UFC Fight Night 105’s Biggest Winners

Randa MarkosWith UFC Fight Night 105 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. Johny Hendricks Overview: Hendricks’ career was on its last legs. A last-ditch effort to move up in weight was his final opportunity to prove he can still compete in high-level mixed martial arts. Hendricks was given a tough matchup against Hector Lombard; a hard-hitting, difficult to grapple against fighter. It took Hendricks a round to get going, but once he did, his speed and variation was a big difference in this fight. He did a great job of landing knees while Lombard leapt in. It was a solid performance, and one that puts Hendricks back into a safe position on the roster. What’s Next: A Hendricks with his groove back is absolutely a Top 15 middleweight. Despite Derek Brunson coming off a loss (albeit controversial), I think this would be a great matchup to make. Both fighters excel in the wrestling game, but what I want to see from Hendricks is how he handles a fighter that is taller and has a significantly longer reach than he does. For Brunson, it’s another opportunity to beat a former UFC champion. A win would equally benefit both fighters. Derrick Lewis Overview: Derrick Lewis has been riding one of the longest winning streaks in the UFC, but many had questioned the caliber of opponents he had beaten along the way. Tasked with fighting Travis Browne last Sunday night was a significant opportunity. Browne has long been a Top 10 heavyweight; a fighter that at one time was a Top 5 heavyweight in the world. Browne was the best fighter Lewis had ever faced, so this was his chance to prove his critics wrong. After some initial struggles with Browne’s kicking game, Lewis began to find his range. In the second round, Lewis landed some heavy strikes that put Browne to the mat. It was the follow-up strikes in ground-and-pound that knocked Browne unconscious en route to a career-defining performance. What’s Next: Lewis has won six fights in a row and holds a 9-2 record in the UFC. He also now holds a comprehensive victory over the ninth-ranked heavyweight. Given his run of form, he should be given the chance to take on a Top 5 fighter. Ben Rothwell is currently ranked fifth in the division and is as durable a fighter as there is in the division. It would be good to see how Lewis fares against a fighter he would not be able to overwhelm with power. If Lewis is able to beat Rothwell, he will very much be in title contention. Randa Markos Overview: Markos’ UFC career has been one step forward, one step back. She’s been unable to muster a winning streak in the UFC. Furthermore, she has beaten lower-level competition and struggled when tasked to fight a ranked opponent. When scheduled to fight Carla Esparza, Markos was a significant underdog in a bout that she usually lost. However, Markos put up an admirable effort in this matchup, doing well enough to stuff some of Esparza’s takedowns and landing some key strikes to earn a split decision for the biggest win of her career. What’s Next: Markos had been outside of the UFC’s Top 15 ranked strawweights, but this big win over the former champion Esparza should catapult her into the rankings. She has now shown she can be competitive and even beat a top wrestler in her weight class. If she is going to be a Top 10 strawweight and possibly even Top 5, she needs to prove she can beat a high-level striker. Joanne Calderwood is in the market for a fight, and Markos would be a solid challenge in what would be a nice contrast of styles between two more former TUF competitors.

Written by Jay Primetown

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