UFC Fight Night 47: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Ryan Bader is not ready to relinquish his Top 10 position in the light heavyweight rankings.
At UFC Fight Night 47, Bader relied on his wrestling to shut down Ovince Saint Preux and claim a decision victory. Since being knocked out by Glover Teixeira in September 2013, Bader has now won three in a row, all on pretty clear-cut scorecards.
The result in Saturday's main event slowed down the Saint Preux hype train considerably. While the Strikeforce veteran was undefeated in four UFC bouts prior to UFC Fight Night 47, a loss to Bader shows he still has a long way to go before he reaches the top.
With another UFC event in the books, here is a look at who should be next for Bader, Saint Preux and the rest of the weekend's competitors.
Preliminary Card Fighters
Preliminary Card Winners
|Jussier Formiga||Dustin Ortiz|
|Sara McMann||Sarah Kaufman|
|Tom Watson||Luke Zachrich|
|Frankie Saenz||Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki Winner|
Preliminary Card Losers
|Zach Makovsky||Brad Pickett|
|Lauren Murphy||Jessica Andrade vs. Valerie Letourneau Loser|
|Sam Alvey||Mats Nilsson|
|Nolan Ticman||Yaotzin Meza|
Matchup: Max Holloway vs. Mirsad Bektic Loser
With back-to-back wins over Rony Jason and Estevan Payan, Robbie Peralta appeared to be headed toward the top of the featherweight division heading into UFC Fight Night 47 on Saturday.
Former lightweight Thiago Tavares brought Peralta's rise to a halt, though.
The Brazilian took Peralta down early and dominated on the ground. With less than one minute remaining in the opening round, Tavares eventually locked up a rear-naked choke and forced Peralta to tap.
Still only 28 years old, Peralta has time to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments to reach that next level. His opportunity to get back on track could come against the loser of an August 23 bout between Max Holloway and Mirsad Bektic.
Matchup: Cole Miller
Despite submitting Justin Salas in his most recent outing, Thiago Tavares made the decision to drop down to 145 pounds on Saturday.
The Brazilian had a solid run in the lightweight division, as he brought an 8-5-1 UFC record into the weekend. However, he may have found an even better home in the featherweight division.
Against a solid opponent, Tavares wrapped things up before the first round came to an end. After quickly bringing Peralta to the ground, Tavares secured a rear-naked choke and recorded his fourth UFC submission victory.
So skilled on the ground, Tavares would match up with with an opponent like Cole Miller, who is also a dangerous grappler. The matchup would also bring more attention to Tavares than his UFC Fight Night 47 bout with Peralta did.
Matchup: None (Release)
Although he showed some potential with his striking, Jack May doesn't appear to have the complete MMA skill set needed to be successful at the highest level.
On Saturday, May suffered his second straight knockout loss and fell to 0-2 inside the Octagon in the process. The Outlaw had Shawn Jordan hurt momentarily, but he couldn't stop his opponent's takedowns and keep the fight standing long enough to finish.
At 33 years old, May probably doesn't have enough time left in his prime fighting years to develop into a heavyweight contender. It might be in the UFC's best interests to cut May loose and use the roster spot to bring in a more youthful prospect.
Matchup: Ruan Potts vs. Anthony Hamilton Winner
Following consecutive knockout losses, Shawn Jordan's UFC career was likely on the line at UFC Fight Night 47.
It wasn't a flawless performance, as he was put in a bad spot when forced to stand with May, but Jordan eventually found a way to bring his opponent to the canvas in all three rounds. During the final stanza, Jordan broke May down and was finally able to put his adversary away with ground-and-pound.
Now, Jordan can focus on climbing the heavyweight ranks rather than fighting for his job. He'll have to start from near the bottom, though, which might mean a bout with an opponent who also is coming off of a rebound win.
A matchup with the winner of an August 30 fight between Ruan Potts and Anthony Hamilton is a possibility. However, that might depend on Potts winning, as Hamilton trains alongside Jordan at Jackson-Wink MMA.
Matchup: Siyar Bahadurzada
At one point, Seth Baczynski had won four UFC fights in a row, including a victory over current contender Matt Brown. So, it's surprising to see The Polish Pistola is in such a slump right now.
On Saturday, Baczynski welcomed Alan Jouban to the Octagon. While Baczynski had Jouban hurt momentarily, he got clipped during the final minute of the opening round and was put away with punches before the frame came to an end.
Now having lost four of his past five fights, Baczynski will likely have to compete for his roster spot in his next outing. Also with two straight losses, Seth Baczynski is in a similar position.
Since both are so talented, it'd be hard to see one have to return to smaller shows, but Baczynski and Bahadurza would match up well in a loser-leaves-town bout.
Matchup: Thiago Alves
Although Alan Jouban's UFC career is just getting started, he already looks like a fighter who could make some noise in the welterweight division.
Knocking out a veteran like Baczynski makes a statement and could earn Jouban a quicker path toward the top. At 31 years old, he would likely be fine with moving along quicker than most prospects.
Since he's also coming off of a win over Baczynski and could use another matchup with a non-contender as he returns from injury problems, Thiago Alves would be a good test for Jouban.
Matchup: Nick Ring
In January, Brad Tavares had won five in a row. Now, he's lost two straight and could be battling for his UFC career next time around.
On Saturday, Tavares suffered his first career knockout loss. The Hawaiian looked solid against Tim Boetsch early on, but he got stunned by the heavy hitter in the second stanza.
Now, Tavares could meet fellow The Ultimate Fighter 11 contestant Nick Ring, who has also lost two in a row.
Matchup: Derek Brunson vs. Lorenz Larkin Winner
Following a lopsided loss to Luke Rockhold, Tim Boetsch needs to right the ship against Tavares to remain a contender in the middleweight division.
It wasn't looking great early, as Boetsch was shut down and bloodied in the opening round. However, Boetsch's power always keeps him in fights, and it helped him to another come-from-behind win on Saturday.
As Boetsch looks to get back into the running for a title shot, he could meet the winner of an August 30 bout between Derek Brunson and Lorenz Larkin, who would also be on the rebound.
Matchup: Jamie Varner
For Gray Maynard, it has been a sudden and dramatic fall from the top.
Not long ago, Maynard was battling it out with Frankie Edgar for the lightweight championship. Following a loss to Ross Pearson on Saturday, The Bully has been knocked out in four of his past five fights.
At this point, retirement might be an option. The UFC might also decide Maynard isn't worth keeping around as a non-contender. If he is retained by the promotion, Maynard could meet another struggling notable lightweight, Jamie Varner.
Matchup: Abel Trujillo
With a win over a former title challenger, Ross Pearson appears to have found his stride in the lightweight division.
The Englishman started a bit slow on Saturday, but all he needed to do was find Maynard's chin with one solid shot to get his hand raised. Had a controversial decision loss to Diego Sanchez gone the other way, Pearson would be on a four-bout winning streak.
It's not really a step up on competition, but a matchup with Abel Trujillo should produce some entertaining striking, and it's also the UFC Fight Night 47 bout that was originally booked for Pearson.
Ovince Saint Preux
Matchup: Jimi Manuwa
Carrying five straight wins into the weekend, Saint Preux was starting to generate some serious buzz in the light heavyweight division.
However, the Strikeforce veteran hit his first UFC speed bump in Saturday. Saint Preux's defensive wrestling simply wasn't good enough to keep Bader off of him, as he was defeated on the scorecards. The loss was Saint Preux's first since a December 2011 bout with Gegard Mousasi and will force him to start climbing the ladder all over again.
Jimi Manuwa is another new face among 205-pound contenders; he also had a recent surge brought to an end by Alexander Gustafsson. A bout between Saint Preux and Manuwa would ensure one of these intriguing new players in the light heavyweight title picture gets back on track quickly.
Matchup: Rashad Evans
Bader has had an up-and-down UFC run, but it looks like he may be ready to make his most serious run at the light heavyweight championship right now.
The former TUF winner has responded well to his knockout loss against Glover Teixeira. Rattling off three straight wins, with two coming against ranked 205-pounders, Bader is closing in on a Top Five position and has likely earned a shot at an opponent of that caliber.
With the wrestling to match or exceed the UFC Fight Night 47 main event winner, Rashad Evans would be a good test for Bader. Had Evans not gotten injured, he'd probably be looking at a more highly ranked opponent than Bader, but Suga will probably need to settle for whatever he can get after what will likely be longer than a 12-month hiatus.