Post-UFC Fight Night 43 and 44 Matchmaking Predictions

Neil MagnyUFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand and UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio were each held on the same calendar day (Saturday, June 28th) and rewarded fight fans with 21 scraps within a 24 hour period. It was a solid day of fights for the UFC, and with the events now behind us, let’s take a look at some potential match-ups featuring some of the evenings fighters… Nate Marquardt vs Ed Herman I believe this would make for a phenomenal match-up in the UFC’s middleweight division. After submitting hometown native James Te Huna in the evening’s main event at UFC Fight Night 43 yesterday in New Zealand, Marquardt will be look for another 185-pounder coming off a win so he could potentially make it 2-0 in his return to the division. Te Huna was a game opponent, but not exactly top 10. I don’t think Marquardt should be shot too far up the latter for his next bout, especially considering the fact that he is coming off back-to-back knockout losses at welterweight. That’s where “Short Fuse” comes in. Having recently defeated the Brazilian veteran Rafael Natal via unanimous decision just over a month ago, this is a fight Herman would be thrilled to take. I would love to see this bout on the main card for UFC 178 in Toronto, which will be headlined by a rematch between Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson and Jon “Bones” Jones. I think the betting odds for this contest would open at a coin-flip, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Herman as the favorite, considering the fact that Te Huna was a favorite over him and did manage to hurt him in the fight. Marquardt and Herman are both from Colorado and train out of Colorado, though different gyms/fight teams, so this fight would sort of be Grudge vs Team Quest. I feel this match-up makes perfect sense for both middleweights and would love to see it announced on a fight card shortly. Cub Swanson vs Winner of Aldo/Mendes He’s definitely earned it. It was arguable that Swanson deserved his shot at the title before Mendes, but nonetheless the Team Alpha Male product got his rematch instead, and that’s where Jeremy Stephens entered the picture. To cement his spot as number one contender for the UFC featherweight title, Swanson outstruck Stephens on the feet en route to a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards at last night’s UFC Fight Night 44. After being outstruck and dropped early in the fight, he stepped it up a notch in rounds two, three and four, earning the victory in San Antonio. A rematch between Swanson and Aldo is one I’m sure every fight fan will sign up for, and a match-up between Swanson and Mendes would also be one that all but guarantees fireworks and a potential ‘Fight of the Night’ award. Robert Whittaker vs Neil Magny This would be a match-up between a pair of welterweights who were each successful in their bouts this past Saturday night. Whittaker bested Roufusport MMA product Mike Rhodes on the feet en route to a decision victory on the judges’ scorecards at UFC Fight Night 43 in his native New Zealand. Magny defeated promotional newcomer Rodrigo Goiana de Lima via TKO in the second round of action, in what was a big come-from-behind victory for The Ultimate Fighter season 16 veteran. I think this would make for an incredible striking battle and can’t figure who would have the advantage, which is why I guess the opening betting odds for this potential scrap would be at or around a pick ‘em. I think this bout would be a great fit for the main card of September’s UFC Fight Night in Connecticut. I’m sure Magny would love to fight on that card, as it means for another quick turnaround, and Connecticut neighbors his home-state of New York, so he would get lots of support from family and friends. I have no doubt this would be an entertaining fight, whether it lasts two minutes or goes all 15. I hope to see it announced as part of the main card for the aforementioned UFC Fight Night 50. Charles Oliveira vs Nik Lentz II This would be a rematch between a fight that took place when both featherweights were competing in the UFC’s lightweight division. Oliveira rocked Lentz with a headbutt that went unnoticed by the referee, which lead to him taking Lentz’s back and securing a rear naked choke for the submission victory. The bout earned both fighters ‘Fight of the Night’ honors and with both of them now competing in their rightful home of 155-pounds, this is a rematch I would certainly love to see. I think this scrap would be a great fit as part of the main card for October’s UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lentz is already used to defeating Brazilian’s in Brazil and I’m sure he’d love to add “Do Bronx” to that list, while Oliveira would like to secure an official win over “The Carney” while simultaneously going 3-0 inside the Octagon. Lentz last saw action last month in a unanimous decision win over a game Manny Gamburyan. Now back in the win column, I’m sure this is a score “The Carney” would love to settle. Lentz has made drastic improvements in his all-around game since their last match-up and has had great success in Brazil, so I could see him opening as a slight favorite in this match-up, as far as betting odds are concerned. I hope the UFC books this fight soon, because this is a rematch I wouldn’t want to miss. Kelvin Gastelum vs Tarec Saffiedine I think this would make for an excellent match-up in the UFC’s welterweight division. Gastelum is currently ranked 11th in the UFC’s official rankings, while former Strikeforce welterweight champion Saffiedine sits one spot ahead of him at number 10, though he has not seen action in nearly six months. He fought in January and took a unanimous decision in a five round main event against a game Hyun Gyu Lim. He’s been plagued by injuries since the bout and a fight against Gastelum makes sense for his return to the Octagon, especially considering every contender at 170-pounds is currently booked for a fight. Gastelum took a unanimous decision of his own in San Antonio last night at UFC Fight Night 44. It was an impressive come-from-behind victory for The Ultimate Fighter season 18 winner, as he was outgrappled and dominated by his opponent Musoke for the majority of the first stanza. I think this fight would be a spectacular fit for November’s UFC 180 in Mexico City, which will of course be headlined by a five-round heavyweight tilt between Champion Cain Velasquez and the challenger Fabricio Werdum. Gastelum has been on a role, but in this match-up I think he would go back to the role of big underdog, as I see the TriStar Gym product opening as a -250 betting favorite over Gastelum and immediately getting bet to -300, possibly -350. Regardless of the odds, I think this would be a competitive fight and without a doubt a contender for the evenings ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus.

Written by Gabe Killian

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