This card got absolutely smashed from top to bottom, but I am never one to turn down some fights.
Afterwards, we’re stuck asking ourselves… what’s next for the victors? Well I’m here to try to play matchmaker for our main card winners and see what fights could (and should) be on the horizon!
Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson (MW)
Derek Brunson cemented the new version of himself and proved that he is still a very dangerous opponent, finishing top prospect and HEAVY favorite Edmen Shahbazyan in the third round. Brunson showed better patience as well as the ability to fight back when hurt with his tenacity and durability. This makes it three straight wins for Brunson, all over ranked opponents. Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier were just recently booked to fight each other, which only leaves one solid contender for Edmen to take a crack at. Hermansson is coming off a submission victory over Kelvin Gastelum and could set himself up for the next title shot with a great performance.
Jennifer Maia vs. Valentina Shevchenko (FLW)
There shouldn’t be any objections here. Maia got a stellar first-round finish over one of the division’s best in Joanne Calderwood, coming in as a pretty hefty underdog. Though I can’t help but feel for Calderwood, who was previously booked to fight Shevchenko for the title in June, I’m not complaining. The Flyweight division is still pretty starved of top contenders so I see no reason as to not give Maia the opportunity that she is begging for.
Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa (WW)
Luque once again stunned with a finish, this time KOing Randy Brown at the end of the second round. Though I doubt he gets the Diaz fight he is hoping for, I think I have something else good for him. Ranked at #11, Luque is only taking these fights ranked below him because of his urge towards activity but he deserves a crack at the upper echelon of the division. Michael Chiesa is coming off of a decision win over RDA and is occupying the #8 slot in the stacked Welterweight division.
Bobby Green vs. Francisco Trinaldo (LW)
The Green/Vannata rematch went down quite similar to the first in another FOTN-winning effort. Green wants to prove he is still a contender with potential to prove and now riding a three-fight win streak, I believe he deserves it. Not a rankings shot in the unbelievably deep Lightweight division, mind you, but a fight that could get him there. Francisco Trinaldo got a stunning KO over Jai Herbert last weekend and has a style and similar age to make it an appealing bout for both fighters.
Next week, we have a Heavyweight tilt between the brawling Derrick Lewis and Alexey Oleinik with the former champion Chris Weidman heading back to Middleweight against Omari Akhmedov.
Of course, if you can’t wait that long to see some more fights, the Contender Series starts its fourth season on Tuesday!