Fights to Make After UFC Vegas 9: Overeem vs. Sakai

This card took a pretty bad whooping from the Coronavirus, cutting the fight card down to a measly seven fights.

The fighters stepped up, though, and we saw some fantastic performances. Afterwards, we’re stuck asking ourselves… what’s next for the victors? Well I’m here to try to play matchmaker for our main card winners and see what fights could (and should) be on the horizon!

Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik 2 (HW)

Overeem continued his mean winning streak with an early fifth round TKO over Augusto Sakai, overwhelming him with ground and pound after succeeding on all three of his takedowns. He once again had to come back from adversity, as Sakai was taking it to the veteran and was likely up on the scorecards with the first two rounds before Overeem started to let his grappling flow, but overall showed improved defense and durability. Stipe Miocic currently holds the belt that Overeem wants, with Francis Ngannou likely slated for the next title shot, while Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis are set to lock horns for number one contender status. If Overeem wants a title shot, he needs at least one more win and a rematch against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who bested him in the last seconds of their match last year that saw Overeem ahead on the scorecards, could get his name right up there.

Ovince St. Preux vs. Misha Cirkunov (LHW)

OSP’s return to his usual stomping grounds of Light Heavyweight proved successful as he found a stellar knockout for his highlight reel over Alonzo Menifield. This reestablishes the veteran right outside of the rankings and a shot at one last run for the 37-year-old is not necessarily out of the question. He has the right division to do it, as the prospect list at Light Heavyweight is not exactly overwhelming. Misha Cirkunov is one of few fighters in the top 15 without a match booked and allow OSP the shot to regain his footing as more than a prize fighter.

Michel Pereira vs. Warlley Alves (WW)

Pereira dominated Zelim Imadaev over fourteen minutes before a late submission in the last thirty seconds of the bout. Pereira addressed his gas tank issues and kept his flashy style while mixing in his fundamentals and displaying his grappling, which has not really been seen in the UFC (if only for thirty seconds). Octagon veteran Warlley Alves has not competed since being submitted by Randy Brown, and presents an interesting test for the relatively new-to-the-UFC Pereira, especially with his ground game and durability.

Andre Muniz vs. Zak Cummings (MW)

Andre Muniz scored his second UFC win and first UFC finish by submitting Bartosz Fabinski in the first round with an armbar. Muniz demonstrated his dangerous jiu jitsu off of his back, nearly finishing a guillotine as well. As he looks to step up the Middleweight ladder, a match against vet Zak Cummings looks good for Muniz. It tests his transitions and striking prowess against a tried and true opponent, who just won a unanimous decision last weekend.

Brian Kelleher vs. Ricky Simon (BW)

Brian Kelleher’s vicious guillotine once again came into play, tapping his second late replacement opponent Ray Rodriguez less than a minute into the fight. This was the tenth submission of his career and his seventh by guillotine. Though this match was contested at Featherweight, Kelleher is a true Bantamweight and his loss to prospect Cody Stamann should not dismiss him from the rankings opportunity he sought with Ricky Simon. Reschedule it.

Viviane Araujo vs. Joanne Calderwood (FLW)

Araujo got herself back in the win column with a unanimous decision over Montana De La Rosa. She utilized improved cardio and versatile striking, showcasing her jab and power overhand, while not gassing out in the third as she did in her previous fights. This will likely serve to move her higher up the Flyweight ladder, a division not particularly known for its number of contenders, and get her close to a shot at that crown. Joanne Calderwood seems to be in a similar spot, only needing one or two wins to get back in the title picture after an armbar loss to Jennifer Maia.

Next weekend, we have a five-round showdown between Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill, adorned with a plethora of prospects!

See you then!

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