UFC on Fox 20: Chicago was a solid display of what makes MMA so exciting, each fight providing different aspects of the game enabling us to see beautiful technical battles, gritty wars, and tough grappling along the way. Putting on my matchmaking gloves, here are the fights I’d make after UFC on FOX 20 (UFC Chicago):
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Peña
Shevchenko picked up the biggest win of her career Saturday at UFC Chicago taking an impressive unanimous decision over former champion Holly Holm. Now the 9-time Muay Thai champion is primed for a title eliminator with the undefeated Julianna Peña who also just picked up the biggest win of her career over Cat Zingano.
Edson Barbosa vs. Rafael dos Anjos
It appears Edson Barbosa has finally put it all together after a brilliant striking display over former UFC champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 197 and following it up with a similar display over former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez Saturday at UFC Chicago. Although Barbosa is clearly in the title picture he has a few guys ahead of him in that category. With that said its time Barbosa fights a top 5 opponent and Rafael Dos Anjos, who just recently loss his title to Eddie Alvarez, seems to fit the bill perfectly.
Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
Now sitting at 3-0 inside The Octagon Francis Ngannou is looking like a legit threat in the heavyweight division and its clearly time for a step up in competition. While Derrick Lewis clearly deserves a step up of his own after a mildly controversial decision over Roy Nelson I fancy the two blistering prospects fight each other with the winner getting a shot at a top 10 opponent.
Felice Herrig vs. Bec Rawlings
After a 15-month layoff TUF 20 vet Felice Herrig returned to the cage and had arguably the best performance of her career defeating Kailin Curran with a first round submission. Her next fight should be with “Rowdy” Bec Rawlings who is currently riding high on a two-fight win streak.
Eddie Wineland vs. Brad Pickett
If UFC-WEC veteran Eddie WIneland was expected to be a stepping stone for top prospect Frankie Saenz it certainly didn’t go as planed as Wineland was able to outclass Saenz and finish him in the third round snapping his 2-fight skid. His next fight should be with fellow veteran Brad Pickett who recently snapped a 3-fight skid with a decision win over Francisco Rivera.
Darren Elkins vs. Mirsad Bektic
It wasnt easy, and it wasnt pretty, but Elkins showed he knows how to win and his impressive performance over TUF Brazil contestant Godofredo Pepey gives him three wins in a row. His next fight should be against Mirsad Bektic the young undefeated American Top Team prospect who is currently 3-0 inside The Octagon.
Kamaru Usman vs. Bryan Barberena
TUF 21 champion Kamaru Usman has wasted no time showing off his impressive strength and wrestling in his three UFC victories and while he may fail to impress the crowd hes not even come close to a defeat in the UFC yet. His next fight should be agsinst Bryan Barberena who has proven himself a prospect hype killer after defeatimg Sage Northcutt and Warlley Alves. A fight between these two could be essential in getting the winner a step up in competition.
Holly Holm vs. Cat Zingano
Former UFC champion who became notorious for dethroning Ronda Rousey has now fallen to 0-2 in her last two fighter after losing to Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday night. Nothing makes more sense than pitting Holm against top contender Cat Zingano who also fell to 0-2 after losing to Julianna Peña at UFC 200.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Bobby Green
Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez was once considered a top 5 lightweight but hes not had the best of luck lately and his loss to Barbosa drops him to 1-4 in the UFC. His next bout should be agsinst none other than Bobby Green who enjoyed some early UFC success but recently suffered a loss to the surging Dustin Poirier putting him in a two-fight skid.
Kailin Curran vs. Seo Hee Ham
Unfortunately for Curran she was unable to show much against the returning Felice Herrig dropping her UFC record to 1-3. Her next fight should be with the always exciting Seo Hee Ham who is currently 1-2 in the UFC recently suffering a controversial loss to Bec Rawlings.
Frankie Saenz vs. Johnny Eduardo
Despite losing to Urijah Faber the impressive performance in that fight billed Frankie Saenz as a top prospect in the division, unfortunately for the loss to Wineland Saturday will set him back a bit. His next fight should be against Muay Thai specialist Johnny Eduardo who is 2-2 in the UFC more recently suffering a loss to Aljamain Sterling.
Overall UFC on FOX 20 was an exciting event. Despite a couple of not-so-thrilling fights on the prelims the main card delivered in a huge way. Feel free to comment on the matches you would like to see after Saturdays event below, and I’ll be looking foward to UFC 201: Lawlor vs. Woodley.