UFC 213 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new (interim) UFC champion. Robert "Bobby Knuckles" Whittaker edged out Yoel Romero in UFC 213's main event to grab (interim) middleweight gold.
Whittaker had to overcome an early injury to his leg to topple the former Olympic silver medalist Saturday, but the champion's resolve was on display in the championship rounds. Whittaker took the final three frames to win 48-47 on all three judges' scorecards.
In the co-main event, Alistair Overeem took the trilogy fight against Fabricio Werdum by a narrow majority decision. The win moves him one step closer to earning another title shot.
But those are just two results. What's next for everyone on the card? The winners and the losers. Well, it's time to figure this out. Don't you think? Let's grab our pencils and start to determine just exactly what's next for each victor and runner-up following UFC 213.
And maybe we'll throw in Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson too just for good measure.
Here are the matches to make following the UFC's latest trip to Las Vegas.
Preliminary Fight Quick Hits
Trevin Giles def. James Bochnovic by KO at 2:54 of the second round
- Trevin Giles vs. Steve Bosse
- James Bochnovic vs. Nick Roehrick
Cody Stamann def. Terrion Ware by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Cody Stamann vs. Jared Gordon
- Terrion Ware vs. Teruto Ishihara
Belal Muhammad def. Jordan Mein by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Belal Muhammad vs. winner of Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Oliveira (July 22)
- Jordan Mein should be cut from the roster
Thiago Santos def. Gerald Meerschaert by TKO at 2:04 of the second round
- Thiago Santos vs. Colby Covington
- Gerald Meerschaert vs. Elias Theodorou
Chad Laprise def. Brian Camozzi by TKO at 1:27 of the third round
- Chad Laprise vs. Zak Ottow
- Brian Camozzi vs. Tom Gallicchio
Alexey Oleinik def. Travis Browne via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:44 of the second round
- Alexey Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum
- Travis Browne should be cut from the roster
Michael Johnson vs. Justin Gaethje (TUF Finale)
Before we get to the main card of UFC 213, let's take a trip back to 2017's best fight: Michael Johnson vs. Justin Gaethje. Why? Because it had major divisional importance.
Gaethje made a successful, and memorable, UFC debut by earning the stoppage against one of the top lightweights in the company. The victory, and subsequent buzz surrounding the fight, puts a firm spotlight on Gaethje.
Johnson will fall a bit, but he still deserves a ranked opponent for his next outing. Sitting on the back end of the UFC's rankings is James Vick. That's a suitable matchup for both men and will help determine just how good Vick is as well.
As for Gaethje, the field is wide-open. Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz are all amazing options to have. However, the right move is to give him an interim title shot against Tony Ferguson.
Gaethje's fighting style is immensely exciting, but it also means he has a short shelf life as a top fighter in the UFC. That means the UFC needs to strike while the iron is hot and move him up the ranks immediately. And as an undefeated fighter who made his debut against a top-five ranked opponent, there is no reason not to give him that shot.
Also, Gaethje vs. Ferguson is simply a fight that is, as the kids say, lit. Very lit. Like a match with thermite on the tip.
Both men will show up to fight, and the winner is an enticing option for Conor McGregor's potential return to action.
Rob Font vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Rob Font def. Douglas Silva de Andrade via submission (guillotine) at 4:36 of the second round
After the original main event, Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko, fell out, this is the fight that got the bump up to the main card. And they performed admirably in the position.
Font took control of the fight, and Silva de Andrade grew frustrated. Eventually, Font found the finish.
Silva de Andrade could match up nicely with Johnny Eduardo. It's still a ranked opponent for Silva de Andrade, but it's more about giving Eduardo one more chance to prove he's worthy of that ranking in the growing bantamweight division. If he can't get past Silva de Andrade, Eduardo may get his walking papers.
Font is now 4-1 in the bantamweight division with his lone loss coming by decision to John Lineker. That's not too shabby. Another premier fight in the division should be given to him.
Marlon Moraes would be the best fit. While Moraes lost his UFC debut, he is still a top fighter in the division. The winner of the fight would be right in the mix at 135 pounds, and the loser wouldn't fall completely off the map. It's one of the better fights the division could put on as of now. Book it.
Anthony Pettis vs. Jim Miller
Anthony Pettis def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Showtime put on a very good performance in his return to the lightweight division, and Jim Miller offered the resistance he needed.
Miller just couldn't do enough. He wasn't able to land as effectively on the feet, nor was he able to control Pettis on the ground. Still, he was game as always. Looking forward, it is the only conclusion that these are the kinds of fights we'll see Miller in for the remainder of his tenure.
As a gatekeeper, Miller is here to test fighters. He was a test to see if Pettis was ready to jump back into the hunt at 155. Now he can serve as a test to see if Drakkar Klose is ready for his next step. Klose toppled rising prospect Marc Diakiese at the TUF: Redemption finale. Let's see if he's ready for Miller.
Pettis passed his test. Now it's time for a contender.
Why not Kevin Lee? If the UFC doesn't do the Lee vs. Michael Chiesa rematch, then a fight with Pettis would likely be the best option for Lee. There is a logjam at the top of the division, and this fight will help clear the way for others while setting up the winner for a big 2018.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
Curtis Blaydes def. Daniel Omielanczuk by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This fight was tailor-made for Curtis Blaydes to look good. And he did not. He still got the win, but it was a rough go.
Daniel Omielanczuk showed that Blaydes isn't quite ready for the next step in the heavyweight division. Who's next for Omielanczuk? Maybe Cyril Asker? He's coming off a loss to Walt Harris but isn't on a deep skid in the division. It makes sense, and I doubt many would complain.
If the UFC isn't bringing in a newcomer for Blaydes, then the winner of Christian Colombo vs. Damian Grabowski (July 22) is probably the best fight they could put on for Blaydes.
It would be another mid-level test to allow him to grow. Blaydes has raw ability, and fostering that should be the goal.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem def. Fabricio Werdum by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
It wasn't the most thrilling encounter, but at least it was better than their second fight. Alistair Overeem did enough to pick up the win despite Werdum nearly winning by TKO in the third.
As you've already seen with the preliminary quick hits, I'm suggesting Alexey Oleinik for Fabricio Werdum. It's a nice grappler vs. grappler tilt that favors Werdum, who needs a win. And it's a great opportunity for Oleinik.
Overeem is clamoring for another title shot. This was not the performance to grant him that opportunity. However, the division doesn't have many other contenders for Stipe Miocic. The UFC will need to wait for Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos (September 9) to complete before booking the next title challenger.
If Ngannou wins, it's his. Period. If JDS is victorious, then they may be forced to book the Miocic vs. Overeem rematch. If Overeem does not get the title shot, then a title eliminator with Cain Velasquez, if healthy, is the best bet.
Interim UFC Middleweight Championship: Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Bobby Knuckles is your new middleweight champion. Well, interim champion. True grit from the Aussie was on display as he overcame a first-round leg injury to capture the final three rounds against Yoel Romero.
Romero was never able to get back into the fight after the second round. He seemingly took the third off to regroup for the latter two rounds, but he never quite got back into the groove. Now he hits the drawing board once more and misses a clash with Michael Bisping.
A rematch with Jacare Souza is the right call. It was a controversial first fight between the two, and running that back now is only right. They're both aging and on the decline. Book it now and only move one forward.
Robert Whittaker's next fight should be easy to book, but it's not. It should be Michael Bisping in a unification contest. However, we do not know the extent of the damage to Whittaker's leg. If it's significant, then he may not be able to take that fight.
And there is the possible Bisping vs. GSP fight as well. While Dana White said, "that ship as sailed," per Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, it could very much still be in play. That is a money fight, and that's what the UFC craves. The lead promoter in the UFC cannot be taken as a firm source, as it could be a power play.
Still, we'll say Bisping vs. Whittaker is the next fight. Let's hope Whittaker isn't in too bad of shape and can take the fight. It's what we want to see.