Our return to Las Vegas came through in a big way, as we had a killer event that featured brawls and stunning one-punch KOs, with all but three fights ending inside the distance. This is an event I will be going back and rewatching repeatedly.
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!
Uriah Hall vs. Kelvin Gastelum 2 (MW)
Uriah Hall scored a beautiful fourth round knockout over the legendary Anderson Silva. Hall once again proved his mettle as a power puncher and is now riding a three-fight win streak for just the second time in his UFC tenure. For his next fight, I like a match with Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum beat him in a split decision to win TUF Season 17, but is now riding a three-fight losing streak. Kelvin needs to regain his fighting form, and a rematch against Hall gives him a good opportunity to do that while also providing Hall an opportunity to move up the rankings.
Bryce Mitchell vs. Ryan Hall (FTW)
Bryce Mitchell scored his fourth straight UFC win with a decision victory over Octagon vet Andre Fili. Mitchell’s swarming grappling attack was once again his strong suit, and withstood a dangerous attack on the feet from Fili. With the goal of improving ranking in mind, I like a bout with Ryan Hall next, who holds the #12 slot. The grappling expert has been desperately searching for fights and was forced out of a matchup with Ricardo Lamas months ago. This matchup of grappling wizards would surely produce fireworks!
Greg Hardy vs. Walt Harris (HW)
Greg Hardy scored a second-round knockout over formerly ranked Maurice Greene. He moved camps for this fight and showed improvement at mixing his strategies, although his pacing still holds concerns. Still, Hardy is emerging right at the edge of the Heavyweight rankings, and I love a bout with Walt Harris next. The #11 ranked Harris has been knocked out in the second round in his past two bouts and is assuredly looking for an opportunity to get back on the right track.
Kevin Holland vs. Makhmud Muradov (MW)
Kevin Holland became the first fighter to win four bouts in 2020 with a first-round verbal submission of Charlie Ontiveros, injuring his neck with a slam takedown. Holland was forced into another late replacement bout here, and has said he wishes to continue this effort (earning my full respect). I want to see the bout against Muradov reset as that would guarantee Holland a shot at the rankings after some wins over debuting fighters. This bout was originally scheduled for this card, but Muradov was forced to withdraw. “Mach” has two straight wins in the Octagon and represents Floyd Mayweather’s Money Team. Both fighters are JUST outside the rankings conversation and their technical striking presents great challenges for each other. This was the fight I was most looking forward to on this card, so I sincerely hope it gets rebooked.
Thiago Moises vs. Arman Tsarukyan (LW)
Thiago Moises emerged victorious over Bobby Green in a competitive decision, denying the veteran’s attempted resurgence to contention. Moises was threatening on the mat, as well as the feet, demonstrating powerful punches and kicks. At 3-2 in the UFC against some seriously top competition, Moises is primed for a run at the rankings but likely needs one or two wins to get there. I like a bout with Arman Tsarukyan next, who has proved dominant in two wins after losing his short notice debut to Islam Makhachev in a competitive decision.
In addition to our main card, 5 of the 6 prelim fights ended inside the distance, with impressive performances from the likes of Alexander Hernandez and Adrian Yanez.
Next week, we have a barn burner of a main event between Thiago Santos and Glover Texeira, so make sure to check back on Tuesday for the main card picks!