UFC on Fox 21 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
UFC on Fox 21 was a fun-filled event with six of the 10 fights ending with a finish, none more impressive than the main event.
Demian Maia made Carlos Condit tap out within the first two minutes of their scheduled five-round affair. Maia secured an early takedown, advanced position and sunk in the rear-naked choke. Condit now faces serious internal questions while Maia has his eyes on the ultimate prize.
The highlight of the evening came when Paige VanZant landed a jumping switch kick to the noggin of Bec Rawlings. The kick put Rawlings on the mat and VanZant finished with a swarm of hammerfists.
Anthony Pettis made a statement in his featherweight debut, and Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon put on another event-stealing scrap. It was a main card to remember.
UFC matchmakers have their work cut out for them in determining what fights will be made next. Never fear because help is here. The recommendations are just a click away, Mr. Silva and Mr. Shelby. Send that "Thank You" card in the mail.
Hit next to find out where the UFC should go for all their matchmaking quandaries for the UFC on Fox 21 participants.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Jeremy Kennedy def. Alessandro Ricci by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Ricci could be cut, but this was his UFC debut. He'll get one more go under the big lights. Jason Novelli is in a similar position, and the loser can go fight elsewhere.
Kennedy is an unbeaten 23-year-old. Tread lightly, UFC. Bring in another fighter from outside the promotion. There are plenty of average fighters itching for their shot to push Kennedy while not posing a huge threat. There's no reason to rush Kennedy or throw him to the wolves in a stacked lightweight division.
Chad Laprise def. Thibault Gouti by TKO at 1:36 of the first round
The UFC gave Laprise a rebound fight with Gouti. Plain and simple. The good thing for both the UFC and Laprise is that he passed with flying colors. He had no trouble in dispatching Gouti in quick fashion.
Three straight losses, and all three by a finish, should result in Gouti being cut.
Laprise should be given another shot at a mid to upper-tier lightweight. Reza Madadi meets Rustam Khabilov on September 3. The winner meeting Laprise seems to be the best route for all involved. It's not a monumental leap up the ranks for any of them, while being a competitive and meaningful bout at 155.
Felipe Silva def. Shane Campbell by TKO at 1:13 of the first round
Three losses in a row for Campbell? Pink slip time.
Silva kept his record clean with the impressive TKO performance, but it's hard to be too optimistic about his long-term future in the division. He's over 30, still raw in overall talent and a UFC newcomer. He has a lot of ground to make up in the gym and in the pecking order. Give him David Teymur and let's see what happens.
Alessio Di Chirico def. Garreth McLellan by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
McLellan showed some improvements, but he's still not UFC caliber. Cut him.
Di Chirico got in the win column, but it wasn't an altogether inspiring performance. He struggled against one of the division's least impressive fighters in McLellan. The silver lining is that the fight should serve as a big learning experience. Dongi Yang is a decent enough selection for his next outing. Yang would be favored, but Di Chirico has the power to make a statement.
Kyle Bochniak def. Enrique Barzola by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
MMA judges made their presence felt with an unjust nod toward Bochniak. No media member gave him the nod (per MMADecisions.com). Does the UFC treat it like a win for Barzola? I think so. He isn't too far up the ladder at 145 anyhow, so giving him another lower-level featherweight coming off a win isn't going to upset the apple cart. Book him against 7-0 Diego Rivas.
This should have been a second straight loss for Bochniak, and he wasn't at all impressive. The UFC's best move is to let Tatsuya Kawajiri rough him up in a rebound fight. It's more beneficial. Should Bochniak stun the veteran, he'll have earned his spot on the roster in a meaningful way after an awful decision win at UFC on Fox 21.
Sam Alvey def. Kevin Casey by TKO at 4:56 of the second round
This is a perfect opportunity to cut an underwhelming, underperforming fighter in Casey. He's 1-2-1 with two no contests since returning. That's horrendous.
Alvey called out any middleweight or light heavyweight for the upcoming UFC 204 card in Manchester, England. Trevor Smith is available and coming off back-to-back victories. That seems like a quality undercard scrap for the Brits to enjoy.
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon
Jim Miller def. Joe Lauzon by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon did the thing again, and it was spectacular. Miller won the first bout and the second. While most would like to see these guys open every single main card, there is little to no reason to run this back a third time.
Lauzon will still draw a known opponent in his next outing, and the name that leaps off the page is Gilbert Melendez. The Bay Area native has lost three straight, but all to elite-level opposition. The fight with Lauzon would be very telling to where he actually stands in the division while being a knock-down-drag-out affair.
Miller looked outstanding at UFC 200 and returned in a fantastic fight at UFC on Fox 21. He doesn't deserve a top-10 type fight just yet. Lightweights Evan Dunham and Abel Trujillo throwdown at UFC Fight Night 94 on September 17. The winner of that fits the mold for Miller's next opponent.
The winner of the Miller vs. Dunham/Trujillo fight would enter the fray for 2017. It is the best course of action without putting Miller in a full-on gatekeeper position against a brilliant prospect.
Paige VanZant vs. Bec Rawlings
Paige VanZant def. Bec Rawlings by KO at 0:17 of the second round
The highlight reel knockdown, and subsequent finish, will be the focal point of this contest. But make no mistake about it: Bec Rawlings didn't look completely washed. She found success in the first round and has been steadily progressing as a fighter.
Rawlings' next outing should be against the loser of UFC 203's matchup between Jessica Andrade and Joanne Calderwood. Sean Shelby could select a number of other strawweights coming off a loss, but this one fits the schedule a bit better.
"12 Gauge", even with the win, has a lot of work to do. Due to her consistent performances, VanZant was elevated to a fight with Rose Namajunas last December. The UFC cannot pull the trigger like that again. She was brutalized in that fight.
In the post-fight interview in the cage with Brian Stann, VanZant stated that she wants on the upcoming Sacramento card. That's a fine date and location. The opponent? A bit tougher to pin down.
Cristina Stanciu is one of the few on the active roster that makes sense, but it's not the smartest bit of matchmaking. She throws very hard, and another blowout loss for her would stunt her growth. Outside of the UFC, Kaline Medeiros would seem to be a good option.
Medeiros is 37. She's not a spring chicken and not a legitimate prospect due to that fact. PVZ is a superior fighter who should be able to win without much issue. Give Medeiros a call and protect VanZant.
Charles Oliveira vs. Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis def. Charles Oliveira via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:49 of the third round
Pettis is an instant featherweight contender.
The former lightweight champion made his long-awaited drop to 145, and it went very well. He appeared on form with his striking, survived on the mat with one of the top jiu-jitsu specialists in the division and then submitted said BJJ star.
Oliveira also impressed. He showed up on weight and absorbed several of Pettis' best shots. The loss is a setback, but he should still be fighting above average competition. No. 10-ranked contender Hacran Dias meets No. 9-ranked Brian Ortega on October 1. Win or lose, Dias should be tapped for Oliveira's next outing.
The fight for Pettis is easy—Frankie Edgar.
While Conor McGregor could defend his title against Jose Aldo it is not a likely scenario. More probable is Aldo defending the interim title against Max Holloway with the winner being the undisputed champion at 145 pounds. That leaves Edgar seeking another elite-level opponent.
Edgar vs. Pettis is a bout we never got to see at 155. Two former lightweight champions seeking two-division glory. The biggest shame about this matchup is that if it gets placed on a PPV card, it will be a three-round fight. Whereas if it headlines on Fox Sports 1, we will be treated to a five-round classic.
Do the right thing, UFC. Make sure this fight happens as a main event.
Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit
Demian Maia def. Carlos Condit via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:52 of the first round
Maia scored the early takedown and did what he does best—submit people. Condit, who nearly won the title in January, didn't get an opportunity to do much of anything before he was forced to tap out.
Condit, at the post-fight press conference, said that he was "leaning towards possibly" calling it a career (per MMAWeekly). Anytime a fighter heads down that road, it is difficult to encourage them to fight again. It is why I believe his next fight should be out of the cage with his opponent being a new venture.
Condit should not officially retire, but instead take an open-ended hiatus. If he feels like coming back down the road, the UFC will be waiting. But if he finds that life outside of the Octagon is what is best these days, then it will be the right call.
Maia has gold in his crosshairs, but the wild and unpredictable welterweight title picture leaves his title shot in question. Is he worthy? Without question, but he's not the only one. GSP could get an immediate title shot if he returns and Stephen Thompson is the top-ranked contender.
Timing, injuries and the UFC's plans are all unknown factors that have yet to be played out.
It is unlikely that Maia, all things being equal, jumps Thompson in the pecking order. Which means taking another fight or sitting on the shelf. The latter is what Maia should do. He should wait for the winner of Woodley vs. Thompson. However, that decision does not come without risks.
What happens if GSP returns in a non-title bout, wins and then calls for a title shot? What if Robbie Lawler wins by vicious KO in his next outing? Both men could usurp the Brazilian. It's a risk Maia should take. He's worthy of the shot at glory, but taking another elite-level fight without gold on the line is not worth the risk of being leapfrogged by former champions.