Friday, December 3, 2021

Playing Matchmaker For UFC Ft. Lauderdale Winners

There wasn’t much hype leading up to UFC Ft. Lauderdale, but it turned out to be a very solid night of fights punctuated by a terrific main card that saw a number of fighters put on stellar performances. Now it comes time to figure out who they will fight next. Below, staff writer Adam Martin plays matchmaker for the winners of all six UFC Fight Night 150 main card bouts.

Jack Hermansson vs. Yoel Romero

The main event of UFC Fight Night 150 saw middleweight Jack Hermansson put on a breakout performance as he won a unanimous decision over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. It was by far the biggest win of Hermansson’s career over the No. 4 ranked middleweight, and it sets him up for a big fight his next time out. We know that Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya will fight for the undisputed UFC middleweight title later this year, and with Luke Rockhold moving up to light heavyweight, the only other middleweight ranked above Souza who needs a fight is Yoel Romero. If Hermansson wants to prove he’s a true title contender, a win over Romero would certainly show that. It would be a brilliant matchup and the UFC needs to book it.

Greg Hardy vs. Marcelo Golm

The co-main event was a washout as Greg Hardy demolished Dmitry Smoliakov with punches in the first round. UFC president Dana White was critical of Smoliakov’s performance, but also praised Hardy for getting the job done. It was a good win for Hardy, but he’s still raw in his MMA career and should be brought up slowly. Marcelo Golm is arguably the worst heavyweight on the UFC roster at the moment sporting a 1-3 record, and makes perfect sense as fodder for Hardy’s next fight as the UFC seems to love giving this guy mismatches.

Mike Perry vs. Belal Muhammad

The “Fight of the Night” at UFC Fight Night 150 went to Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira for their spirited standup battle. Perry took home the decision, and in his post-fight interview called out Darren Till. I’m not totally against that fight, but I don’t believe beating an unranked opponent in Oliveira should earn Perry the No. 6 ranked welterweight in Till. Instead, he should probably fight someone unranked, and Belal Muhammad is that guy. Muhammad — who is coming off of a decision win over Curtis Millender — and Perry are both in the same situation at 170lbs in that they are just below the top-15 and trying to sneak in, so match them up and let’s see who deserves to be ranked and who takes a step back.

Glover Teixeira vs. Nikita Krylov

The UFC keeps feeding Glover Teixeira to young up-and-comers and everyone keeps counting him out, but the Brazilian just keeps on trucking. This time, he survived an early knockdown against Ion Cutelaba in the first to come back and win the fight by submission in the second. It gives Teixeira a two-fight win streak with a 3-1 record in his last four fights, and he called out Corey Anderson in his post-fight interview. Anderson won a decision over Teixeira last summer, but Teixeira said he wanted a rematch because he took that Anderson fight on short notice and didn’t have time to prepare for that style of wrestling. Anderson is likely going to fight Dominick Reyes next, meaning Teixeira will have to fight someone else, and there just isn’t anyone available ranked above him. Instead, Teixeira is likely going to have to fight someone ranked below him again, and a fight against Nikita Krylov — who is coming off of a submission win over Ovince St-Preux — would be a lot of fun.

Cory Sandhagen vs. Raphael Assuncao

One of the bigger surprises at UFC Fight Night 150 was seeing Cory Sandhagen get a split decision win over John Lineker, and it’s a win that will earn him a top-10 ranking in the UFC bantamweight division. Lineker was ranked No. 8, so it only makes sense that Sandhagen fights someone ranked above him next. Most of the fighters ranked above Lineker are currently booked or injured, save one name: No. 2 ranked Raphael Assuncao. At this point of his career, Assuncao is the ultimate gatekeeper at 135lbs. He’s unlikely to get a title shot anytime soon, but he still remains highly ranked, making his situation akin to Glover Teixeira’s at 205lbs. Assuncao vs. Sandhagen would be a great fight, and we would see if Sandhagen sinks or swims while also determining how much Assuncao has left in the tank.

Roosevelt Roberts vs. Matt Frevola

I like when fighters call out a specific opponent in their post-fight interview, and in the case of lightweight Roosevelt Roberts, he should get the fight against Matt Frevola that he so desires. Roberts picked up a solid decision win over Thomas Gifford in the main card opener, and immediately afterwards took the mic and called out Frevola, who just beat his friend Jalin Turner at UFC 236. Roberts and Frevola are both ranked about the same in the stacked UFC lightweight division, and this fight between these two grapplers makes a lot of sense as the next bout for each man.

Who do you think the UFC Ft. Lauderdale main card winners should fight next? Leave a comment below with your own fantasy matchmaking picks.

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