Ortiz vs. Moreno: The UFC agrees that this deserves to be one of the noted fights because it was awarded a performance of the night bonus. In the fight, they were pretty even with strikes, but Ortiz gained a good amount of ground control. In the second round, Moreno landed a shot that looked like it knocked Ortiz out, but the ref didn’t call it so Moreno took top position and looked to finish. He tried some strikes then moved to Ortiz’s back and got a deep rear naked choke for the win. For Moreno, we would like to see him face Ray Borg next.
Leites vs. Alvey: This fight is the second noted because it was the main event for the prelims and both fighters are ranked. An early leg kick messed up Alvey’s ankle and you could tell it affected him the whole fight. Leites got a key takedown in the second round and got enough control time to get the round win. In a lot of the third round Leites changed his whole demeanor and almost ran away the whole time. He kept backing up the whole round and would only stop to land a couple strikes and then back to backing up he went. Alvey should face Oluwale Bamgbose next because Alvey is a low rank and should switch to an unranked fighter next. Also, these two together would be a wonderful fight to watch. Leites should fight Uriah Hall next. Hall has been having it rough recently and they are about the same rank.
Perry vs. Ellenberger: Right off the bell Ellenberger got a clean double leg takedown, but was unable to keep Perry down. From there it was close until the second round. In the second, Perry landed an elbow that destroyed Ellenberger. Ellenberger was unable to stand for the official decision and it was reported he was carried out on a stretcher so we wish him a speedy recovery. We think Mike Perry should face Santiago Ponzinibbio next. He has won four in a row and is a KO freak. These two would be an explosive match.
Lauzon vs. Ray: In the first-round Joe Lauzon was putting on an absolute clinic, he could not be touched and did everything perfect except one thing. Going into the second Stevie Ray dominated because Lauzon gassed himself and was unable to do anything. Towards the end of that round Joe started to come back. In the third round, it was practically all Ray again and he picked up a decision win because of it. We agree that Ray should face Bobby Green. Regardless of his last fight, Green is a ranked-type fighter and he and Ray both should both start getting fights that will put their name in the hat.
Dodson vs. Wineland: I will tell you right off the bat that John Dodson won this by decision. No disrespect to Eddie Wineland because he did well, but Dodson was just way too fast for him to keep up with. Wineland attempted about 40 more strikes than Dodson and only landed less than half of what Dodson did. With that being said, we want Dodson to go against Jimi Rivera. Dodson deserves to move up a bit even though Wineland is ranked under him and Rivera is a perfect stepping stone to see where Dodson’s place is in this division.
St. Preux vs. De Lima: In this fight, De Lima spent a lot of time trying to check kick and maintain his distance sweet spot against Ovince St. Preux. In the second round, St. Preux took this fight to the ground and did very well with ground and pound. Then he won by submission via a Von Flue choke. Not only is it the first time I have ever seen it, but he is the first man to win with that twice in MMA history. Dana needs to resign OSP because that was the last fight in his contract and if he does he should fight Shogun Rua. They are close to the same rank and it would be a spectacular match no matter where it would go.
Sanchez vs. Iaquinta: In the co-main Diego Sanchez met an untimely end. In less than two minutes Iaquinta hit Sanchez with two separate knockdowns and the second-time Sanchez just crippled. Unfortunately, Iaquinta did not get a performance bonus which I believe to be deserved. Al doesn’t fight much because he isn’t getting paid what he would like to, but whenever he fights again I want him to fight Beneil Dariush.
Swanson vs. Lobov: Lobov took the first round with more strikes, a takedown and some ground control time. We were all surprised that Lobov took Swanson even though he only won the first round. Rounds two to five Swanson just took over. He landed more, got takedowns where Lobov did not and just overall looked better. Swanson won by decision and he should move on to Ricardo Lamas. Lamas is top 3 and that is where Swanson is looking to be, plus these two would easily get a fight of the night.
Smolka vs. Elliott: This fight was the first on the prelims and one of the most exciting fights on the card. In the first round Elliott got a takedown right away. After a bit of time Smolka managed to get up and Elliott dropped big knees. There was a lot of good scrambling between these two fighters throughout the match. There were also a bunch of submission attempts with Smolka working his way out of a rear naked choke and later reversing Elliott's full mount into an ankle lock. Elliott eventually won by decision with 12 takedowns and more than double the amount of strikes landed. For who to fight next, we see Elliott getting matched up with Jussier Formiga. We had other flyweights in mind around Formiga's rank, but they are all fighting soon.
Williams vs. Duquesnoy: Anybody who saw this fight knows why it's in tonight's honorable mentions. Tom Duquesnoy was constantly walking Patrick Williams down and got him gassed in the first. Williams was showing it with his hands on his knees and deep breaths when he had the chance. With the clock dwindling, Tom gets him against the cage and hits him with a shot that I think would have ended the fight if the round didn't finish at the same time. Into the second, Duquesnoy hits him again and Williams just drops like a sack of potatoes. There is a lot of hype behind this kid and people will probably want him to jump into the rankings. Here we believe that the level in and out of the rankings are very separate in most cases and we believe he should take Rob Font to prove he should start working his way up the rankings.
Stephens vs. Moicano: In this fight Jeremy Stephens kept center control and Moicano was constantly moving around. Moicano racked up a pair of takedowns even though both fighters remained very close. Renato Moicano pulled the upset victory by decision. Since an unranked fighter beat the #5 featherweight we think he should fight Anthony Pettis next. Pettis has been struggling a lot and Moicano would prove it wasn't a fluke if he beats him.
Souza vs. Whittaker: These two fighters looked pretty even in the first round. In the second, Whittaker got a big knock down and almost finished him, but Jacare recovered. Soon after Whittaker got another knock down and this time finished it with a TKO victory giving Souza only his second loss in over a dozen fights. Matt and I agree that Robert Whittaker should face Yoel Romero first if he is open. There are talks of Yoel stepping into the title fight if GSP backs out and if that hapens then we want to see Whittaker face Gegard Mousasi. We believe Jacare should face Rockhold next because he is the only one left around these guys and we think Jacare would dominate anybody below Anderson Silva.
Namajunas vs. Waterson: In the co-main event we saw two insane strawweights go at it. Early in the fight there was a good throw by Michelle Waterson. Rose got a takedown in the first and spent a lot of time on top and landed heavy shots. Into the second round Rose landed a massive kick right to the chin of Waterson and didn't get the knockout, but soon after finished with a brutal rear naked choke. We think Rose should be the next one to fight for the title with this win and we think Tecia Torres would be a good match up for Michelle Waterson.
Johnson vs. Reis: This title fight was absolutely one-sided. Johnson had a near-perfect defense avoiding 158 of Reis' attempted 170 strikes. Mighty Mouse was able to get multiple takedowns throughout the match and he ended it with an armbar the likes of which we have not seen in a long time. This tied DJ for most title defenses in UFC History. For Wilson Reis we want Ray Borg who is right under him in the rankings and on a hot streak. For Demetrious it may not even matter at this point, but we would love to see a super-fight with the bantamweight champ.
Shane Burgos vs. Charles Rosa: This fight deserves honorable mention because it was awarded fight of the night. This fight was a good back and forth with Burgos keeping control of the octagon. Rosa worked the outside and tried to work Burgos’ lead leg. He was landing what looked like big shots, but Burgos was showing no signs of effect. In the second round, Burgos rocked Rosa, he seemed like he was still in it, but the ref pulled Burgos off with a TKO win. Being in the featherweight division I think if Shane gets any ranked fighter it should be Renan Barao. Barao is on his way out of the UFC, but he is still very technical and has a wealth of experience. I think it would be a good test to see what the featherweight division is going to be like.
Myles Jury vs. Mike De La Torre: This next fight is the other notable fight from the prelims. It was the main event for the prelims and Myles Jury absolutely dominated. Myles was aggressive in the stand up and got a takedown. From there he put in the double hooks from rear mount and just battered De La Torre until he got the TKO victory. For who he should fight next I think is a tough decision. He won dramatically, but even though De La Torre had a similar record, the people he fought are nowhere near the caliber that Myles Jury has fought. I’m going to give two picks because if I were to guess conservatively then I would pick Darren Elkins. He is on a hot streak and just hopped onto the rankings. If I wanted to pick a bit more boldly I would go with Yair Rodriguez. He is #8 and Jury looked like a mid-rank guy in this fight.
Charles Oliveira vs. Will Brooks: On to the main card and this was another spectacular fight. Oliveira came out and took an early takedown. After some rolling around, Brooks tried to stand up and Oliveira jumped on his back and sunk in a rear naked choke. Not only that, but he got Brooks to tap and won in the first round. Oliveira became tied for second with most submissions in UFC history. In our rankings that will be up soon we already ranked Oliveira in his new division. We think he should fight Michael Johnson at #6. Johnson is the perfect mid-card guy to fight to prove that you belong in the top five and he will be another tough striker to beat.
Thiago Alves vs. Patrick Cote: Moving onto fight number two of the main card we saw Thiago Alves win by decision. Early in the fight, Cote dominated cage control, but Alves got a knockdown and controlled the ground. From there, there was a good exchange in round two and Cote got knocked down again. Alves hopped on top and there was a lot of blood for the rest of the round. Into the third it was kind of even with the slight edge to Alves. Patrick Cote retired after the interview and we will miss him greatly. Thiago Alves deserves to fight a ranked guy and we see Kamaru Usman as the guy for him. Usman is already ranked and we believe he should go up for his fight tonight, but fans would lose their minds watching these two heavy-hitters square off. It may be a bit of a jump for an unranked Thiago to fight someone in the top ten, but Thiago has been in and out of the rankings in his career and Kamaru would be by far the most entertaining option to determine if Alves deserves to be back in it now.
Cynthia Calvillo vs Pearl Gonzalez: When the fight was standing it was back and forth and felt pretty even. Calvillo dominated every time the fight took to the ground. Late in the first round Calvillo sunk in a nasty triangle choke and Pearl survived the round only because of the bell. From there it was the same story in the second. Then there was a vicious rear naked choke in the third by Calvillo for the win. At the end of the fight, Calvillo was very confident and called out the champ already even though she is unranked. I can definitely see Calvillo being a main-eventer in a few fight nights already and getting big in this division if she can keep this streak up. I am torn between two fighters for Calvillo because they are very close in rank. I believe Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant would both be good fights to test if Cynthia deserves to be ranked. They are both good, scrappy fighters, but since Paige has a win over Felice I believe she is the real test even though Paige and Cynthia are training partners at Alpha Male. Calvillo probably won't go this route, but I believe this to be the most logical way to go for her.
Chris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi: The co-main event is unfortunately surrounded with a lot of controversy and I will get to it in a second. Chris got an early takedown in the fight and Gegard almost got a knock down later in the round. Mousasi was barely winning while standing then Chris took Gegard to the ground. Gegard was piling shots on Weidman in the second. Mousasi drops two destructive knees and the ref stopped the fight because he believed they were illegal knees. A lot of strange events happened after. They paused the fight and Chris asked for the doctors to come in. Gegard was warned about the illegal knees while Chris was visibly telling the doctors that he couldn't go on. Then, Big John tells ref Dan Miragliotta that he watched the replay and they were both legal strikes. The doctors go to Dan and say that Chris can't go on, but since they are legal knees Dan rules that this fight is over by TKO. After the fight Chris is persistent that he argued with the doctors to let him fight while the video of him speaking with them tells a completely opposite story. Either way, Mousasi is officially victorious by TKO and both fighters call for a rematch. I disagree because, controversy or not, it was ruled a clean win and I think Gegard should move on to face either Yoel Romero or Jacare Souza. I am not leaning towards either fighter because both are close to equal in my opinion and if Gegard beats either of them he should be right there for a title fight.
Dan Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson: In the first round of the main event Anthony Johnson completely ignored his game plan and kept Cormier against the cage. He was keeping good control, but not doing too much else. Rumble got a successful takedown at the bell. For what existed of the second round, Rumble got a couple takedowns and remained trying to wrestle Cormier.Then DC landed a counter takedown and ended up on top. Cormier was dropping bombs and forced Johnson to expose his back.Dan quickly put in the rear naked choke, stretched him out and got the win via submission. After the fight, Johnson retired saying he has another non-mma business opportunity in his life that he wants to pursue which came as a shock to everybody since he is only 33. On to Dan Cormier's post-fight interview he gladly takes on the heel role with most of the crowd booing him. When Joe Rogan asked about Jon Jones as a next fight, Dan laughed it off and gave a few insults to Jon. He calls out Jimi Manuwa who just recently did the same after his win over Corey Anderson. I understand how Dan feels about Jones and I agree with him, but as I said in Manuwa's post-fight, I believe Manuwa needed to fight Rumble or Alexander Gustafsson before a title fight and now that Rumble is gone I am praying for Manuwa vs. Gustafsson. Now this leaves Dan in an odd position because I believe he should wait until that fight determines a true number one contender or if he can't wait go for Jon Jones.
Diakiese vs. Packalen: This is the first notable fight of the prelims and with good reason. Marc Diakiese was 11-0 coming into this fight and this was his third fight in the UFC. He showed off some flashy kicks and landed a knockout so quick that it looked like it took Packalen's body a second to realize it. Matt and I agree that this kid deserves someone low in rankings already and even though he is #15 I believe Francisco Trinaldo would be a good fit for him to start in the rankings.
Duffy vs. Madadi: The next notable fight is the main event for the prelims. Joe Duffy landed double the amount of shots than his opponent and just picked his opponent apart the whole fight. If that was enough, early in the fight he took full mount and landed nasty elbows. Since Duffy has beaten the current champ of his division, Conor McGregor, I know he should start fighting ranked guys, but he recently lost to #9 Dustin Poirier so he should fight #13 Gilbert Melendez.
Allen vs. Amirkhani: Now we are on to the main card and Arnold Allen won this fight with the only decision on the main card. He also beat his opponent with more than double the amount of strikes and defended eight takedown attempts. He also showed off some pretty clean takedowns and showed some good hustle the whole fight. As for a next opponent I think "Bruce Leeroy" Alex Caceres would be a good match up because I think Allen needs to learn to beat guys that can finish fights before he takes on ranked guys and Caceres can finish fights, but has a spotty record so it would be a good starting point.
Pickett vs. Vera: Marlon Vera won this fight by TKO with only about a minute left in the first round. He got the knockdown and only swung two more times before the ref called it off. I think the ref called it too early because Pickett pushed Vera off right as the ref was calling it and he seemed alert right after when speaking to the ref and his corner. Had the ref not called that, I believe Picket would've won the fight. Vera had a good bit more strikes landed, but Pickett scored a few takedowns and kept ground control for over three minutes. Well Vera won and I'm not going to knock him for it. We think that Joe soto would be a good next fight because he just got ranked and they are both good standup fighters.
Nelson vs. Jouban: Statistics-wise this was a pretty close fight in the first round except Nelson had a lot of control time. On to the second round, Nelson rocked him pretty quick in the round, ran up to him, paused, then decided to get his first career guillotine victory. We think that Neil Magny would be the prefect test for Nelson to break into the top five fighters in the weight class because his aggressive striking would force Gunnar to overcome those heavy hands to implement his game plan.
Manuwa vs. Anderson: This was a very intense fight while it lasted. Both fighters manuvered away from a lot of strikes and Manuwa stuffed all three of Corey's take down attempts. That is until Jimi Manuwa landed a quick one-hit knockout and picked up performance of the night. Corey Anderson needs to prove he can stand against a phenomenal striker before he gets considered for the title and Ovince St. Preux is great for him to test himself against. As for Jimi Manuwa, Matt and I are confident that he shouldn't face anybody other than the loser of the upcoming title fight. We believe that Gustaffson should be the next person to fight for the title no matter who wins and if Manuwa wants next in line then he has to end whoever cant seal the deal on April 8th.