Post-UFC Fight Night 45 Matchmaking Predictions

Jim MillerUFC Fight Night 45 was live from Atlantic City, NJ this past Wednesday night with an 11-fight card. It was an incredible night of fights from start to finish, and with the great evening of bouts now behind us, let’s take a look at some possible match-ups for some of the evening’s competitors… Jim Miller vs Rustam Khabilov I think this would make an excellent match-up in the UFC’s lightweight division, with both fighters looking to bounce back from recent main event losses due to stoppage. Miller dropped a second round TKO against Donald Cerrone at Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 45, while Khabilov was submitted by former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the fourth round of their bout at last month’s UFC Fight Night 42. The rear naked choke he tapped to marked the first time the Dagestani fighter has been finished in his professional mixed martial arts career. I believe both Miller and Khabilov are amongst the toughest in the division and both possess tremendous grappling skills while their striking is a work in progress. I think stylistically, this makes for a very good fight and feel it would be a serious contender for the evening’s ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus. I think this fight would be a perfect fit as the co-main event for November’s UFC Fight Night in Istanbul. Aljamain Sterling vs Michinori Tanaka Here we are looking at a match-up between a pair of undefeated bantamweights who each found recent, dominant success inside the Octagon, with Sterling scoring a third round TKO over TUF: Brazil season one veteran Hugo Viana at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 45, and Tanaka grinding out TUF season 14 veteran Roland Delorme on the preliminary card at last month’s UFC 174. Both 135-pounders are undefeated with 10 wins and no losses, so somebody’s O would definitely have to go at the end of this bantamweight scrap. I think this fight makes a world of sense and feel it would be a great fit as the headliner for the preliminary card of September’s UFC Fight Night in Japan. Joe Proctor vs Yosdenis Cedeno This would be a match-up pairing two lightweights who were each successful in their bouts at Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 45, each of them scoring TKO stoppages. Proctor was en route to being down two rounds on the judges’ scorecards, but he managed to hurt his opponent Justin Salas on the feet, dropping him, and then following up with strikes. The referee immediately stepped in to call off the fight, and the stoppage was a bit premature, but it’s not one worth arguing. That said, I have seen fighters in worse situations recover and go on to win the fight. Proctor is now on a two fight winning streak and will be looking to make it three in a row; that’s where “The Pink Panther” enters the picture. Cedeno scored his TKO over promotional newcomer Jerrod Sanders, and with his impressive performance, he bounced back into the win column following a poor outing and split decision loss to Ernest Chavez in his promotional debut. I think Proctor vs Cedeno is a fight that makes plenty of sense, and think it’d make a proper fit for the UFC Fight Pass preliminary portion of November’s UFC 180 card in Mexico City; perhaps the very first bout to kick off the action for the evening, knowing both fighters will come out looking to stand and score a finish. Hugo Viana vs Francisco Rivera Oh man, I am getting really excited over the idea of these bantamweights being locked inside of a cage together. I have no doubt this would be one fight that is pure fireworks from start to finish. Whether it lasts 15 seconds or goes all 15 minutes, I think this fight will leave fans very entertained and wanting more. Both of these 135-pounders like to stand and trade, and they both throw heavy leather, so it is likely one of them will go down. Viana was just stopped by Aljamain Sterling via TKO of their preliminary card bout at Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 45, and Rivera last saw action at UFC 173, dropping a unanimous decision to Takeya Mizugaki on the evening’s main card. I think this find would be an excellent fit for the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card of November’s UFC 180 in Mexico City. Gleison Tibau vs Diego Sanchez I guess I’m filling up that UFC 180 card in Mexico City, because I think Tibau vs Sanchez would make a very good fit for the main card that November evening. They are both long time Octagon veterans, and if Sanchez had never dabbled with welterweight, there’s a good chance their paths would have already crossed. Better late than never, as I think this will make for a pretty good fight; one that I see being competitive, with both lightweights having their moments. Tibau just scored a unanimous decision victory over Pat Healy at Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City, and Sanchez picked up a split decision over Ross Pearson at last month’s UFC Fight Night 42 in his native Albuquerque. The UFC no doubt wants Sanchez on this fight card, being their first ever trip south of the border into Mexico and Sanchez being the promotion’s most popular Mexican fighter, next to headliner and heavyweight title holder Cain Velasquez. I think a fight with Tibau would be one that makes sense; it would not be as difficult a match-up to win as his recent ones have been, but it will still be pretty competitive and he will likely be the underdog once again.

Written by Gabe Killian

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