Though this card took a number of hits from fight cancellations and positive COVID tests, I’m never one to shy away from another straight weekend of fights and the fighters delivered from the opening bell, along with numerous impressive underdog performances.
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!
Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker (LHW)
Anthony Smith proved that he is still right at the top of the division, scoring a first round triangle choke submission over Devin Clark. Despite many believing he held a clear advantage not he feet, Smith initiated the grappling in the opening exchange with a takedown. Smith is always a finishing threat and is exciting as they come, along with proving he truly does belong at the top of the heat. As for his next bout, Johnny Walker recently got back on the winning track by knocking out Ryan Spann in a back-and-forth effort. This collision would be sure to produce fireworks as both fighters are aggressive and creative.
Miguel Baeza vs. Jake Matthews (WW)
Miguel Baeza picked up his first submission win in the second round over Japanese bruiser Takashi Sato. Beyond displaying his well-rounded skillset, the undefeated Baeza showed imrpovements in his kicking and striking defense, holding a higher guard en route to his third UFC win. Now riding a three-fight win streak, Jake Matthews recently claimed a decision victory over Diego Sanchez. Matthews has a well-rounded skillset with an emphasis on his elite grappling abilities. Sitting just outside of the Welterweight rankings, Matthews is a great test for the rising star in Baeza.
Parker Porter vs. Chase Sherman (HW)
Parker Porter put on a thorough scrap opposite Josh Parisian, earning a unanimous decision for his first Octagon victory. His powerful hands and quick low kicks carried him on the feet, while his top control and submission threats put him ahead on the canvas. Now 1-1 in the UFC, Porter will look to string some wins together and the resurgent Chase Sherman looks like a prime match. Sherman captured a TKO win in his return to the UFC, and his eight Octagon bouts make him a challenging opponent for Porter.
Bill Algeo vs. Giga Chikadze (FTW)
Bill Algeo also picked up first UFC win, banking a unanimous decision victory over Spike Carlyle. He was able to survive the early burst of Carlyle, then banking the subsequent two rounds for the win. Algeo was damaging on the feet, particularly with his kicks and knees, but demonstrated great scrambling and positioning on the mat. In his post-fight interview, Algeo called out Giga Chikadze, who is currently riding a five-fight win streak in the UFC. Given Chikadze’s difficulty finding opponents and wishes to compete before the end of the year, I expect this will be booked shortly.
Norma Dumont vs. Jessica Rose-Clark (BW)
A dominant decision saw Norma Dumont take home her first win as a UFC Bantamweight over Ashlee Evans-Smith. Dumont was powerful on the feet and mat, though not overly aggressive. Despite missing weight by nearly four pounds, her gas tank held up and she nearly finished Smith in the final minute of the bout. Dumont has real power and a versatile skillset, but at just 5-1 has some improvements to make in her game before making a run. A clash with Jessica Rose-Clark would suit, as she just picked up a third-round knockout over Sarah Alpar to get back on the winning track.
Jonathan Pearce vs. Chas Skelly (FTW)
Jonathan Pearce scored his first Octagon victory with a second round knockout over Kai Kamaka III. Despite coming in as a heavy underdog, Pearce was down to exchange on the feet and completely dominant in top control, surging into mount with ease. Now sitting at 10-4, JSP will be looking to put together a win streak to get him towards the title picture. Veteran Chas Skelly looks to be an apt test, as he is also down for a scrap and presents a fantastic stylistic matchup as well as a tenured name for Pearce.
Check back on Tuesday for the main card predictions for UFC Vegas 16, topped off by the Middleweight clash between Jack Hermansson and late replacement Marvin Vettori.
Until next time, Freaks.