UFC Fight Night 37 Results: Burning Questions Heading into UFC 171

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2014

UFC Fight Night 37 Results: Burning Questions Heading into UFC 171

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    UFC Fight Night 37 is in the books. The results are as follows:

    UFC Fight Night 37 Main Card on UFC Fight Pass

    • Alexander Gustafsson def. Jimi Manuwa (Round 2, 1:18)
    • Michael Johnson def. Melvin Guillard, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Brad Pickett def. Neil Seery, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Gunnar Nelson def. Omari Akhmedov, Submission (Round 1, 4:36)

    UFC Fight Night 37 Prelims on UFC Fight Pass

    • Ilir Latifi def. Cyrille Diabate, Submission (Round 1, 3:02)
    • Luke Barnatt def. Mats Nilsson, TKO (Round 1, 4:24)
    • Claudio Henrique da Silva def. Brad Scott, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Igor Araujo def. Danny Mitchell, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • Louis Gaudinot def. Phil Harris, Submission (Round 1, 1:13)

    Next up is UFC 171, with huge welterweight bouts aplenty and a slew of title ramifications across the card. The future of the welterweight division is basically on the line here, gents!

    So what is worth talking about for the next week? Find out here!

Is Dennis Bermudez Climbing Toward Featherweight Title Contention?

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Dennis Bermudez is really good at this whole MMA thing. While he lost The Ultimate Fighter 14 final bout to Diego Brandao via one of the slickest armbars you'll see in MMA, he has since rattled off five straight wins and finds himself on the cusp of the Top 10.

    In a division aching for fresh matchups, that makes him a valuable commodity, and it shows in this current matchup.

    Bermudez finds himself with a relatively easy opponent in Jimy Hettes. Since he is already on a five-fight winning streak, this bout has the feel of a squash match, meaning the UFC might be looking to move him in the direction of the featherweight’s elite, where he could be slotted against the likes of Dustin Poirier or Chan-Sung Jung. 

    So can he continue that climb up the rankings here and put himself in that position?

How Good Is Jessica Andrade?

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Sometimes in MMA, a fight can make you uncomfortable because of how lopsided it is. Jessica Andrade's nonstop smackdown of Rosi Sexton was one of those fights, and it's enough to make you worry for the safety of her next opponent. 

    Her next opponent, by the way, is TUF18 alumnus Raquel Pennington.

    Pennington is one of the most physically powerful women in the bantamweight division. She uses that raw strength to shrug off takedown attempts and keep opponents in a position where they have to deal with her solid boxing.

    Her two weaknesses, though, are high-level wrestlers (which we saw when she fought Cat Zingano in Invicta) and more polished strikers (which we saw when she was handily outpointed by Jessica Rakoczy, a world-class boxer, on The Ultimate Fighter).

    Andrade is no high-level wrestler, so the question is if she is actually going to be able to outstrike her tough opponent. 

    If she can, big things might be in her future. If she can't, her win over Sexton will likely be forgotten in the coming months.

Can Hector Lombard Assert Himself as a Contender?

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    Matt Roberts/Getty Images

    While Hector Lombard was briefly pegged as one of the biggest free-agent busts in UFC history, the combination of his impressive welterweight debut (where he cold-cocked Nate Marquardt) and the departure of Georges St-Pierre has put him in a position where he is a trendy dark horse to make a run at the UFC’s welterweight belt.

    He's not a bad choice.

    Lombard’s Cuban-Australian heritage makes him a draw in not one but two markets that the UFC would love to hunker down in. Not only that, but his terribly underrated judo pedigree and his heavy hands make him one of the best dual threats in the division.

    He faces a remarkably stiff test in Jake Shields, who has long been one of the best welterweights in the sport, courtesy of his otherworldly grappling savvy. Lombard opens as the underdog, but he matches up against Shields very, very well.

    Will he be able to get the upset? If so, what is next for him?

Will Jake Shields Start Getting Some Respect?

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Just a few short years ago, Jake Shields was the hottest topic in MMA. After Strikeforce twice got the better of the UFC when negotiating with aging stars Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko, the UFC struck back by swiping their young, skilled middleweight champion right out from under the rival promotion.

    When he was fast-tracked to a title shot and became half the main event of quite possibly the biggest UFC event to date, it seemed like stardom was inevitable for Shields. Then he lost to St-Pierre, which is understandable. Then he lost to Jake Ellenberger.

    While Shields technically should have gotten a pass on that one (his father died just two weeks earlier), the fans (and the UFC brass, too) are nothing if not fickle. From there, he was buried in the middle of the brutally deep welterweight roster and has been struggling to get attention since.

    Despite that, he kept on winning. He even beat Tyron Woodley, who is fighting in the co-main event on this very card. Now Shields is getting the chance to remind everyone that he's still elite and can beat anybody.

    Will he do so against Hector Lombard?

Can Myles Jury Become a Contender off Diego Sanchez?

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    The welterweight division has a heavy shuffle near the top right now, but the lightweight division is perhaps even more crowded. With veterans like Pat Healy and Joe Lauzon, fast-risers like Rustam Khabilov and Abel Trujillo, established fighters looking to get over the cusp like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rafael dos Anjos, and many more, it’s easy to forget folks like Myles Jury.

    Jury has been on a tear since coming off The Ultimate Fighter 15 and has a chance to hit it big if he can get over Diego Sanchez.

    While Sanchez isn’t a truly elite lightweight, his nonstop pace and ability to apply pressure with both his striking and his grappling make him a challenge for anybody in the division. How Jury performs against him will let us know how far he has come and where he stacks up in the division.

    If he can dispatch Sanchez, he may already be a Top-10 talent. If he struggles en route to a loss, then he may need to go back to the drawing board.

So How Good Is Tyron Woodley, Anyway?

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    So remember Tyron Woodley losing to Nate Marquardt? Remember him losing to Jake Shields? The UFC brass doesn't seem to, quite frankly, as he finds himself facing off with one of the top-ranked welterweights in the division.

    He has plenty of punching power. He also has plenty of wrestling savvy. Oh, and he's a physical beast.

    So will he put it all together against Carlos Condit?

    He needs to be the complete package in order to beat somebody that good, and if he does demonstrate his ability to seamlessly flow from one area of the cage to the next, it will be the first time we've seen it out of him.

    This is one of those situations where this fight is either a slam dunk or a huge opportunity. So which will this prove to be?

Has Carlos Condit Tuned Up His Wrestling?

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Carlos Condit is quite the fighter. Unfortunately, like so many exciting, dynamic strikers, he finds himself at the mercy of the judges when it comes to wrestlers.

    He lost to Georges St-Pierre because he couldn’t deal with the Canadian's strong wrestling. He then fought Johny Hendricks and lost in similar fashion. While Condit has developed a fun-to-watch active guard, we’ve seen time and again that it doesn’t matter what’s happening on the ground with the judges because the guy on top will earn that 10-9.

    Condit needs some takedown defense, especially now that he is facing off against another wrestler in Tyron Woodley.

    Woodley may be a hot commodity lately because of his enormous punching power, but there is no question that he is at a disadvantage in the stand-up against Condit, much like when he fought Nate Marquardt. If Woodley wants to win this fight, he will need to wrestle with Condit.

    So, the question becomes: Can Condit stop Woodley’s wrestling? We shall see.

Can Robbie Lawler Hang with Johny Hendricks?

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    There is no slide on this slideshow specifically dedicated to Johny Hendricks here. We already know how formidable he is everywhere in the cage.

    No, the man with everything to prove is Robbie Lawler.

    He has been around forever, and his skill set is straightforward: He is a good striker with a great deal of power and a fair bit of veteran savvy to go with it. His lack of wrestling prowess, though, is expected to be his downfall against Hendricks, and indeed, that is almost certainly going to be the deciding factor. 

    If he can defend Hendricks' takedown, he will likely own the edge standing and could theoretically use that to get the win (though that was the same story with Martin Kampmann). So how will Lawler do?

How Large Will Georges St-Pierre's Shadow Loom?

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Johny Hendricks may have gotten the nod from many fans and media members in his bout with Georges St-Pierre. That doesn't change the fact that, officially, he lost. 

    Even if he won, would that have really even counted? Does anybody doubt that if Hendricks got the win, GSP would have gotten an immediate rematch if he stuck around?

    Given what we know of MMA fans, does anybody believe that a vocal chunk of the fanbase wouldn't have mobilized to declare GSP losing the greatest robbery in MMA history? Would it have been any different from Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva?

    The fact is that Hendricks fought an overtrained, undermotivated GSP and still needed him to slip on a Bud Light logo to even get one of the judges to see it his way.

    Fans know it to be true. Even the staunchest of Hendricks fans secretly know that the welterweight title picture will star the French-Canadian for the foreseeable future.

    So how receptive will fans be to the new welterweight champion, whether it's Hendricks or Lawler? Will anyone truly, unconditionally, unwaveringly say that either of them is the "undisputed" champion?

    It will be interesting to see.