Post-UFC Fight Night 63 Matchmaking Predictions

PoirierUFC Fight Night 63 came and went, producing a night of solid fights, and with the action in our rear-view, I’m gonna take a look at some potential match-ups for a few of the competitors from the card… LIGHTWEIGHT EDITION Al Iaquinta vs Winner of Jim Miller vs Beneil Dariush Iaquinta took a split decision over Strikeforce veteran Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event of yesterdays UFC Fight Night 63 in Fairfax. He was hurt and bloodied by Masvidal in the first round, but came back to edge the second and third for the split nod. The win puts him on a four fight winning streak, and I think pairing him up with the winner of this month’s Jim Miller vs Beneil Dariush match-up (at UFC on FOX 15) makes great sense for his next move. I think Iaquinta vs Miller and Iaquinta vs Dariush would both be great fights. The Miller fight could also be promoted with a “Long Island vs New Jersey” type of build up. Jorge Masvidal vs Anthony Pettis Masvidal dropped the aforementioned split decision to Iaquinta, and it was one he did not agree with. Pettis recently lost his UFC lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185. I think pitting these two talented strikers inside the Octagon against each other would produce a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Please sign me up for this fight. Masvidal wanted a top ranked opponent and was disappointed to draw Iaquinta, now following the loss, he would be more than thrilled to be matched-up with the former champ, who is currently ranked at #1 in the 155-pound division. That would mean going from fighting the #15 lightweight in Iaquinta to fighting the #1 lightweight in Pettis for the #14 ranked Masvidal. Come tomorrow, however, I expect Iaquinta at #14 and Masvidal at #15. For Pettis, Masvidal is the ideal opponent to earn a victory over following a title loss, as defeating him, especially in impressive fashion would make a very statement. I think this Masvidal vs Pettis would be a good fit for either the main event of July 15’s UFC Fight Night 71 in San Diego or the co-main event of July 25’s UFC on FOX 16 in Chicago. Dustin Poirier vs James Moontasri Poirier made his debut in the UFC’s lightweight division taking on former Legacy FC 155-pound champion Carlos Diego Ferreira, and to the surprise of some, including myself, defeated the Brazilian via knockout in the very first round of action. It was a very impressive debut for Poirier, who put away a talented striker. Moontasri recently picked up his first UFC win with a second round TKO of Cody Pfister at UFC Fight Night 60, following a controversial split decision loss to Joe Ellenberger in his promotional debut. I think pairing Poirier up with Moontastri for his next outing makes sense from a matchmaking perspective and also believe it to be a recipe for an entertaining scrap. Poirier would undoubtedly be the toughest test of Moontasri’s professional mixed martial arts career, and the fight would be in his backyard of New Orleans this June for UFC Fight Night 68, so he would likely be heavily favored, but despite that, I think it would be a very fun fight, whether it lasts a minute or goes all three rounds. Alexander Yakovlev vs Leandro Mafra Yakovlev just picked up his first UFC win in his 155-pound debut with a unanimous decision victory over veteran Gray Maynard, and it was a solid outing by the Russian following a 0-2 run in the UFC’s welterweight division. For his next lightweight bout, I think a match-up with Brazil’s Leandro Mafra makes a lot of sense. Mafra returned to the Octagon a couple of weeks ago at UFC Fight Night 62 in Brazil and picked up his first UFC win in what was also his 155-pound debut. Both fighters have recently dropped down to the lightweight division and picked up victories, and I think it would be a good move to match them up against each other. I think they will both be a test for one another, so it would be interesting to see who passes. I think this potential bout would be a good fit for August’s UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro, which will be headlined by a women’s bantamweight title bout between Brazilian challenger Bethe “Pitbull” Correia and defending champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. Michael Chiesa vs Leonardo Santos Chiesa returned to the win column in Fairfax with a unanimous decision victory over the Canadian Mitch Clarke and looks to put a streak together. Santos defeated Tony Martin via second round rear naked choke submission a couple of weeks ago at UFC Fight Night 62 in Brazil, and he is now undefeated in four Octagon appearances. I think a potential match-up between Chiesa and Santos would likely be an entertaining one, and it is certainly one I would make sure to tune in for. They are both talented grapplers and improving striking, so I would be interested to see how this potential chess-match would play out, especially if it hits the mat. I’d like to see this fight on the main card for either July’s UFC Fight Night 70 in Scottland, or the aforementioned UFC 190 in August, which would be in Santos’ hometown of Rio de Janeiro.

Written by Gabe Killian

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