As UFC Rochester passes us by, I must admit that it was a surprisingly epic card. Though it lacked a lot of star power, there were some great performances on the prelims, and the repeated decision to blow off my friends to watch grown-ass men fight in a cage continues to pay off. Some prospects flourished, others not so much, and we’ll be diving into what’s next for each fighter who fought on the main card.
Except for a dual nut shot in round one, the unanimous 30-27 scorecard very much tells the story of this fight. Ramos did show vastly improved stand-up that included a 3rd round flurry that rocked Hubbard, one that I believe would have ended in a submission finish if it weren’t for a very questionable stand-up from the referee Keith Peterson. Davi Ramos showed us all that he deserves a step up in competition, and I believe a fight with someone in the bottom half of the top 10 like Edson Barboza can show if he’s a real contender or not.
Drawing Davi Ramos as your first opponent in the UFC must suck. Unfortunately for Hubbard, his best moments in the fight came at the end of round three when he ‘dropped’ Ramos (really it was just a slip but the commentators didn’t realise) It’s hard to name an opponent he should face next, so I’ll just say he should take a step down in competition and prove himself on the prelims.
It’s without a doubt that Oliviera has proven that he is the better fighter than Nik Lentz. Really. I promise. If you’re a matchmaker in the UFC reading this, I promise we don’t need to see this fight again. Seriously though, his stand up has just been getting better with each fight and with his insane ground game that makes him a very dangerous man. I would love a rematch with Paul Felder to see just how far he’s grown in the past 2 years.
Nik Lentz put on a pretty poor performance against Oliviera 2.0. Take the knockout loss and add the fact that he clearly tapped out as well and it was a very bad night for Lentz. His future doesn’t look bright, but a fight against someone who’s been on a tough skid like Joe Duffy could be fun.
Luque continued to show that he’s one of the most exciting prospects in the welterweight division. He had a rough start, but as soon as he got back to his feet, he showed how dangerous he was overwhelming the newcomer with some brutal shots on the feet and ground. As it stands right now the sky is the absolute limit for the Brazilian; he’s incredibly well spoken and could potentially be very marketable in the future. He matches up well with anyone ranked above him, but him stepping up to fight Robbie Lawler would make for some tasteful violence.
Tough name to draw in your debut, even tougher when you don’t have the necessary time to prepare for such a game opponent. Despite the finish, there was a lot of potential shown, and I think there’s a lot of good that can be said in the brief time that we saw of him. I think a fight against Danny Roberts who also knocked out earlier in the night is a fair fight.
A first round finish against someone in the division with a relatively big name, not a bad way to debut at all. I’m not going to say she should get a title shot next (though that is probably what is going to happen given the shallowness of the division – though who knows with Nunes being the champ) but she should get the next best thing, which is…. Sort of tough to say. The only other known featherweight that she could realistically fight is Cat Zingano, but I don’t think that would be fair to Felicia given that Zingano is coming off a loss. Maybe the UFC can convince Germaine de Randame to come back up for one more tango?
Make no mistake about it, no one on the card had more to gain than Megan Anderson. Unfortunately for her, inexperience in the ground game came back to haunt her yet again which resulted in a quick submission loss against an unknown fighter making her debut. This feels like the end of the hype train for the Australian, and the only matchup that would make sense is a rematch with Cat Zingano… or maybe a matchup with Germaine de Randame (sign some actual fucking featherweights UFC, you fucks).
The most impressive thing about Heinisch in this fight was his iron will. He was taken down multiple times by Carlos Junior, and not once did he appear rattled or discouraged. In fact, after the first round he was more than willing to meet the Brazilian on the ground, and his ability to maintain top position allowed him to snatch victory from Antonio Carlos Junior. He’s only two fights into his UFC career, but he hasn’t been given any easy fights (both Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Junior were on decent win streaks in the UFC.) Maybe a step up in competition is warranted, but I’d like to see him fight another mid-tier middleweight like Uriah Hall or Derek Brunson before we jump the gun.
Antonio Carlos Junior
Unfortunately for Shoe face, this loss snaps his five-fight win streak and hurts his stock a lot. This was his first trip back to the main card since his loss to Dan Kelly and its tough to see him at the back of the line again given his inability to find success on the big stage. It also seemed that his head wasn’t in the fight after the first round, as he appeared to lose every scramble, and at times was more concerned with the referee. A fight with Elias Theodorou (who also had a decent win streak snapped recently) seems like it would make the most sense.
Rafael dos Anjos
It was a great win, and a desperately needed win for the former lightweight champion. Perhaps the most impressive thing that about the Brazilian’s win was the high level fight IQ he displayed. He knew he had to weather an early Kevin Lee storm, and he did a great job of listening to his corner’s advice in-between rounds. Not only did he pick up his first submission win since his win over Neil Magny, he also reminded the Welterweight division that he’s no easy fight despite losing his last 2. I want RDA to go back to lightweight so badly, but he has made it clear he has no intention unless it was for a big paycheck, which makes his future semi-unclear. Should that big paycheck fight not come, a fight with the winner of Askren/Masvidal would be fun, but since it seems like the winner of that will likely fight for the title next I can see RDA fighting Santiago Ponzinibbio in the meantime.
Very tough loss for Lee. His welterweight debut seemed to hurt his gas tank more than it helped, and the loss makes his future in either division hard to figure out. Lee is still young at 26, but he’s dropped 3 of his last four and it’s clear that he’s not quite ready for taking on the elite of the elite just yet. I’m not going to give him any shit for the end of the fight, as the octagon is a terrible place to get tired, but it’s not good that RDA figured him out before the fight even started. If I had to guess what was next for Lee, I would say some time off, but if I had to give an opponent, I wouldn’t hate on a return to lightweight to fight a prospect like Islam Makhachev.