After a surprisingly great set of fights on what most described as a less than compelling card, Brandon Nocaute is back doing matchmaking for the winners and losers of UFC 204: Bisping vs Henderson. Dig in!
It was a good night of action at UFC 204 in Manchester, England as many surprises and big wins took place. Top prospects emerged and big upsets took place. As the night came to a close it was clear the rather lackluster card made for an excellent event. Now I try to be the job that formerly belonged to Joe Silva and now belongs to, well, not me. (sad-face-emoji)
Michael Bisping vs. Top 10 Opponent
After pulling off a huge upset win over Luke Rockhold to capture the UFC middleweight title, Michael Bisping took on an old foe defending his title against Dan Henderson at UFC 204. Bisping was successful in his first title defense but it was a win with very little behind it considering Henderson has been on a decline as of late and is ranked outside of the top 10. Now it’s time for Bisping to fight a real middleweight contender should it be the winner of Yoel Romero vs. Chris Weidman or the winner of Jacare Souza vs. Luke Rockhold. Realistically there is a great deal of middleweights that Bisping should have been fighting instead of Dan Henderson and despite his wish for a fight with GSP he needs to prove he can defend against the best in the division first.
Either of the fights mentioned above will be solid defenses for Bisping if he comes out successful. Chris Weidman is a former champion with top wins and well rounded ability, Yoel Romero is a dominant wrestler with good striking and outstanding knockout power, Luke Rockhold is a confident striker with a great arsenal of attacks and good takedown defense, and Jacare Souza is a world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist with good striking and solid wrestling ability. Whoever is next for Bisping we can certainly expect a very tough contest for the champion and a win will solidify his title run.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Tim Kennedy/Rashad Evans
Gegard Mousasi made a big statement at UFC 204 with a dominant TKO victory over Vitor Belfort proving once again why he should not be underestimated as a contender in the middleweight division. Mousasi has a proven well rounded game as he has shown great boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu in the past. While he may have failed to live up to early hype he is now on a remarkable three-fight win streak and making his way towards a title shot. His next fight should be against the winner of UFC 205’s Tim Kennedy vs. Rashad Evans.
While Mousasi is an interesting fighter with a great skill set it would be intriguing to see him challenge one of these two middleweight fighters next. Kennedy is a proven top middleweight with fantastic wrestling and ground skills and solid striking as well. Evans is a former light-heavyweight champion making his middleweight debut and with a huge win over Kennedy he could put his name right into the mix with the top contenders of the division. Either way it will be another well deserved big fight for Mousasi and a win could see him fighting for the title while a win for Kennedy or Evans would give them two big wins in a row and derail Mousasis current run towards the top
Jimi Manuwa vs. Maurício Rua
It was an outstanding performance for Jimi Manuwa as he picked up his first top ranked win with an upset knockout victory over Ovince Saint Preux. It was a big win for the striking specialist and his next contest should be against the legendary Maurício “Shogun” Rua who is currently on a two-fight win streak and looking to present himself as a contender once again. It would be an interesting matchup as both men like to keep the fight standing and look for the knockout. Shogun should have the advantage on the mat but in a fight that will most likely not end up on the ground it is an intriguing tilt as these contenders look to emerge in the title picture.
Stefan Struve vs. Ruslan Magomedov
With his submission over Daniel Omielańczuk at UFC 204 Stefan Struve is now 2-0 since returning to the octagon after a hiatus stemming from an injury. Struve should now take on top heavyweight prospect Ruslan Magomedov who he was expected to face at UFC 204 but unfortunately was scrapped due to an injury. It’s is a very exciting matchup as the 7-foot striking specialist Stefan Struve has looked fantastic in his last two outings and well rounded Russian heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov rides high on a nine-fight win streak more recently defeating Shawn Jordan at UFC 192. A win for either guy would warrant top ranked fights and put them right into the mix of contenders.
Mirsad Bektić vs. Arnold Allen
While it was a rather predictable win for Mirsad Bektic, who took on bantamweight fighter Russell Doane on short notice, it was a solid win nonetheless. The first round submission win keeps Bektic undefeated at 11-0 as he continues surge to the top of the featherweight division. His next fight should be against fellow top prospect Arnold Allen who he was originally supposed to face at UFC 204 unfortunately an injury caused Arnold Allen to pull out of the fight. It was a highly intriguing bout as many fans shared their love for the contest and their sadness when the injury forced Allen out of the fight. Both prospects are highly skilled and well rounded fighters with both having 5 wins by knockout, 3 wins by submission, and 3 wins by decision. It’s a fun fight between two guys who are the future of the division and a win will certainly move one of them forward in the division sooner rather than later.
Iuri Alcântara vs. Thomas Almeida
It’s hard not to like what you see in a fighter like Iuri Alcântara with 33 wins to his credit and 14 of those wins coming by way of knockout and another 12 by way of submission. Despite a bit of inconsistency in his UFC stint he picked up a very impressive first round submission victory over mixed martial arts veteran Brad Pickett at UFC 204. It’s always a fun fight when Alcântara steps into the cage should it take place stranding or on the mat and his next opponent should be Thomas Almeida who in many ways is the same. Thomas Almeida is feared mostly due to his devastating knockout power, and rightfully so with 16 of his 21 wins ending in a knockout. Despite being known for his striking and power he does have a very solid submission game that is rarely seen in his fights. This would be a fun fight for all fans of the sport as Thomas Almeida looks to bounce back from his first career loss to Cody Garbrandt and Iuri Alcântara looks to pick up two in a row for the first time since 2014.
Damian Stasiak vs. Rob Font
With an impressive submission win over Davey Grant at UFC 204 polish submission specialist Damian Stasiak is now on a two-fight win streak in the UFC after losing his debut fight with Yaotzin Meza. The United Gym product proved his ground skills are not to be overlooked winning both of his UFC victories by submission. Now Stasiak should battle top prospect Rob Font next. Font won his first two UFC fights by knockout before dropping a unanimous decision to title contender John Lineker at UFC 198. A win for either guy would be big as they look to build their way up at bantamweight. Both are currently 2-1 in the UFC and will hope to prove themselves a real threat in the division.
Leon Edwards vs. Tim Means
It was a big upset win as British-Jamaican striker Leon Edwards beat top 15 welterweight Albert Tumenov by submissions after an exciting battle in the first two rounds. Edwards is now on a two-fight win streak and will be looking to capitalize on his big win at UFC 204. His next fight should be against popular welterweight brawler Tim Means. “The Dirty Bird” is also riding a two-fight win streak winning both fights by knockout. This would be a compelling tilt as both men love to strike and look for the finish. Edwards currently has a 42 percent knockout ratio while Tim Means has a 69 percent knockout ratio. Both men will be looking to extend their win streak to three after big wins and the winner will absolutely be in the mix of a stacked division with a win.
Marc Diakiese vs. Kajan Johnson
Undefeated lightweight prospect Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese was able to extend his undefeated streak to 10 at UFC 204 with a dominant knockout win over Łukasz Sajewski. His next bout should be with fellow lightweight prospect Kajan Johnson who is currently riding a two-fight win streak will be an interesting test for knockout artist Marc Diakiese as his impressive ground game could prove difficult for Diakiese to overcome. Both are strong up-and-comers in a deep lightweight division looking to stand out and a win here would certainly provide them the opportunity to do so.
Mike Perry vs. Alberto Mina
It was a huge statement when the controversial Mike Perry ended Hyun Gyu Kim in the first round at UFC 202. It didn’t take him long to make another big statement despite early troubles in his UFC 204 bout with Danny Roberts as he knocked him out in the third round. Undefeated at 9-0 and with a 100% knockout ratio Perry has absolutely made a name for himself early into his career. His next contest should be against top 30 welterweight fighter Alberto Mina. A knockout artist in his own right and undefeated at 13-0 the well rounded Brazilian would be a huge test for Perry in his third UFC appearance. The winner of this fight would easily get their shot against a top 20 opponent as both look to test their skills against the best welterweights in the world. These two powerful undefeated prospects would be a solid main card feature on a free event as they build their name behind their exciting style of fighting.
Leonardo Santos vs. Abel Trujillo
Currently undefeated in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Leonardo Santos is making waves as a top lightweight. At 6-0-1 inside the octagon there is no doubt about it that Santos deserves a step up in competition and that step up should come by way of knockout specialist Abel Trujillo. Lightweight contender Abel Trujillo has competed with and beat some of the best lightweight fighters in the UFC today. Trujillo has gained a strong fan base for his finishing attitude and exciting style. This would be a big step up for Santos and a solid test for Trujillo. A win brings Santos into title contention while a win for Trujillo puts him on a four-fight win streak and gives him another chance against a top 15 opponent.
Vitor Belfort vs. Hector Lombard
It was another upsetting performance for Vitor Belfort as the former middleweight title contender suffered his second TKO loss in a row at UFC 204. As it appears that Belfort may be on a decline his next fight should be with former top welterweight contender Hector Lombard. Both Belfort and Lombard are known for their knockout power with Lombard having a strong Judo background and Belfort with underrated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A former dominant middleweight champion in Bellator, Lombard has failed to impress at middleweight in the UFC. Lombard went on a strong welterweight run before losing to Neil Magny and deciding to move back to middleweight where he lost by knockout to Dan Henderson. Belfort went on an impressive run after losing to Anderson Silva in a title fight picking up wins over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson. Unfortunately his last two outings did not bring the same results as he was dominated by Jacare Souza and Gegard Mousasi in route to two TKO losses. This is a fight that fans can get behind with two knockout artist looking to find their way into the top of the middleweight once again and a win here would be the first step.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi
It was a rough night at the office for Ovince Saint Preux (OSP) as he suffered just the second knockout loss of his career and to an opponent ranked well below him. It was easily one of the worst performances for OSP and his next fight should be with the heavy handed Ilir Latifi. While OSP is coming off of an upsetting knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa top up-and-comer Ilir Latifi also recently suffered a knockout loss to top contender Ryan Bader. It is an interesting fight between two top light heavyweight fighters that are known for their devastating power and it will be a fun battle as one of these men get back on track in the division.
Russell Doane vs. Brad Pickett
It was a tough out for both Russell Doane and Brad Pickett who suffered submission losses at UFC 204. Russell Doane moved up a division on short notice to take on surging undefeated featherweight prospect Mirsad Bektić while longtime UFC veteran Brad Pickett’s loss came to fellow bantamweight vet Iuri Alcântara. Well rounded Hawaiian bantamweight Russell Doane started his UFC career with two wins but has now loss four in a row making him 2-4 in the UFC. Brad Pickett stayed rather consistent in 2014 but has since fallen to 1-4 in his last 5 fights. Both men need a win bad right now as they look to keep their UFC run alive and what better way to do it than against each other.
Albert Tumenov vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
Climbing his way towards a title fight in the welterweight division Albert Tumenov was quickly halted by Irish up-and-comer Gunnar Nelson. Tumenov was looking to bounce back from the loss at UFC 204 but unfortunately fell short losing by submission once again to Leon Edwards. Despite the losses Tumenov is a devastating striker with a 65 percent knockout ratio and only 4 career losses in 21 fights. His next fight should be against Santiago Ponzinibbio who currently rides a three-fight win streak after losing to top contender Lorenz Larkin and will be looking to step up in competition once again. For Ponzinibbio fighting Tumenov would be just that, a step up in competition. Despite the two fight losing streak Tumenov is still considered a top fighter in the division and a win will be huge for the well rounded Argentine knockout specialist. For Tumenov a win will derail a top up-and-comer making his way into the title mix and will also get him back to his winning ways after two disappointing losses in a row. It’s a fun fight and one both guys need for different reasons.
Danny Roberts vs. Warlley Alves
At UFC 204 Danny Roberts may have loss to Mike Perry putting an end to his seven-fight win but it was a late knockout in a fight he fought very well in. Despite the loss impressive well rounded British welterweight Danny Roberts still has a lot to offer and his next fight should be with top Brazilian prospect Warlley Alves. Submission specialist Warlley Alves was undefeated in 10 career fights including four UFC appearances in which he ended three fights by submission before suffering a unanimous decision loss to Bryan Barberena at UFC 198. Both top prospects with impressive resumes coming off of an upsetting loss will be looking to get back on track. It is a fun battle that will be very interesting as these prospects look to show they are still ones to look out for in the talent rich welterweight division.
Adriano Martins vs. Kevin Lee
Highly respected Brazilian veteran Adriano Martins has nothing to be ashamed of after dropping a close split decision loss to fellow Brazilian Leonardo Santos. The loss makes Martins 4-2 under the UFC banner and his only other loss is to lightweight and welterweight contender Donald Cerrone. The highly experienced lightweight has top wins under his belt in the UFC and this minor setback should be met with a matchup between him and top talent Kevin Lee. “The Motown Phenom” is currently on a two-fight win streak after he also suffered a minor setback in a loss to Leonardo Santos. These are two of the best underappreciated lightweight fighters on the UFC roster and a win can go a long way in getting them the big fight they seek.
UFC 204 has great action throughout the night and despite a rather lackluster lineup every fight delivered on huge upsets and finishes. Next now that UFC Manila has been cancelled we’re on to The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 where exciting top five lightweight contenders Toney Ferguson and Rafael Dos Anjos do battle in the main event!