TUF 19 Finale: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Frankie Edgar is on his way back to another shot at the 145-pound championship.
At The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale, Edgar earned a third win over BJ Penn. The Answer dominated his fellow former lightweight champion and eventually stopped Penn with ground-and-pound in the third round.
Having only lost to Jose Aldo and Benson Henderson since April 2008, Edgar remains one of the best in the world without a UFC belt. With one or two more wins, he could have a chance to become a two-division champion, something only Penn and Randy Couture have done inside the Octagon.
With another UFC event in the books, here are the bouts that should be next for Edgar and the rest of the TUF 19 finale competitors.
Preliminary Card Fighters
Preliminary Card Winners
|Robert Drysdale||Tom Lawlor||With Berish out of the way, it's time to find out how high his ceiling is.|
|Sarah Moras||Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith Winner||It took her a while to make her debut, but she can now look to make some noise in the shallow women's bantamweight class.|
|Patrick Walsh||Ilir Latifi vs. Chris Dempsey Loser||There aren't a ton of options out there for Walsh, so he may have to fight an opponent coming off of a loss.|
|Adriano Martins||Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Martin Winner||Donald Cerrone flattened him the last time he got a huge step up in competition, so he should see a more modest one this time around.|
|Leandro Issa||Royston Wee||He needed a finish in the third round to keep his UFC career going, and he got it with an armbar on Tuerxun.|
|Kevin Lee||Tae Hyun Bang||Both owning 1-1 UFC records, he and Bang should fight for a step up in competition.|
Preliminary Card Losers
|Keith Berish||Matt Van Buren||On the bright side, he won't see a better grappler other than Drysdale inside the Octagon.|
|Alexis Dufresne||Elizabeth Phillips||Missing weight and mostly inactive from the top position against Moras, she'll be lucky to get another shot.|
|Daniel Spohn||None (Release)||This is what happens when you come up short of finals on TUF and lose in you're first official trip to the Octagon.|
|Juan Manuel Puig||Jake Lindsey||A UFC contract eliminator between two fighters who suffered knockout losses in their debuts.|
|Jumabieke Tuerxun||None (Release)||With an 0-2 start inside the Octagon, he could only be saved by the UFC needing to fill a China-hosted fight card.|
|Jesse Ronson||None (Release)||He has an 0-3 UFC record, but the good news is he's only 28 years old, so there's time to get back to the big show.|
Matchup: Louis Smolka
Carrying a 9-0 record into the weekend, Justin Scoggins had the look of a future title challenger in the 125-pound division.
Through two rounds on Sunday, Tank still had that going for him. It appeared he was even with Dustin Ortiz and simply needed to finish strong to pick up a 10th win in 10 MMA appearances.
One round a piece for me. Welcome to big time, Justin Scoggins.— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) July 7, 2014
Despite landing more significant strikes than Ortiz and scoring two takedowns in the final stanza, Scoggins still fell short on the scorecards. Like the MMA media, according to MMADecisions.com, the judges were split in their decision.
This narrow loss is a speed bump, but it's not too damaging to Scoggins. At 22 years old, Scoggins still has a very bright future and could be in the Top 10 soon.
Scoggins could soon look to get back on track against Louis Smolka, who also recently suffered his first career loss via split decision.
Matchup: John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic Winner
Ortiz hasn't received a ton of attention in the early stages of his UFC career, but he likely earned a lot more respect for his strong performance on Sunday.
It wasn't a dominant showing by any means, but Ortiz got it done against one of the most promising prospects in the flyweight division. Stuck on the bottom late in the third round, it looked like Ortiz was about to suffer a decision loss to Justin Scoggins.
However, a huge reversal before the final horn swayed two judges.
Dustin Ortiz beats Justin Scoggins by split decision. He’s a split decisionator.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) July 7, 2014
With three straight fights going to split decisions, Ortiz could benefit from some finishes. However, he's been facing some very solid opposition and has only lost to former title challenger John Moraga.
A logical step forward for Ortiz would be a bout with the winner of a July 16 matchup between Lineker and Ozkilic.
Matchup: Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May Loser
Guto Inocente made his UFC debut on Sunday, but it did not go as planned at all.
The Brazilian last appeared as a light heavyweight under the Strikeforce banner in May 2012. Competing in the heavyweight division against Derrick Lewis, Inocente appeared to have trouble dealing with his foe's brute strength.
Lewis overpowered Inocente when standing and on the ground. Inocente ate a few big shots on his feet, but he was ultimately stopped by Lewis' heavy ground-and-pound.
If the loser of an August 16 bout between Shawn Jordan and Jack May is given another UFC fight, Inocente would match up well with them. Inocente could also consider a move back to 205 pounds or wait for a UFC newcomer should he decide to remain in the heavyweight division.
Matchup: Matt Mitrione
Derrick Lewis doesn't pull any punches inside the Octagon.
The up-and-coming heavyweight threw everything into every strike on Sunday, and it paid off in the form of another knockout win. Lewis hit Inocente with some heavy punches when standing, but it was his work on the ground that eventually brought the fight to an end.
At 29 years old, Lewis has time to climb the ranks, but he already had his next target in mind.
Derrick Lewis calls out Matt Mitrione post-fight, Mitrione answers the call in the arena. He wants the fight. #TUFFinale— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) July 7, 2014
Having missed out on a Saturday bout with Stefan Struve due to a last-minute medical problem suffered by his adversary, Mitrione is looking to fight soon. Considering how quickly Lewis took care of business, he should be able to make a quick turnaround.
All parties seem to be in agreement, so Lewis and Mitrione should battle for a step up in competition.
Matchup: Alberto Mina
Dhiego Lima cruised to the TUF 19 finals with back-to-back submission wins, but he ran into a wrecking ball on Sunday.
Unable to use his reach to keep Eddie Gordon on the outside, Lima was forced to exchange with a more powerful man. The result was a brutal stoppage in 71 seconds.
Violence ensues. Eddie Gordan is a huge middleweight and Dhiego Lima is cutting to welterweight after this? Yeah, that seems about right.— Chad Dundas (@chaddundas) July 7, 2014
Before appearing on the UFC reality show, Lima regularly competed in the welterweight division. Considering the outcome of his fight with Gordon, Lima appears likely to return to 170 pounds now.
Signed by the world's top MMA promotion but still looking for his debut matchup, Alberto Mina would be a good opponent for Lima.
Matchup: Stanislav Nedkov
Despite his size advantage, Eddie Gordon was an underdog heading into his Sunday matchup with Lima.
Truck proved the oddsmakers wrong with a quick and no-nonsense knockout win. He was able to crowd Lima and hurt his opponent with a serious of viscous hooks.
The Longo-Serra dream weekend continues. Eddie Gordon annihilates Lima via first-round TKO. Brutal,— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 7, 2014
A member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team, Gordon has the support system to become a serious player in the middleweight division. His first order of business should be a meeting with fellow slugger Stanislav Nedkov.
Matt Van Buren
Matchup: Keith Berish
The UFC usually keeps TUF second-place finishers around for at least one more showing. However, Matt Van Buren would give them more reason to make an exception than past runners-up.
Van Buren had nothing for Corey Anderson on Sunday. It took only 61 seconds for Anderson to dispose of Van Buren, who was really out of it earlier than that, but he somehow stayed upright for a while taking an absolute beating.
Felt it was an early stoppage. Got hit harder in Spohn fight. I was still in it but congrats to Corey. That's how it goes sometimes— Matt Van Buren (@GutterMMA) July 7, 2014
Assuming Van Buren does get one more chance to pick up an official UFC win, expect him to meet Keith Berish, who also lost in his UFC debut on Sunday.
Matchup: Gian Villante
Like Gordon, Corey Anderson wasted no time taking it to his opponent in the TUF 19 finals.
The light heavyweight prospect moved forward and unloaded on Van Buren. Stuck along the fence with nowhere to escape, Van Buren was finished in 61 seconds.
Another TUF wipeout. Corey Anderson dismantled Matt Van Buren. Thanks TUF winners for not making us wait for Penn-Edgar.— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) July 7, 2014
At 24 years old, Anderson looks legit in a 205-pound division that needs new blood. A bout with Gian Villante will really test Anderson's power and determine how quickly he can move up the ranks.
Matchup: None (Retire)
He's had a legendary career, but Penn appears to have made his last trip to the Octagon.
On Sunday, Penn was thoroughly dominated in a third fight with Edgar. At 35 years old, Penn wasn't on the same level and suffered a rare knockout loss in the third round.
BJ Penn basically just announced he is retiring from MMA. Good call, he's a legend. Sure thing for the Hall of Fame.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) July 7, 2014
Following the bout, Penn seemed to have realized he doesn't have what it takes to compete at the highest level these days. The Hawaiian was once the best in the world, but it's time for him to call it quits, and he thankfully seems to be on the same page.
Matchup: Chad Mendes
With three wins over Penn, Edgar is quickly becoming one of the better fighters in MMA history. The Answer wrapped up TUF 19 with a win over The Prodigy.
Obviously, Edgar would like to snag another UFC championship to cement his legacy. There could be a shortcut to that title, as champion Jose Aldo was forced out of an August bout with Chad Mendes. If Edgar is willing to compete on short notice and the UFC brass have any hope of saving UFC 176, a bout between Edgar and Mendes should be seriously considered.
If things don't end up playing out that way, Edgar could battle Swanson to determine who is next in line once the matchup between Aldo and Mendes is booked again.