I think it’s safe to say that no one expected UFC 257 to unfold the way that it did. With several massive favorites falling to the underdogs, this was truly a night to remember as a mixed martial arts fan. Michael Chandler stayed true to his word in that he is in the UFC for a good time not a long time with a statement knockout of Dan Hooker. And who could forget, Dustin Poirier reminded Conor McGregor that MMA doesn’t stop evolving with his masterful performance and victory.
Marina Rodriguez vs Claudia Gadelha
Opening up the main card, Marina Rodriguez made a statement in her victory over the rising star Amanda RIbas. The fight started out strong for Ribas as she took it the ground and worked her Jiu-Jitsu, but Rodrigues was able to survive and land several clean shots that put away Amanda. With a great performance like that, it’s only fair that Marina Rodriguez receives a higher ranked opponent for her next fight, and I think this should be Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha does not currently have a fight booked she has already fought multiple women inside the top 5, and this matchup was close to happening last year but ended up being cancelled.
Makhmud Muradov vs Brad Tavares
Makhmud Muradov had a solid striking performance last night where he out struck Andrew Sanchez and eventually threw an overhand right that landed flush and led to a fight ending sequence. Brad Tavares also had a great performance last night on the prelims as he showed his strong striking and clinch work. With both of these fighters coming off of great performances, and considering they are very close in the rankings, I think this is the fight to make.
Joanne Calderwood vs Cynthia Calvillo 2
Joanne Calderwood found her way back in the win column Saturday night with a strong performance against Jessica “Evil” Eye. Calderwood started somewhat slow as Jessica Eye pushed clinch situations but as the fight went on Calderwood was able to land solid punches, knees, and front kicks that would put her ahead on the judges’ scorecards. With Calderwood obtaining a victory after her upset loss in 2020, she’s definitely back in the title contender picture, but I don’t think she’s ready for that just yet. A good test for her in my opinion would be a rematch with Cynthia Calvillo. Calderwood lost the first fight and now both women are right on the cusp of being in the top 3 and a win for Calderwood would definitely push her to the top.
Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler
The final fight that I think should be made from UFC 257 is between the winners of the Co-main and Main event, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler. Both fighters showed incredibly high fight IQ’s with the adjustments they made in their fights and as a result both defeated their opponents by TKO. With Khabib’s return looking less likely by the day, I think it is time to have a fight for the vacant belt so that the division is not held up. Dustin has more than made his claim for the belt and is the number one contender in the lightweight division. While Michael Chandler does not have the UFC resumé that Poirier has, his success in Bellator speaks volumes of his capability, as he has several wins over former UFC champions.
All I know is that it is a great time to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts and we are being spoiled by the PPV lineup for the first quarter. Let me know what you think of my picks and tell me what matches you think should be made!