(Photo courtesy of MMAJunkie/USAToday/Kevin Jairaj)
UFC 228 is in the books and futures were paved for a number of fighters. Newcomers became must-see prospects and prospects turned into top contenders in this action packed night of fights. Below, I take a look at a few fights that I feel need to happen for winning fighters on the card.
-Tyron Woodley vs Colby Covington
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley put on the most dominant performance in his run as title holder when he defeated the young, undefeated Darren Till to retain his title in the UFC 228 main event. After an uneventful first round, which saw both fighters being tentative to engage, Woodley opened the second round with a devastating counter right hand that dropped his opponent. The champ proceeded to follow up with a series of vicious strikes on the ground before forcing Till to tap to a D’arce choke.
With 4 title defenses under his belt since winning the title against Robbie Lawler, Woodley is on his way to cementing his status as one of great welterweights of all time. His next fight may already be determined with former interim champion Colby Covington still waiting for his shot at Woodley’s championship. The clash of wrestling styles will be interesting to watch, as Woodley uses his for defensive purposes while Colby loves to pressure his opponents with his wrestling. Will Woodley succumb to the pressure or add Covington to his already impressive resumé?
-Jessica Andrade vs Rose Namajunas
Jessica Andrade made the biggest statement of her career in the co-main event of UFC 228 Saturday night when she floored fellow former title contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz with just one punch in the opening round. Showing shades of vintage Wanderlei Silva, Andrade pressured Karolina early with a barrage of hooks to the head and body before a big right hook finally ended the fight with no follow up punches required.
With 3 straight victories over top contenders since losing her first title shot to then champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Andrade has more than proved that she is ready for another chance at gold once again against champion Rose Namajunas. Andrade’s aggressive pressure striking versus Rose’s length and technical striking/grappling will make for quite an entertaining title fight whenever it occurs.
-Aljamain Sterling vs Jimmie Rivera
Two top level bantamweight contenders who were both victorious this past weekend were Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. Sterling defeated young prospect Cody Stamman with a rare Suloev Stretch submission hold, putting him on a 2–fight win streak. Later in the night, Rivera went on to get a unanimous decision victory over John Dodson using aggressive punches and kicks while pressuring the elusive fighter. With that, Rivera rebounds off his previous loss to Marlon Moraes while also being victorious in 20 of his last 21 fights.
Following his victory over Stamman on the prelims of UFC 228, Sterling used his post fight interview to call out the eventual winner of the Rivera/Dodson fight. Since Rivera had no particular name in mind after his win, and Sterling and proved he is ready for another contender fight, I feel these two fighters make for a very intriguing matchup in the UFC Bantamweight division. A win for either man can very easily put them in the stacked title picture at 135 lbs.
Next fights for remaining UFC 228 Fighters
-Darren Till vs Robbie Lawler or move up to 185
-Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Carla Esparza
-Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Mirsad Bektic
-Brandon Davis vs Daniel Teymur
-John Dodson vs Bryan Caraway
-Abdul Razak Al-Hassan vs Yushin Okami
-Niko Price vs Peter Sobotta
-Tatiana Suarez vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
-Cody Stamman vs Rob Font
-Geoff Neal vs Danny Roberts
-Frank Camacho vs Sabah Homasi
-Darren Stewart vs Alessio di Chirico
-Charles Byrd vs Markus Perez
-Diego Sanchez vs Tony Martin
-Craig White vs Diego Lima/Chad Laprise loser
-Jim Miller vs Carlos Diego Ferreira
-Alex White vs Andrew Holbrook
-Irene Aldana vs Aspen Ladd
-Lucie Pudilova vs Sara McMann
-Jarred Brooks vs Alex Perez
-Roberto Sanchez vs Eric Shelton