5 Fights We Need to See After UFC Fight Night 206
UFC Fight Night 206 went down on Saturday night in Las Vegas. It certainly wasn't a Card of the Year contender, but it was a decent night of fights and one that set up several interesting matchup options.
Headlining honors for the card went to former bantamweight champion Holly Holm and long-time contender Ketlen Vieira. The two women battled for five razor-close rounds and enjoyed some big moments, with Vieira ultimately winning a debatable split decision.
The UFC Fight Night 206 co-headliner also ended with a split decision, as Brazil's Michel Pereira defeated Argentina's Santiago Ponzinibbio in a three-round welterweight fight.
Other big winners of the night included Chidi Njokuani, who knocked Dusko Todorovic with an elbow in the first round, and his fellow middleweight Joseph Holmes, who defeated Eryk Anders by split decision.
Keep scrolling for the fights we're hoping to see for the stars of the card.
Ketlen Vieira vs. Raquel Pennington
After UFC Fight Night 206, Brazil's Ketlen Vieira is riding back-to-back decision wins over former UFC bantamweight champions Miesha Tate and Holly Holm.
That streak could be enough to get the No. 5 women's bantamweight contender a crack at the winner of a title rematch between Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes, which was recently announced for UFC 277 on July 30. On the other hand, the memories of Vieira's decision loss to Yana Kunitskaya and first-round knockout loss to Irene Aldana are still pretty fresh, so let's hold off on that for a little while.
Instead, let's match Vieira up with former title challenger Raquel Pennington. She clocks in at No. 4 and is riding a longer win streak, with victories over Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad, Macy Chiasson and Aspen Ladd.
It might not be the best bantamweight fight we've ever seen—neither woman has a particularly impressive highlight reel—but it's the one that makes sense right now. Throw it on a Fight Night main card and give the winner a title shot.
Holly Holm vs. Lina Lansberg
Holly Holm is unlikely to lose much ground after her split decision loss to Ketlen Vieira, as it was a very competitive fight. It's hard to imagine her becoming a champion again, but Holm's spot near the top of the bantamweight rankings seems pretty stable for now since she's already beaten a great many of the contenders ranked below her.
Provided the 40-year-old is keen to continue fighting, we'd like to see her matched up with Sweden's Lina Lansberg, who is currently sitting at No. 12 in the rankings after decision losses to Sara McMann and Pannie Kianzad.
It's admittedly a bit of a step down, but Holm has earned one after spending the entirety of her UFC career fighting the best opposition available.
Lansberg is also one of the few women in the bantamweight Top 15 who is unlikely to try to grapple with Holm. Instead, the "Elbow Queen" would probably be happy to engage the former boxing champ in a stand-up fight, which would be a treat for fans for striking enthusiasts.
Michel Pereira vs. Geoff Neal
Michel Pereira has a wealth of exciting matchup options at his fingertips. After defeating No. 14 ranked welterweight contender Santiago Ponzinibbio by split decision in the UFC on Fight Night 206 co-headliner, the Brazilian will most likely debut in the rankings himself, where a host of fresh opponents await.=
Pereira called for a fight with Jorge Masvidal in his post-fight interview. That's a great idea in theory, but let's face it: Masvidal likely thinks himself too big a star to take on a newcomer like Pereira and is currently facing charges of aggravated assault and criminal mischief after allegedly attacking Colby Covington in March.
It would be a better idea to match Pereira up with No. 12-ranked welterweight contender Geoff Neal. The American is a vicious knockout puncher, and he and Pereira match up beautifully on paper. And as an added bonus, he's also riding a split-decision win over Ponzinibbio, so he's in a very similar position to his Brazilian rival. It makes all the sense in the world.
Chidi Njokuani vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Chidi Njokuani picked up a beautiful first-round knockout win over Dusko Todorovic on the UFC Fight Night 206 main card. With that victory, he's now 2-0 in the UFC, having also flattened Canada's Marc-Andre Barriault in just 16 seconds in his Octagon debut in February.
From here, we would like to see the kickboxing specialist matched up with Ronda Rousey's protege, Edmen Shahbazyan. The 24-year-old Armenian American is currently ranked No. 15 at middleweight.
On the surface, that looks like too big a step up for a fighter with just two UFC bouts, but Shahbazyan is riding three-straight losses—all of them decisive—and probably won't be getting a ranked foe next time out anyway.
The real appeal of this fight, though, is that Shahbazyan is one of just a few middleweights on the roster with the striking to hang with Njokuani. Contrary to his recent losses, he's an absolute sniper on the feet, and he and Njokuani would most likely put on quite a show.
Joseph Holmes vs. Junyong Park
Chidi Njokuani wasn't the only middleweight to pick up a quick win at UFC Fight Night 206. Earlier in the evening, Joseph Holmes defeated Macedonia's Alen Amedovski by first-round submission with a rear-naked choke.
With the win, Holmes is now 1-1 in the UFC. It remains to be seen how far he can go, but there's no denying he's got a nasty ground game, and his striking looks decent, too.
From here, we'd like to see him matched up with South Korea's Jungyon Park. Park was also in action at UFC Fight Night 206, picking up a split decision win over former American football player Eryk Anders. Park is 4-2 in the UFC and has quite a bit more big-stage experience than Holmes, but he is also 1-1 in his last two.
Pit them against each other on another fight night undercard and see which guy can take things to the next level with another big win.