UFC Fight Night 42: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
At UFC Fight Night 42, Benson Henderson reminded everybody he's still one of the best in the lightweight division.
Facing the up-and-coming Rustam Khabilov, Henderson displayed outstanding patience and fight smarts. Despite allowing five takedowns, he spent less than three minutes on bottom, as he forced Khabilov to expend energy on takedowns that did not amount to much.
That strategy paid dividends in the fourth round, when Henderson rocked his opponent and locked up a submission while Khabilov was still recovering.
With the win, Henderson is back in the running for a shot at the lightweight championship that used to be his. Here are the matchups that should be next for the former 155-pound titleholder and the rest of the UFC Fight Night 42 competitors.
Matchup: Buddy Roberts
Stepping in as a late replacement Saturday, Roger Narvaez moved up to 205 pounds.
Facing Patrick Cummins, he was stopped with strikes in the second round. Following the loss, Narvaez will likely return to his more natural weight class, 185 pounds.
His next bout could come against Buddy Roberts, who was also knocked out in the second round during his most recent outing.
Matchup: Gian Villante vs. Sean O'Connell Winner
Cummins had a rough start to his UFC career, losing to title contender Daniel Cormier in a bout he accepted on short notice.
With a more winnable matchup against Narvaez, Cummins was able to showcase his potential. The Strikeforce veteran showed he does belong in the UFC by scoring a knockout win in the second round.
The first of many. Thanks for believing in the barista! http://t.co/NL6Fvwf2eY— Patrick Cummins (@OfficialDurkin) June 8, 2014
As Cummins looks to gather momentum in the light heavyweight division, he could soon meet the winner of a June 28 matchup between Gian Villante and Sean O'Connell.
Matchup: Tony Martin
At UFC Fight Night 42, Jake Lindsey failed to start his UFC career strong.
The Librarian was taken down three times and eventually lost after having his back taken. When Jon Tuck landed a heel strike to Lindsey's abdomen in the third round, the latter tapped.
Lindsey is likely to get one more shot at picking up a UFC win. That chance could come against Tony Martin, who is also 0-1 inside the Octagon.
Matchup: Nick Hein
With a loss to Norman Parke in October 2013, Tuck needed a win over Lindsey to remain a notable prospect in the lightweight division.
A product of The MMA Lab, Tuck is surrounded by a very solid team and should have a bright future ahead of him. He'll now look to string some wins together and climb the 155-pound ladder.
Next up could be Nick Hein, who recorded a win on the German fight card May 31.
Matchup: Tim Elliott
With a loss to Chris Cariaso in his UFC debut, Danny Martinez needed a strong showing Saturday.
The Gremlin didn't do enough to earn a win, losing to Scott Jorgensen on the scorecards. However, he did score Fight of the Night honors, which should keep his UFC career going.
If Martinez gets another fight inside the Octagon, it could come against Tim Elliott, who has also lost two in a row.
Matchup: Louis Gaudinot
While Jorgensen has not performed overly well inside the Octagon, he's currently one of the bigger names in the flyweight division. So while he lost five of his prior six fights heading into UFC Fight Night 42, Jorgensen seemed like a fighter worth keeping around.
That said, the former bantamweight title challenger needed to prove he was worth holding on to against Martinez. It wasn't a flawless performance, but Jorgensen's 10 takedowns were more than enough to earn him a very important decision win.
More dangerous on the ground than Martinez, Louis Gaudinot would provide a tougher test for Jorgensen as the latter looks to climb back toward title contention.
Matchup: None (Released)
Finishing his Strikeforce career with back-to-back knockout wins over Roger Bowling, Bobby Voelker looked to be a solid addition to the UFC roster.
Bobby Voelker is now 0-4 in the UFC since coming over from Strikeforce. He's a tough guy, but that's the last time we'll see him in the UFC.— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) June 8, 2014
He's disappointed, though. While Voelker has been entertaining, he's now winless in four trips to the Octagon. Expect him to sign with Bellator MMA or World Series of Fighting for his next bout.
Matchup: Warlley Alves
Lance Benoist likely saved his UFC career Saturday.
With two straight losses heading into the weekend, he probably would have been cut with a loss to Voelker. Instead, Benoist did enough to rebound and pick up a win on the scorecards.
Now, Benoist could serve as the first test for recent TUF: Brazil 3 winner Warlley Alves. Although Alves won a middleweight tournament on the show, he's expected to compete at 170 pounds.
Matchup: Roland Delorme and Michinori Tanaka Loser
On Saturday, Yaotzin Meza met Sergio Pettis, the younger brother of the UFC lightweight champion.
The bout was competitive, but Meza ended up on the losing end in a decision. Now 1-2 inside the Octagon, with another loss being overturned to a no-contest, Meza will likely need a win in his next outing to remain with the world's top MMA promotion.
Meza's must-win matchup could come against the loser of a bout between Roland Delorme and Michinori Tanaka, who will meet June 14.
Matchup: Chris Beal
While many feel Sergio Pettis would perform best at 125 pounds, he appeared as a bantamweight again Saturday.
The Phenom bounced back from a loss to Alex Caceres, but he wasn't able to finish Yaotzin Meza, leaving many unimpressed. It looks like Pettis is content at 135 pounds, but he'll need to make some improvements in order to reach his lofty potential.
Moving forward, a bout with Chris Beal could mean a highly entertaining stand-up bout.
Matchup: Francisco Rivera
With opening-round stoppage wins in his first three UFC bouts, Erik Perez looked to be a future bantamweight title challenger. At 24 years old, he still could be, but it might not happen any time soon.
On Saturday, Perez was submitted by Bryan Caraway. With losses in two of his past three outings, Perez clearly has some holes to fill on the ground.
While he works on them, he could meet a fellow heavy-hitting bantamweight like Francisco Rivera.
Matchup: Iuri Alcantara
Caraway has quietly won four of his past five fights as he creeps toward title contention in the bantamweight division.
On Saturday, Caraway submitted Perez, a highly touted Jackson-Wink MMA product. However, his win has been tainted by a fairly clear rules violation that went unnoticed by referee Raul Porrata.
The UFC should now match Caraway up with another ranked fighter who is stronger on the ground. Iuri Alcantara would be a much tougher stylistic matchup for Kid Lightning.
Matchup: None (Retirement)
Yves Edwards has had an excellent MMA career, but he's 37 years old and has 63 fights on his record.
With his submission loss to Piotr Hallmann on Saturday, he has lost three in a row, and it would be four had a loss to Yancy Medeiros not been overturned. He's a fan favorite, but Edwards' days in the UFC are numbered.
Although Edwards could compete on any smaller show he liked, the Bahaman lightweight should consider retiring. He's taken a lot of punishment over the years and should retire a UFC fighter rather than fading away with less popular promotions.
Matchup: Frank Trevino vs. Joe Ellenberger Winner
Piotr Hallmann bounced back in a big way Saturday.
Following a loss to Al Iaquinta, he was handed a tough matchup in veteran Yves Edwards. Still, Hallmann owned the ground game and scored a Performance of the Night bonus for a submission in the third round.
As Hallmann looks to build momentum, his next challenge could come in the form of the winner of a June 28 matchup between Frank Trevino and Joe Ellenberger.
Matchup: Francisco Trinaldo
I don't think moving to 155 pounds was a bad move for Jason High. Doing so for the first time while at high altitude was, though.
High started out well against Rafael dos Anjos, scoring two takedowns in the opening round. However, he faded in the later portions of that frame and was stopped in the second round.
Should High remain in the lightweight division, he'd match up well against Francisco Trinaldo.
Rafael dos Anjos
Matchup: Bobby Green
On the heels of a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, dos Anjos needed a win to remain in 155-pound title contention.
He had High hurt in the second round, but the latter was working a sweep when the fight was stopped. The stoppage was questionable, but dos Anjos did seem well on his way to a win.
As he looks to get another winning streak going, dos Anjos could be matched up with Bobby Green.
Matchup: Ian McCall vs. Brad Pickett Loser
John Moraga had an opportunity to jump back into the mix for a title shot Saturday. Instead, the former title challenger had his nose broken by a John Dodson knee in the second round. Unable to continue fighting, Moraga saw his UFC record fall to 2-3.
Still an elite flyweight, Moraga is likely to have another big fight coming his way. A matchup with the loser of a July 19 bout between Ian McCall and Brad Pickett would be logical.
Matchup: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov Winner
Dodson is only two fights removed from a loss to Demetrious Johnson, but he could be ready for another shot at the 125-pound champion.
The Magician has knocked out his past two opponents. In other divisions, that might not warrant another shot at the titleholder, but there aren't a plethora of challengers in the 125-pound class.
Mighty Mouse and Dodson fought to a close decision in their first meeting. If Johnson beats Ali Bagautinov on June 14, he may have to defend his belt against Dodson again.
Matchup: Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank Winner
Ross Pearson's bout with Diego Sanchez was an important one for his career, so it's unfortunate the judges had such an impact on the outcome Saturday.
Though Pearson landed more strikes than Sanchez did and did not allow a single takedown, he was named the loser on two scorecards. Despite those in the MMA media unanimously scoring the fight in Pearson's favor, Sanchez took home the win.
Round-by-round scoring and judges' names have been added to the Sanchez/Pearson decision: http://t.co/GlMw9kUiMS— MMADecisions.com (@MMADecisions) June 8, 2014
Don't expect Pearson to see a step down in competition as a result of this loss. Instead, he should meet the winner of a bout between rising lightweights Jorge Masvidal and Daron Cruickshank.
Matchup: Josh Thomson vs. Michael Johnson Loser
Sanchez did not deserve to win Saturday, but he did. In doing so, he avoided a third straight loss and has guaranteed himself several more fights inside the Octagon.
Because almost everybody felt he lost to Pearson, Sanchez isn't likely to see an opponent coming off of a win, but he'll get a big fight because he's at the point in his career where he pretty much only competes against noteworthy adversaries.
Look for Sanchez to meet the loser of a July 26 matchup between Josh Thomson and Michael Johnson.
Matchup: Pat Healy vs. Gleison Tibau Winner
Khabilov was handed his first loss Saturday, but there were some positives to take from his performance against Henderson.
Fighters don't take Henderson down six times unless they are high-level lightweights. At 27 years old, Khabilov looks like he could be a contender for several years.
Since time is on his side, Khabilov could use a small step down in competition to build himself back up. At the same time, he could meet a fighter coming off of a win after a solid showing against a former 155-pound champion.
The winner of a July 16 bout between grapplers Pat Healy and Gleison Tibau would be a good matchup to test Khabilov's top control, which was lacking a bit against Henderson.
Matchup: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Henderson is close to proving he's the second-best lightweight in the world behind Anthony Pettis.
In his past 21 fights, Henderson has only lost to Pettis. On Saturday, he picked up a big submission win over an up-and-coming Khabilov.
By picking up his first stoppage win since April 2010, Henderson showed he's making the necessary changes to reclaim his 155-pound belt. With Gilbert Melendez lined up to meet Pettis, Henderson could battle Khabib Nurmagomedov to determine the next lightweight title challenger.