UFC 223 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
UFC 223 had one of the most hectic weeks of any MMA event, but the show went on with two title fights anyway.
Khabib Nurmagomedov took the UFC lightweight belt by beating Al Iaquinta soundly. He did his thing and ran the scorecards in dominant fashion.
In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas proved the first fight was no fluke as she beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk on all three judges' scorecards. She left no doubt that she's the best women's strawweight in the world.
There were just seven other bouts on the bill after all of the pre-event happenings, but those bouts delivered some fun for the fans. But now that the fun of UFC 223 is over—what's next? Or, rather, who's next for each of the fights?
That is what we are here to decide in this edition of matches to make. Let's get to work.
Preliminary Fights Quick Hits
Devin Clark def. Mike Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mike Rodriguez vs. James Bochnovic
- Devin Clark vs. Paul Craig
Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Bec Rawlings by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Bec Rawlings vs. Barb Honchak
- Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Roxanne Modafferi
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Evan Dunham by TKO at 0:53 of the first round
- Evan Dunham vs. Joseph Duffy
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Anthony Pettis
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Felice Herrig by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Felice Herrig vs. Maryna Moroz
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Livia Renata Souza
Joe Lauzon vs. Chris Gruetzemacher
Chris Gruetzemacher def. Joe Lauzon by TKO (corner stoppage) after the second round
Let's give a round of applause to Joe Lauzon's corner for doing the appropriate thing. Unfortunately, it should end Lauzon's UFC career.
It hurts to say. Lauzon is a longtime fan favorite and puts on exciting fights. But he is way past his prime and just lost his third straight fight. Gruetzemacher put it to him, and Lauzon did not have much of an answer. It's time to send Lauzon off to a better place.
Picking Gruetzemacher's next bout is quite difficult.
It was a big win for him but not one that will send him into fights against high-ranked opponents. Perhaps the best pick is Magomed Mustafaev. He is coming off a loss, but it's a defeat to one of the lightweight division's best fighters in Kevin Lee.
Mustafaev gives Gruetzemacher a chance to get a high-level victory, and it's a good return fight for Mustafaev as well.
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Kyle Bochniak
Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Kyle Bochniak by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
This bout was to be a showcase for Zabit Magomedsharipov, and that is exactly what it ended up being.
Kyle Bochniak could face any number of opponents coming off a loss. Austin Arnett is as good as the next guy for that role.
The more important question is how does the UFC book Magomedsharipov's next bout?
If it's time to throw him into the deep end, then start with Josh Emmett. Magomedsharipov vs. Emmett would not be a high-profile bout, but it would still have meaning for the top 10 of the featherweight rankings. Emmett achieved his spot (No. 6) without much fanfare, and Magomedsharipov has the talent to take his spot.
Give Magomedsharipov that chance.
Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar
Renato Moicano def. Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Calvin Kattar should meet up with Danny Henry. Henry is 2-0 in the UFC, and it will give him a premium bout against a foe who entered the weekend ranked while also serving as a potential rebound fight for Kattar. It would be a shame to see the UFC thrust Kattar back into a top-tier fight immediately.
Renato Moicano deserves a big fight. However, the issue is that the top end of the division is largely booked up, leaving few options.
The best of which is fighting the winner of Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic (June 9).
That offers Moicano, and the UFC, the most upside following his most recent victory. It also prevents the loser of Lamas vs. Bektic from immediately getting a fight against a fighter ranked at the top of the division.
Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Are there any more doubters? Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went toe-to-toe, and Namajunas proved the last outing was no fluke. She is the top dog in the division.
Jedrzejczyk's next step should be the flyweight division. She won't be getting another title shot for some time at 115, and the weight cut is unnecessary at this point. Moving up gives her a chance to fight at her highest potential and get a quicker shot at UFC gold.
Flyweight needs Jedrzejczyk.
The next title defense for Namajunas should almost certainly be against Jessica Andrade.
Andrade brings in a great style for the title bout. She loves moving forward and getting into firefights but also brings in excellent strength in her grappling. Namajunas matches up well but is far from a sure thing. It's a great title fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-43, 50-43)
Khabib Nurmagomedov did Khabib Nurmagomedov things. Kudos to Al Iaquinta for posing some resistance, but it was all for naught.
Iaquinta will need to rebound, but his short-notice showing should still earn him a top fight. Michael Chiesa should be the top choice if the UFC does not immediately rebook the Chiesa vs. Pettis bout for an upcoming show in the near future.
Chiesa is coming off a loss and is also in the top 10. It makes too much sense to put on this particular fight after Iaquinta's performance.
Nurmagomedov has two options: Conor McGregor or GSP.
We know what the right choice is. McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov was going to be a big fight, but after the UFC 223 fight week antics, it will be a massive fight. That is the fight make.