UFC Fight Night 38: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
At UFC Fight Night 38, Dan Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua were at it again.
More than two years after they engaged in one of the best fights in MMA history at UFC 139, "Hendo" and Rua clashed in another one for the books on Sunday.
The first two rounds of the UFC Fight Night 38 main event saw Rua rock Henderson multiple times. However, as he broke from a clinch with Shogun in the third stanza, Henderson floored the Brazilian with a right hook that ultimately led to a broken nose and knockout finish.
Neither man looks to have a title run in them, but Henderson and Rua both showed they are still capable of putting on highly entertaining fights. Here are the fights that should be next for the light heavyweight legends and the rest of the UFC Fight Night 38 competitors.
Matchup: Douglas Silva de Andrade
Making his UFC debut against Godofredo Pepey in Brazil, Noad Lahat was not exactly given a warm welcome to the world's top MMA promotion.
Lahat traded wild punches with Pepey early on. However, it was a flying knee midway through the opening round that floored Lahat and left him with a loss in his first UFC showing.
The Israeli will likely get another chance to compete inside the Octagon, but he'll need to win next time around to keep his career going. Coming off of a loss to Zubaira Tukhugov in his own UFC debut, Douglas Silva de Andrade would be a logical adversary.
Matchup: Mark Eddiva
Entering UFC Fight Night 38 with back-to-back losses, Godofredo Pepey likely needed a win to keep his UFC career going.
He got more than a victory, as he stopped Noad Lahat with a spectacular flying knee in the first round. For Pepey, who is primarily recognized as a grappler, it was his first knockout win inside the Octagon and his most recent victory via strikes since July 2010.
While Pepey took an important step in the right direction on Sunday, he's not far removed from knockout losses to Sam Sicilia and Felipe Arantes, so don't expect to see him get a big step up in competition. Instead, he might have a chance to build some momentum against Mark Eddiva, who recently defeated Jumabieke Tuerxun in his first UFC outing.
Matchup: Anthony Perosh
After beating fellow Brazilian Ednaldo Oliveira in his first UFC outing, Francimar Barroso suffered his first UFC loss on Sunday.
It came down to the third round, and Barroso finished the fight with what could have been an important takedown. However, a visibly tired "Bodao" retreated too often and did not open up enough offensively early on in the final stanza and ended up on the losing end of two scorecards.
Barroso could now meet Anthony Perosh, who was dominated by Ryan Bader in his most recent bout and could use a significant step down in competition.
Matchup: Ryan Jimmo-Sean O'Connell
Successful in his UFC debut, Hans Stringer is a fighter to keep an eye on in the light heavyweight division. At only 26 years old, the Blackzilian product could develop into a solid 205-pounder.
Giving up three takedowns on Sunday, Stringer will need to work on his defensive wrestling and conditioning. However, the Dutchman appears to have the striking required to compete at the highest level.
He's just getting started, but Stringer did beat an opponent coming off of a UFC victory. It might seem like a big step up should Ryan Jimmo win, but the best option for Stringer's next matchup is the winner of a bout between the Canadian and UFC newcomer Sean O'Connell.
Matchup: Marcelo Guimaraes
Thiago Perpetuo is hanging onto his UFC roster sport by a thread, if at all.
Following a comeback win over Leonardo Mafra to keep a spot on the UFC roster, Perpetuo has now been stopped in the first round of back-to-back fights. On Sunday, Perpetuo scored a takedown after eating a head kick, but he didn't do much else before suffering a submission loss to Kenny Robertson.
Should he get one more chance to prove he deserves to compete inside the Octagon, Perpetuo might meet fellow Brazilian Marcelo Guimaraes, who was knocked out by Hyun Gyu Lim in his most recent appearance and is looking at a step down in competition.
Matchup: Zak Cummings
Kenny Robertson has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC roster in February 2011, and he continued that pattern at UFC Fight Night 38.
After giving up an early takedown, Robertson escaped and answered with a takedown of his own. The American quickly took Thiago Perpetuo's back and locked in a rear-naked choke to return to the win column in impressive fashion.
With nine of his 13 MMA wins coming via submission, Robertson should be matched up with a solid grappler in his next outing. On the heels of a submission victory over Ben Alloway, Zak Cummings would be an intriguing adversary.
Matchup: None (Release)
Scott Jorgensen is a better fighter than several UFC flyweights, but he might have to earn his way back to the Octagon.
It would be a rough way to be released, given that he was rocked by an accidental headbutt at UFC Fight Night 38 before being submitted by Jussier Formiga, but Jorgensen has been slumping badly. The former title challenger has now lost three in a row and five of his past six fights.
At 31 years old, Jorgensen still has a few good years left in him. A couple wins in a promotion like World Series of Fighting could have "Young Guns" back with the big show in a hurry.
Matchup: Justin Scoggins
When the UFC signed him, Jussier Formiga was considered an instant title contender. It's taken some time, but the Brazilian finally made some noise inside the Octagon.
At UFC Fight Night 38, Formiga's striking looked improved. While it was an accidental headbutt that sent opponent Scott Jorgensen to the ground, Formiga did what he had to do and took advantage of the situation with a submission win.
With a 2-2 UFC record, Formiga will probably need another win or two before he's considered a legitimate option to challenge for the flyweight championship. Meanwhile, he could test the up-and-coming Justin Scoggins, who deserves a ranked opponent after dominating his first two UFC opponents.
Matchup: None (Release)
Ronny Markes has not done himself any favors over the past couple days.
Usually, a fighter with multiple UFC wins would be safe despite losing two bouts in a row. Markes, on the other hand, is in serious jeopardy.
If, in addition to losing two fights in a row, a fighter gets stopped in 53 seconds, misses weight by four pounds and has a reputation as being somewhat boring, he should probably start getting ready to talk with other promotions.
Matchup: Magnus Cedenblad
After losing to Cezar Ferreira in his UFC debut, Thiago Santos needed a win on Sunday to keep his UFC career going.
In the first round of his bout with Ronny Markes, Santos landed a heavy kick to the body. With his fellow Brazilian in obvious pain, Santos pounced and finished the fight to guarantee himself a few more appearances inside the Octagon.
Beating Markes, who has wins over Andrew Craig, Aaron Simpson, Karlos Vemola and others, means something, but Santos will need a few more wins before he is matched up with ranked middleweights. A bout with Magnus Cedenblad, who is coming off of a win over Jared Hamman, would give Santos a chance to take another step forward.
Matchup: Andy Ogle
Steven Siler started his UFC strong, with wins in five of his first six fights, but he is now skidding following back-to-back matchups with fellow The Ultimate Fighter veterans.
Dennis Bermudez defeated Siler in a decision at UFC Fight Night 31. Then on Sunday, Siler was blasted with a right hand from Rony Jason and dropped to the canvas after being hit with a left hand that followed.
After losing two in a row, Siler will need to perform well in his next outing. It'd also make sense to give him an opportunity to rebound against another TUF veteran. With Andy Ogle riding two straight losses, a fight between Siler and the Englishman is logical.
Matchup: Charles Oliveira
Rony Jason suffered his first UFC setback against Jeremy Stephens in November, but he bounced back in a big way at UFC Fight Night 38.
The Brazilian rocked Steven Siler with a right hand early and finished the fight in the first round. As a The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner, Jason is seemingly being pushed toward title contention more quickly than most, whether he has that ability in him or not.
If Jason is going to become a championship threat in the 145-pound division, he'll need some bigger wins. A matchup with fellow Brazilian Charles Oliveira would give Jason a chance to make a big statement and earn a shot at a ranked featherweight.
Matchup: Jon Tuck
Mairbek Taisumov looked to be on his way to big things following a win in his UFC debut against Tae Hyun Bang. However, expectations for the Austrian came crashing back down over the weekend.
Having no answer for the grappling of Michel Prazeres, Taisumov was taken down three times. That was more than enough for the Brazilian to send Taisumov home with his first UFC loss.
Also 1-1 inside the Octagon, Jon Tuck would now make sense as an opponent for Taisumov.
Matchup: Rodrigo Damm
Following a loss to Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut, which he accepted on short notice, Michel Prazeres is starting to gain some momentum in the lightweight division.
After beating Jesse Ronson in his prior outing, Prazeres returned to Brazil on Sunday for a bout with Mairbek Taisumov. The superior grappler, Prazeres spent several minutes on top en route to a decision victory.
While he's now won two in a row, Prazeres has a long way to go before he's fighting elite 155-pounders. A bout with fellow Brazilian Rodrigo Damm would provide a better test for Prazeres on the ground.
Matchup: Nikita Krylov
Gian Villante had a chance to propel himself upward in the light heavyweight division with a second straight win.
Everything was going to plan for Villante early on, as the Strikeforce veteran took Fabio Maldonado down twice and controlled the Brazilian on the ground for almost the entirety of the first round.
Then, Maldonado's body punches eventually took their toll on Villante and left him fighting defensively in the second and third rounds. By the end of the final stanza, Villante was simply in survival mode and reached the scorecards only to see Maldonado's hand raised.
When Villante is ready to return to action, he could meet Nikita Krylov, who is coming off of a loss to Ovince St. Preux.
Matchup: Mauricio Rua
As recently as 2012, Fabio Maldonado has lost three straight fights and was on the verge of being released from the UFC roster. Well, the UFC clearly made a good decision to keep the Brazilian around.
On Sunday, Maldonado wore Gian Villante down with body shots and picked up another decision victory. Since losing to Glover Teixeira, Maldonado has now won three in a row.
Suddenly the owner of an impressive winning streak, Maldonado is lined up for a big step up in competition. Mauricio Rua, on the other hand, could use a fight against an opponent who isn't in the top 10 after his brutal knockout loss to Dan Henderson.
It might be a mismatch when all is said and done, but it is a mismatch that makes sense for both fighters right now.
Matchup: Ivan Jorge
After winning The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Leonardo Santos was matched up with another TUF winner, Norman Parke, at UFC Fight Night 38.
While Santos remained undefeated on Sunday, he did so with some help from referee Wernei Cardoso. Without warning, the official took a point from Parke for grabbing Santos' shorts, and that ultimately led to the fight ending in a draw rather than a win for the Irishman.
Even though he's not coming off of a loss, Santos might be treated like a fighter who is. If so, a bout with Ivan Jorge, who lost to Rodrigo Damm in his latest outing, would be a good opponent for Santos.
Matchup: Alan Patrick
Norman Parke won his first three fights inside the Octagon, but he finally hit a speed bump on Sunday.
Although he looked to be the better fighter in Rounds 2 and 3, Parke had a point taken away for grabbing Leonardo Santos' shorts. That point ended up costing Parke a win, but he did remain undefeated as a UFC fighter with the draw.
Expect Parke to be treated as a winner from a matchmaking perspective, which could mean a matchup with Alan Patrick, who recently came out on the right side of a controversial decision against John Makdessi.
Matchup: Buddy Roberts
Despite his 3-0 UFC start, Cezar Ferreira appears to be a long way from being a threat to elite middleweights.
On Sunday, Ferreira was tested by veteran CB Dollaway and failed miserably. The Brazilian was overaggressive and walked right into a combination that ended his night in under 40 seconds.
A winner on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Ferreira will be afforded the opportunity to be built back up as quickly as possible by UFC matchmakers. A bout with Buddy Roberts would give him a chance to return to the win column.
Matchup: Rafael Natal vs. Ed Herman Winner
CB Dolloway turned in one of the more stunning performances at UFC Fight Night 38 by finishing Cezar Ferreira.
Prior to Sunday, Dollaway had only one UFC knockout win in all his years with the promotion. Those predicting a Dollaway win figured he'd get it with wrestling, but "The Doberman" shocked everybody by scoring a victory with his hands.
While his win over Ferreira was impressive, Dollaway isn't quite ready for another shot at ranked middleweights. Only one win removed from a loss to Tim Boetsch, albeit a controversial one, Dolloway could use one more victory against the likes of the winner of a bout between Rafael Natal and Ed Herman.
Matchup: Fabio Maldonado
Although it looked like he was on his way to doing so, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua couldn't maintain his momentum from a recent knockout win over James Te Huna.
The Brazilian rocked Dan Henderson multiple times in the first two rounds on Sunday. Though, in the third stanza, Shogun had his nose smashed by Henderson's right hand and was not able to recover.
Rua might benefit from a move to the middleweight division, but he's been turning away from that idea for a while now. If he does stay at 205 pounds, Rua will likely take a significant step down to get back on track, and a stand-up battle with Fabio Maldonado could be interesting.
Matchup: Ryan Bader
At 43 years old, Dan Henderson still isn't ready to hang his gloves up.
While "Hendo" was in big trouble early on, he battled through being rocked and landed the one big shot he needed in the third round. Eventually, Henderson isn't going to be able to come back from those bad spots, so hopefully we don't see him hang on too long.
That said, I do believe Henderson has a few fights left in him. A fight with fellow wrestler and heavy hitter Ryan Bader could be interesting.