Post-UFC Fight Night 61 Matchmaking Predictions

ufc-162The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Brazil last night (February 22, 2015) with UFC Fight Night 61 and the incredible night of scraps saw a record-setting 10 (out of 11) underdogs walk away victorious. Now, after the befuddling and entertaining night of action, let’s take a look ahead at a few potential match-ups for some of the competitors of the Porto Alegre evening… Edson Barboza vs Rustam Khabilov This potential match-up is a pairing of two lightweights who each came up short on the judges’ scorecards at last night’s UFC Fight Night 61 in Brazil, with Barboza dropping a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson and Khabilov succumbing to a split decision defeat to Adriano Martins. Following their losses, Barboza and Khabilov who are ranked at #6 and #14 in the division, are expected to take a fall in the rankings. Barboza will still remain in the top 10, while Khabilov could be dropped from the top 15, altogether. I think this potential 155-pound scrap makes sense as the next move for both of these fighters, and I believe it would be a very tough fight for both of them, perhaps even tougher than the fights which they just lost. I think this would be a very fun fight in the UFC’s lightweight division and would like to see it booked for a future fight card. The winner of this potential scrap would remain relevant in the division, while the loser would likely have his dreams of wearing UFC gold crushed. I think this potential scrap would be a solid fit for the main card of July’s UFC 189 in Las Vegas, which will be co-headlined by a welterweight title fight between challenger Rory MacDonald and champion Robbie Lawler, and headlined by a featherweight title fight between challenger Conor McGregor and champion Jose Aldo. It would also work as the headliner for the televised FOX Sports 1 preliminary portion of the card. Adriano Martins vs Mairbek Taisumov He took out the Dagestani, now give him the Chechnyan. Adriano Martins scored an upset victory by way of split decision over heavy favorite Rustam Khabilov at last night’s UFC Fight Night 61 in Brazil, and with the solid outing, he is now on a two-fight winning streak inside the Octagon. Taisumov rides a two-fight winning streak of his own, both of his wins coming via T/KO. These 155-pounders are both solid and I think pitting them against each other for their next outing makes a ton of sense. This is a fight that could end in knock-out at any time, by either party, or it could also be an entertaining 15-minute war. Both of these fighters are talented and have been showing improvements in their all-around skill-sets, so coming off recent wins and each riding two-fight winning streaks, I think this is the perfect time to make this match-up. I think this would be the perfect fight to kick off the main card for June’s UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin. Iuri Alcantara vs Francisco Rivera Man, oh man, I really love this potential bantamweight scrap and would really love for UFC match-maker Sean Shelby to book it for a future fight card. Alcantara just suffered arguably the biggest loss of his professional mixed martial arts career at last night’s UFC Fight Night 61 in Brazil, which came against Frankie Saenz. Being a near 10-to-1 favorite in the bout, Alcantara delivered the arguably the worst performance of his career, which comes as a bit of a surprise not only considering the betting lines, but also the fact that this was his first fight since making Jackson-Winklejohn MMA his new home. Following the sour defeat, I think the perfect opponent to pit him against in his next outing is Rivera, who is coming off a controversial rear naked choke loss to Urijah Faber. I believe Alcantara vs Rivera would be a very entertaining fight in the 135-pound division, whether it lasts a minute or goes the distance, but as long as there is no early finish, I think it would be a solid contender for the evening’s ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus, regardless of the card it is booked on. Alcantara’s opponents generally look to outwrestle him to pick up the win, but that wouldn’t be Francisco’s game-plan, as you could all-but-guarantee that he will keep it on the feet and look to add another knockout to his resume. This is a main card worthy fight, but I think it will fit best on the aforementioned FOX Sports 1 prelims for June’s UFC 189 in Las Vegas, possibly as the headliner. Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Matt Dwyer This potential match-up would be pitting against each other a pair of welterweights who were each successful at last night’s UFC Fight Night 61 event in Brazil, with Ponzinibbio taking a unanimous decision victory over Sean Strickland and Matt Dwyer knocking-out William Macario in impressive high-light reel fashion. I think makes sense as the next move for both 170-pounders and is a fight that would likely result in another T/KO, as both of these welterweights hit hard and aim to finish. Regardless of the outcome or how long it lasts, I think this potential bout is a recipe for fireworks. June’s UFC Fight Night 68 in New Orleans seems like a good fit for this scrap, and if it were to be booked on that card, I would expect it to be part of the evening’s main card, likely as the first fight to get things started. UFC Fight Night 68 will be headlined by a light heavyweight contest between Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader.

Written by Gabe Killian

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