Welcome to this edition of Fightful.com’s Matchmaker series! This Wednesday’s fight card provided a lot of great fights, including three great contenders of Fight of the Night. Nearly every fight on the undercard yielded a finish, including the first UFC wins for Liana Jojua, Modestas Bukauskas, Khazmat Chimaev, and Mounir Lazzez. The fight card also saw several ranked contenders put on an impressive display, while others will get knocked down a few pegs. Now that the fighters have gone back to the hotel on Yas Island and another batch prepares for Saturday, let’s focus on what is next for every key fighter on Wednesday’s card. Let’s get right into it.
Featherweight - #6 Calvin Kattar defeats #10 Dan Ige via unanimous decision
Calvin Kattar - Josh Emmett As it was mentioned on the broadcast, Kattar became the first fighter to win multiple fights since the shutdown due to the pandemic. This will be greatly beneficial for the fighter from Boston, as he moves to 6-2 in the UFC. While this is a great win for him, he has to be aware that his UFC career has developed a pattern, winning two fights in a row then losing one. He has currently won two in a row, so he will look to break this pattern in his next fight, which could come against Emmett. The top of the featherweight division is chock full of talent with many exciting fights to make. One of these compelling matchups would be between these two fighters as both are riding nice winning streaks. Emmett moved into the seventh ranking right behind Kattar after earning a decision nod against Shane Burgos last month. This should create a potential Fight of the Night brawl that can’t be missed.
Dan Ige - Arnold Allen Ige’s six-fight win streak came to an end in this fight, but it shouldn’t hurt his standing in the rankings all that much. He had his moments in this fight, cutting up Kattar and landing some nice shots, but his inability to land a takedown proved to be his undoing in this fight. Ige should keep a number next to his name, but he will need to earn a win in his next fight in order to maintain it. This challenge could come against Arnold Allen. Arnold has won nine consecutive fights, including seven since signing with the UFC. This streak has earned him a position in eleventh in the rankings, but he has yet to fight a ranked opponent. He was slated to fight Josh Emmett in January, but Emmett came down with an injury and he was instead slated to fight Nik Lentz. This will be Allen’s toughest opponent to this point in his career while Ige will look to put on a strong rebound performance in what should be a great fight.
Flyweight - #13 Tim Elliott defeats Ryan Benoit via unanimous decision
Tim Elliott - David Dvorak After three losses, Tim finally earned his way back into the win column for the first time since 2017. He will keep his spot in the rankings, for now, and he should fight another fighter in the Top 15 in his next fight. This may come against a Czech prospect in David Dvorak. Dvorak won his UFC debut against Bruno Silva in March, moving his current win streak to an impressive fourteen fights. That win was enough to get him into the rankings, so that should warrant a fight against a ranked opponent, like Elliott. Dvorak will look to add to his momentum and continue his rise up the Flyweight ladder while Elliott will be looking for his first UFC win streak since 2012-13, when he beat Jared Papzian and Louis Gaudinot.
Ryan Benoit - Loser of Malcom Gordon vs. Amir Albazi This was a tough loss for Benoit, as he has now lost two fights in a row and falls to 3-5 in the promotion. While that may be grounds for a release from the promotion, this fight was entertaining enough that he should be given another chance to earn his stay on the UFC roster. That chance may come against one of these two fighters. Gordon and Albazi are making their UFC debuts this Saturday on the Benavidez vs. Figueiredo fight card. Gordon has a 12-3 pro record and is riding a five fight win streak, including a win over TUF Season 24 fighter Yoni Sherbatov. Meanwhile, Albazi boasts a 12-1 record and has two wins in Bellator. Benoit will hope to put on an impressive performance to stay in the UFC, while the loser of this fight may have to do the same, hopefully adding some motivation and creating a good fight.
Featherweight - #8 (BW) Jimmie Rivera defeats #9 (BW) Cody Stamann via unanimous decision
Jimmie Rivera - Winner of Pedro Munhoz vs. Frankie Edgar Rivera took this fight on just eight days notice and put on a great showing. He successfully rebounded from losing three of his last four fights against three of the top fighters in the Bantamweight division (Moraes, Sterling, Yan). He should fight another high ranked contender after this win, and he would receive that in the winner between Munhoz and Edgar. Munhoz holds a record of 8-4 1 NC in the UFC and is looking to recover from a loss against Aljamain Sterling last year. Edgar is a surefire UFC Hall of Famer, holding a UFC record of 18-8-1 and is the former Lightweight Champion. After a successful stint at Featherweight, Edgar is making his debut at Bantamweight in this fight. The winner will be firmly placed towards the top of the division rankings and could be the next challenge for Rivera. Rivera defeated Munhoz in his second UFC fight via split decision, but both have greatly developed since then, so a Munhoz defeat of Edgar should warrant a rematch.
Cody Stamann - Ricky Simon Stamman fell short of becoming the first fighter to win two fights since the COVID-19 outbreak, a feat which was accomplished later on in the card. He now falls to an even 1-1-1 in his last three trips to the Octagon. After two fights at 145 pounds, Stamann should move back to Bantamweight for his next fight, which could come against Simon. Ricky is only 1-2 in his last three, but he was able to pick up a decision win against Ray Borg in his last fight. He should see a return to tougher competition after his losses to Urijah Faber and Rob Font. Simon always has the potential to be involved in a Fight of the Night affair, which should make this a fun fight to watch.
Flyweight - Talia Santos defeats #15 Molly McCann via unanimous decision
Talia Santos - Antonina Shevchenko After a slow start in this fight, Santos earned her first UFC win in her second attempt. It may be unlikely for her to slide into the rankings due to her 1-1 UFC record and the worthiness of other competitors like Gillian Robertson, she has proven her ability to stand up against the better fighters in the Flyweight division. She should earn another test against a ranked opponent, and that may come against Antonina Shevchenko. The older Shevchenko sister has struggled in her UFC career, only holding a 2-2 record in the promotion. Despite this fact, she still sits in the thirteenth ranking in the promotion. She will need a win in her next fight to keep it, however, and Santos will be trying to pry her ranking away from her. Shevchenko will have the size advantage in this fight, so it will be compelling to see how Santos handles that obstacle.
Molly McCann - Miranda Maverick After winning three fights in a row and earning a ranking, this loss will set the British McCann back a few steps. One of the more active Flyweights last year got busted up quite a bit in this fight, so we may not see her back in the cage until next year. When we do see Molly again, it could come against a debuting fighter in Maverick. Maverick was supposed to make her debut at the end of June against Mara Romero Borella, but had to withdraw due to an injury. It is unclear how long Maverick will be out of action, but if their recovery schedules match, these two Flyweights could be on a collision course. Maverick amassed an official record of 6-2 under the Invicta FC banner, but did win two additional one round fights on her way to defeating DeAnna Bennett to win the second installment of Invicta’s Phoenix Series. She will look to continue her current win streak in her UFC debut against the UFC veteran McCann.
Welterweight - Mounir Lazzez defeats Abdul Razak Alhassan via unanimous decision
Mounir Lazzez - Warlley Alves Lazzez had a fantastic UFC debut, cashing in as a +265 underdog, collecting a Fight of the Night bonus, and getting a percentage of his opponent’s purse due to Alhassan missing weight, doing it all under 100 miles of his hometown of Dubai. It will be hard to follow that up, but he will be looking to earn another win in his next UFC fight which could come against Alves. Warlley holds a record of 7-4 in the UFC, holding wins over the likes of Colby Covington and Nordine Taleb. He has struggled in recent fights, only winning two of his last four fights. He will be looking to regain momentum at 170 pounds while Lazzez will try to start a march towards contendership. However, I would not be surprised to see Lazzez take a fight on short notice as he seemed very willing to fight as soon as possible.
Abdul Razak Alhassan - Miguel Baeza This wasn’t the return to action that Alhassan wanted. After being arrested for two counts of rape, later lessened to sexual assault, in September of 2018, he was found not guilty in March of this year. He would have hoped to continue his three fight win streak prior to his arrest, but that was not the case. He will seek to find his knockout power that he had in his ten wins in his next fight, which could come against Baeza. Miguel has never lost in his career, holding a fifteen fight win streak that covers his six fights as an amateur, nine pro bouts, and two UFC appearances. Both of his wins have come via TKO, including a performance bonus win over Matt Brown in May. These two fighters have power that is a legitimate threat, making this fight unlikely to go the full 15 minutes.
Featherweight - Lerone Murphy defeats Ricardo Ramos via TKO (Ground & Pound) at 4:18 of Round 1
Lerone Murphy - Giga Chickadze Murphy continues his rapid rise towards contention, maintaining his undefeated record while earning his first UFC win after earning a draw in his first Octagon appearance. He even earned a performance bonus for this impressive win. He should see a step up in opposition for his next fight, which may come against Chickadze. Giga has won five straight fights since losing via submission on the Contender Series back in 2018, earning a contract before his counterpart was able to. The fighter from Georgia hasn’t faced the toughest competition since entering the UFC, so Murphy may be his toughest test to date. This should be an entertaining fight as both fighters try to make a case for contendership.
Ricardo Ramos - Douglas Silva de Andrade This will halt the progress that Ramos was making in the division. He had won two fights in a row prior and now falls to 5-2 in the UFC. Ramos will likely take some time off after taking a lot of damage in this fight, but the 24 year-old still has a bright future ahead of him. He could face more stiff competition in his next fight against Andrade. Douglas holds a win over Marlon Vera and has fought Rob Font and Petr Yan in his seven fight UFC career. Although Ramos has a better UFC record, Andrade has faced tougher competition, making this a close matchup.
Featherweight - Jared Gordon defeats Chris Fishgold via unanimous decision
Jared Gordon - Julio Arce Considering all of the factors that went into this fight, with most of Gordon’s corner testing positive for COVID-19 and needing Paul Felder to corner him for this fight, Gordon fought a fantastic fight. He has seemed to rebound from losing three of his previous four fights, improving his UFC record to 4-3. He will hope to parlay his success from this fight into a win in his next appearance, which may come against Arce. Julio has lost two of his last three, but is one of only two fighters able to dispatch Dan Ige in the UFC. Arce will be looking to return to the win column while Gordon will attempt string wins together for the first time since his first two UFC fights, putting a lot on the line in this fight.
Chris Fishgold - Jordan Griffin Fishgold struggled in this fight, falling to 1-3 in the UFC. While some could argue that he should be released from the promotion, I think he deserves one more fight in the promotion. This fight may come against another fighter with a 1-3 record in the UFC in Jordan Griffin. Griffin had a tough debut against Dan Ige, but also failed to earn a win against Chas Skelly and Youssef Zalal. Both fighters earned their only UFC win via submission, so this fight is likely to hit the canvas at least once. The winner will stay in the promotion while the loser gets released, creating a high steaks affair.
That concludes this edition of Fightful.com’s Matchmaker Series. Whether you think I think I have some good ideas or if I’m crazy, sound off in the comments with your ideas. Only time will tell what truly awaits these fighters.