UFC 234 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
Rod Laver Arena played host to UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, but it didn't house the middleweight main event fans thought they were going to see.
After Robert Whittaker had to pull out of his title defense versus Kelvin Gastelum, middleweight contenders Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva were elevated to the main slot. Their three-round stand-up battle proved to be exciting and captivating.
Adesanya got his hand raised in a unanimous-decision win. Now he looks toward potentially usurping Gastelum and becoming the next title challenger. Should he get that right?
Well, it's time for us to answer that question by grabbing our matchmaking hat.
Pick up the phone and dial UFC President Dana White. Let's get in his ear and tell him what the right fights to make are following UFC 234. Ready?
Here are the matches to make for every winner and loser on the Melbourne card.
Preliminary Fights Quick Hits
Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Wuliji Buren should be cut from the roster.
- Jonathan Martinez vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter by knockout at 0:53 of the first round
- Callan Potter vs. Marcos Mariano
- Jalin Turner vs. Jon Tuck
Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara via technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:59 of the first round
- Teruto Ishihara should be cut from the roster.
- Kyung Ho Kang vs. Jonathan Martinez
Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Raulian Paiva vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
- Kai Kara-France vs. Eric Shelton
Shane Young def. Austin Arnett by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Austin Arnett vs. Kyle Bochniak
- Shane Young vs. Calvin Kattar
Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma by technical knockout at 3:53 of the first round
- Dong Hyun Ma vs. Nick Hein
- Devonte Smith vs. David Teymur
Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey
Jimmy Crute def. Sam Alvey by TKO at 2:49 of the first round
Jimmy Crute earned another stoppage inside the Octagon. After cracking and dropping Sam Alvey on the feet, he poured on some ground-and-pound until the referee stopped the fight. Alvey thought the stoppage came too quickly, but he was offering up little more than a thumbs-up to the ref.
Alvey may have a point that he wasn't knocked out, but he doesn't have an argument he was offering up the most intelligent defense. His complaints aside, the result of the fight is a loss. If he looks to stay in the light heavyweight division, there are a few options.
Hu Yaozong would be the best option. Both fighters have dropped two recent bouts, and it would guarantee one gets back in the win column.
Crute has earned himself a top-15 opponent.
Although he is coming off a recent loss, No 9-ranked contender Ilir Latifi should be the choice. Crute needs a stiff test. Latifi's strength, power and grappling offer those threats. If Crute can get another stoppage win, then we are looking at a new contender in the 205-pound ranks.
Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem
Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem via submission (armbar) at 2:37 of the second round
To say this was a mismatch may be an understatement. Montana De La Rosa dominated Nadia Kassem from start to finish.
Sarah Frota will be moving up to flyweight soon after her loss to Livia Renata Souza. That's a good fight for Kassem, and it could quite possibly be a loser-leaves type of fight after the recent performance.
De La Rosa is already the No. 14-ranked contender in the division. This lopsided result should net her a ranked foe in her next outing. During media day, De La Rosa told reporters she wanted Paige VanZant next.
That makes a lot of sense. Book it.
Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Rani Yahya finally got ranked and got a PPV fight. And he lost. Ricky Simon refused to fall into any of Yahya's traps and cruised to a unanimous-decision victory.
Yahya is still immensely fun to watch, but as a one-dimensional fighter without elite athleticism, he will be a staple of undercards from this point out. Guido Cannetti is coming off a loss, and the two have never met before. It's a good low-stakes fight for a Fight Night undercard.
Simon didn't blow anyone away at UFC 234, but his workmanlike performance keeps him moving forward in the division.
A lot of the ranked fighters are either booked or injured. Does the UFC put Simon against an unranked opponent after his big win? It's possible, but the promotion should wait until after UFC 235. No. 11-ranked Cody Stamann battles No. 12-ranked Alejandro Perez. Take the winner and place him opposite Simon.
Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Mariano
Lando Vannata def. Marcos Mariano via submission (kimura) at 4:55 of the first round
Marcos Mariano did little to impress in his co-main event feature against Lando Vannata. Throw him against fellow UFC 234 loser Callan Potter and see if he can offer up anything more than what he brought on Saturday.
As for Vannata, give him his wish.
In the post-fight interview, Vannata called for a fight against Jim Miller. That is a fight that makes perfect sense, and there is no reason it shouldn't happen.
Neither Miller or Vannata is in a position to go after high-profile ranked opponents, and this is a fun matchup that would fit in nicely on nearly any fight card. It's a great call-out because it will generate interest and be loads of fun. The UFC needs to listen to its fighter on this one.
Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Israel Adesanya did what he needed to do against Anderson Silva. He only lacked the finish.
Perhaps the biggest thing that came out of the fight was Silva's performance. While he never looked like a top contender, Silva performed well enough to inspire some confidence in future fights. It was a win-win for the fighters and the UFC.
Unfortunately, there just are not a lot of options. Per ESPN.com's Chamatkar Sandhu, Dana White is interested in a third fight with Chris Weidman. After a clean KO and a freak leg injury in their previous two fights, I am not sure who other than White wants a third.
Perhaps the best option is a fight against Uriah Hall. It would almost ensure another stand-up battle and give fans a fight they want to see but have yet to experience.
As for Adesanya, give him Robert Whittaker.
There may be some fans who stand firm that Kelvin Gastelum should get the title fight. After all, he was scheduled to fight for the belt at UFC 234 until Whittaker had to pull out. But things change. Adesanya is the more enticing option for Whittaker.
It's a more fan-pleasing fight, and it likely does a bit more business for the UFC. Fans are into Adesanya. Gastelum isn't a draw. Why force the fight? Would that be awful for Gastelum? Yes, but life isn't fair.
Adesanya earned a title shot with his win over Silva, and he should get it. That is the middleweight title fight people truly want to see.