Post-UFC Fight Night 52 Matchmaking Predictions

katsunori-kikuno-ufc-fight-night-34UFC Fight Night 52 was live from Saitama, Japan this past Saturday morning (Sept. 20, 2014) with 12 scheduled bouts, and after a solid day of fights, I am left with some potential match-ups to think about… Kyung Ho Kang vs Yuta Sasaki Kang picked up a very competitive split decision victory over no-longer-undefeated Japanese prospect Michinori Tanaka at last night’s UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan. The fight took home the evening’s much-deserved ‘Fight of the Night’ honors, which speaks volumes, considering it was a night of entertaining bouts. Sasaki recently made his promotional debut against Roland Delorme, defeating the Canadian via rear naked choke in the very first round of action. Like with Tanaka, Sasaki would be fighting Kang, after defeating Delorme in his promotional debut. I think this would be another bantamweight scrap that has a very good chance of earning ‘Fight of the Night’ honors, regardless of the card it is on. Speaking of which, I would actually like to see this fight booked on the preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 58 in Barueri, Brazil. I think the Brazilians would love to see these two entertaining 135-pound Asian fighters compete live. Katsunori Kikuno vs Godofredo Pepey These featherweights each impressed in recent Octagon performances, with Kikuno scoring a second round rear naked choke submission victory over Sam Sicilia at last night’s UFC Fight Night 52 in Japan, and Pepey taking a first round mounted-triangle-armbar submission win over Dashon Jackson just a week prior at UFC Fight Night 51 in Brazil. I think a pairing of these two 145-pounders makes sense and would more than likely produce a very entertaining and memorable fight. This is another scrap that would be a solid addition to December’s UFC Fight Night 58 in Barueri, Brazil, though this one would have a better chance of making it onto the evening’s main card, as Pepey is a fan favorite in his native Brazil. Myles Jury vs Edson Barboza It’s about time Jury gets a step up in competition, and while Barboza is a big step up, I think Jury would again be a betting favorite in this potential lightweight match-up, as he, in my opinion, would have more routes to victory. Jury is undefeated at 15-0, with six of those wins coming inside the Octagon, and is tied with Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest winning streak in the UFC. Jury vs Nurmagomedov, by the way, would make for another solid match-up, but he is injured and Barboza is not, so it is more realistic for this fight to get booked, unless Jury is planning on taking a vacation. The Brazilian last saw action at UFC Fight Night 42 two months ago, defeating veteran Evan Dunham by T/KO in the very first stanza. Jury vs Barboza would be an excellent 155-pound scrap and I think it would be the perfect fight to kick off December’s UFC 181 in Las Vegas. Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Hector Lombard The UFC is in dire need to find Lombard a somewhat-worthy opponent to fight him on November’s Fight Night card in Lombard’s adopted home country of Australia, and I believe after his dominant performance at UFC Fight Night 52, Yoshihiro Akiyama fits that bill. After being away from action for three years, I think he will be happy to make a quick turnaround and make up for lost time, especially against a highly ranked opponent like Lombard who is one or at most two wins away from a title shot. A win over Lombard would be huge for the resurging Japanese veteran, as it would likely replace him with Lombard in the title picture. I would really love to see this fight made, and think there is a fairly good chance we will see it put together. I think it would be a brilliant move on behalf of the UFC. Mark Hunt vs Andrei Arlovski In last week’s article after Arlovski knocked out “Bigfoot” Silva, I suggested he take on the winner of Hunt vs Nelson, and Hunt defeated nelson, so I think this is the match-up that makes sense for both parties, as most other ranked heavyweights are booked or out of action due to injury. I feel like this would be a very entertaining bout in the UFC’s heavyweight division, regardless of how long it lasts. I could see it lasting 25 seconds or 25 minutes, I’m not sure which it would be, but what I do feel sure of is that it will be action-packed. Hunt wants a quick turnaround and I think Arlovski would prefer the same. Hunt badly wants to compete on November’s Fight Night card in Australia, and I think “The Pitbull” will abide.

Written by Gabe Killian

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