMA is a wild sport, and Alexander the Great will have to wait (Sorry for the rhyme). Frankie Edgar will get the next title shot, which means that Volk will be left in the cold, and the issue has been further eschewed by the news that he is suffering from a blood infection. Normally sitting out and waiting for a title shot is a bad idea, and it could certainly sting Volk if he gets passed over in favor of the winner of the Ortega/Zabit matchup, but really what else does he need to do? He can take a lesser ranked opponent just to stay busy, but with such a convincing win over Jose Aldo under his belt, anything less than a title shot would be a step down in competition.
Fight to make next: Alex Volkanovski should SIT OUT
Laureano Staropoli def. Thiago Alves (Unanimous Decision)
Laureano Staropoli is something like a video game character. He threw spinning techniques for three rounds and did so well enough to earn another win in the UFC. We didn’t get much of a chance to see his grappling, but he didn’t need it for the most part. I would like to see him matched up with Belal Muhammad next.
Fight to make next: Laureano Staropoli vs. Belal Muhammad
Thiago Alves has been around for years, he was the 2nd best welterweight in the world at one point, and he is still a dangerous striker on certain occasions. He is passed the point of being a contender, but he is a solid test for fighters coming into the company. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. has had a rough spell as of late, but he is an interesting striker and perhaps he can get things back on track against the Brazilian veteran.
Fight to make next: Thiago Alves vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr.