UFC on FOX 23’s Biggest Winners

Jorge MasvidalWith UFC on FOX 23 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers and what’s next for them. Jorge Masvidal Overview: The American Top Team fighter had won two straight fights and had been fighting with a chip on his shoulder. Masvidal had been on the wrong side of a few split decisions, and he had vowed to not let his fights be that close again. In perhaps the most high-profile bout of his career, Masvidal was tasked to fight Donald Cerrone in a co-main event on network television. Masvidal’s jab was on point throughout the fight, and he was able to floor Cerrone with a combination at the end of the first round. Cerrone was saved by the bell, but ultimately Masvidal finished him in the second round for the biggest win of his career. What’s Next: Masvidal had one of the more decisive victories in the welterweight division in some time. Beating Cowboy is no easy task and finishing him like he did is even rarer. Masvidal will shoot up the rankings and is a deserving opponent for the return of Robbie Lawler to the Octagon. Both fighters are looking for an opponent who wants to engage in a stand-up firefight, so this is a perfect matchup for each and can absolutely headline a televised card this spring. Francis Ngannou Overview: The most hyped prospect in the heavyweight division in recent years, Ngannou, was given his first true test to date when tasked to fight former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC on FOX 23. It didn’t take Ngannou long to find a big right hand that put Arlovski to the mat, and he followed up with ground and pound to beat the former world champion in just under two minutes. It was Ngannou’s first win over ranked opposition and truly puts him on the map. What’s Next: The post-fight commentary from UFC president Dana White on Ngannou couldn’t have been any more glowing. It’s clear that the UFC wants to push Ngannou into the title picture. I think Ngannou will be tasked with one more fight; perhaps headlining an event against Alistair Overeem. If he’s able to win that bout, then he would be given a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship later this year. Valentina Shevchenko Overview: After beating Holly Holm in a striking showcase, Shevchenko was put into a much different kind of matchup against Julianna Pena. The Venezuelan Vixen is a grinding wrestler that wants to fight in close spaces and ultimately take opponents down and grind out victories. Shevchenko showed in this fight that not only does she have good takedown defense but also a solid ground game. She was able to take Pena to the mat twice in this fight. The one time Pena secured a takedown, Shevchenko was able to counter into an armbar and submit her opponent. What’s Next: Shevchenko has proven she’s one of the top strikers in the division and has now shown she’s also a capable grappler. She’s an all-around mixed martial artist and has moved up in the division to put her in the same category as champion Amanda Nunes at 135 pounds. Nunes and Shevchenko are the two best fighters in the division, so that’s the next fight to make for the championship later this spring or early summer. The two fought previously, with Nunes winning the first two rounds, but Shevchenko taking over in the third. A five-round contest makes this is an even more intriguing bout.

Written by Jay Primetown

Leave a Reply

MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Ian McCall now faces newcomer Jarred Brooks at UFC 208, Aisling Daley retires

UFC Fight Night 104’s Curtis Blaydes “I’ll finish Adam Milstead by ground and pound”