Post-UFC Fight Night 42 Matchmaking Predictions: The Winners

Benson Henderson 2UFC Fight Night 42 came to Albuquerque, NM for the first time in the promotions history, leaving both good and bad tastes in the mouths of MMA fans. Now with Saturday night in our rear-view, let’s look ahead for some potential match-ups. Here’s what I like for our winners of the evening… Benson Henderson vs Rafael dos Anjos This would be an excellent lightweight match-up between two fighters who were each successful at last night’s UFC Fight Night 42, with Benson Henderson defeating Rustam Khabilov via rear naked choke submission in the fourth round of action, and dos Anjos defeating Jason High via second round TKO, after a closely contested round and a half. Henderson was the divisions champion not long ago when dos Anjos was putting wins together and had him in his sights. Now with Henderson no longer the champ and the Brazilian looking to climb back up to ranks with his sights set on Pettis and Melendez this time, and a win over Henderson would get him closest to his goal. A win over a highly ranked opponent like dos Anjos would also be big for Henderson and get him closer to a shot at regaining the 155-pound title, as the Brazilian was nipping at his heels when he was wearing the divisions crown. My guess is Henderson would open as a 2-to-1 favorite over the Brazilian, and I feel this bout would be a great fit to kick off the main card for UFC Fight Night in Macau, China in late August. John Dodson vs Winner of Johnson/Bagautinov Since coming up short against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in a bid for the UFC flyweight title, Dodson returned to the drawing board and has since notched back to back T/KO victories. First he put Darrell Montague away with a headkick and punches in the first round of action in their UFC 166 bout, then made it two in a row against John Moraga at last night’s UFC Fight Night 42 in his hometown of Albuquerque, NM. He broke Moraga’s nose towards the end of the second frame, and the doctor called off the fight between rounds, declaring Moraga unfit to continue. Dodson won the first two rounds against Johnson before beginning to fade, so a match-up with him would make great sense for his next outing, especially considering how incredibly thin the division is. Should Bagautinov defeat Johnson and become the UFC’s second flyweight champion, Dodson vs Bagautinov would also be an excellent match-up. They are training partners at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, but they have said that they would have no problem competing against each other for the title. Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon This fight really needs to happen already! And what better place than Mexico City? November’s UFC 180 is the perfect fit for this sure to be entertaining barn burner. Sanchez has been asking for Nate Diaz, but he needs to forget that. This is the fight he should be looking for, as there is almost no chance it won’t be a ‘Fight of the Night’ contender. I’m sure this is a fight Lauzon would love to take, considering it’s the UFC’s first trip to Mexico, and even more so, considering its Diego Sanchez! I was hoping this fight would be made in a previous article I wrote, and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed… Lance Benoist vs Peter Sobotta I think this is a match-up that makes sense as a next move for both of these welterweights, with Benoist returning from a 20-month layoff to defeat “Vicious” Bobby Voelker via unanimous decision at last night’s UFC Fight Night 42, likely giving the UFC no choice but to serve the veteran with his walking papers, and Sobotta taking a unanimous decision over Pawel Pawlak last weekened at UFC Fight Night 41 in his home country of Germany. I’m interested in seeing more out of these 170-pounders, and I feel pitting them against each other seems appropriate for both parties. As far as the betting odds are concerned, I imagine the German would open as a -170 or so favorite for looking the more impressive of the two in their last outings. I think this welterweight contest would be a good fit for the undercard of UFC Fight Night 49, which will be live from Tusla, Oklahoma in late August. Benoist would enjoy somewhat of a hometown advantage in this bout. Not just for being the American fighting a German in America, but because Oklahoba neighbors his home-state of Missouri. Piotr Hallmann vs Justin Salas This would be a match-up between a pair of lightweights who each recently bounced back into the win column, with Hallmann submitting Yves Edwards in the third round of action at last night’s UFC Fight Night 42 and Justin Salas defeating Ben Wall via knockout at UFC Fight Night 40 nearly a month ago. I think this fight makes great sense as a next move for both fighters who are looking to climb up the rankings in the UFC’s 155-pound division. I think this scrap would be a fine fit for August’s UFC Fight Night 49 in Oklahoma, which would give Salas somewhat of a hometown edge, as he would have many family and friends coming out to support him from neighboring Colorado, which is currently his home-state. I think the betting odds for this one would be pretty close. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either fighter open as a slight favorite, but having to guess, I’d say Hallmann opens at -140 with the return on Salas being +110. Both have been showing improvements in the striking department, so the fight could be competitive there. The grappling exchanges will be interesting, as they are both very solid on the mat; not only with wrestling, but also with their submission skills. Salas displayed knockout power in his last outing, as he took out the hard-bearded Wall within a single round, so should he open as a slight underdog, I would not be surprised if money came in on him and he ended up the slight favorite over Hallmann by fight time.

Written by Gabe Killian

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