The UFC returned to the Apex and they brought another fantastic card. We got two new Ulitmate Fighter winners and banging main event, as well as some other memorable finishes. There were four knockouts/TKOs, three submissions, and five decisions.
Here are fights to make for the winners and losers of UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Chikadze.
Chikadze defeated UFC legend Edson Barboza via TKO in the second round. The Georgian fighter is now a legit contender in the featherweight division. He is riding a nine-fight win streak and is 7-0 in the UFC. He called out Max Holloway but he is going to have to wait for that fight. The fight that makes sense is Chikadze vs. The Korean Zombie. That fight is pure violence just like Barboza.
Battle submitted Gilbert Urbina to become the middleweight Ultimate Fighter. He was the last-picked fighter, and he proved everyone wrong. He is riding a five-fight winning streak. For his second UFC fight, I would like the UFC to run him and Tresean Gore back. It was supposed to be the finale, so it needs to happen.
Turcios defeated Brady Heistand via split decision to become the bantamweight Ultimate Fighter. Just like that, a star was born. Turcios had two of the best fights on the show, and he had an epic UFC debut. He has had quite the journey and is finally in the biggest fight promotion in the world. He should look to fight Johnny Munoz for his second fight, who just picked his first UFC win a couple of weeks ago.
Rodriguez picked up the biggest win of his career as he spoiled Kevin Lee’s return. ‘D-Rod’ has been on an absolute roll since coming into the UFC. He is 6-1 and honestly should be 7-0. With the win over Lee, he 100% deserves a ranked opponent next and possibly even be in the rankings on Tuesday. No. 10 ranked Geoff Neal would be an incredible fight for Rodriguez next. Neal is on a two-fight skid and needs to defend his spot against a hungry competitor.
Petroski defeated Michael Gilmore via TKO. Petroski was a semi-finalist in the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter, and he most likely earned himself another UFC fight and contract. Jack Marshman would be a good test for Petroski.
Meerschaert halted the hype of Makhmud Muradov when he submitted him in the second round. ‘GM3’ is now on a two-fight win streak. The MMA veteran deserves a big fight for his next one. I would love to see him rematch Kevin Holland down the line, but for his next fight, he should look to fight Puna Soriano, who just suffered his first professional loss.
Abdul Razak Alhassan
It only took 17 seconds for Alhassan to finish Alessio Di Chirico with a violent head kick. There aren’t many times that I actively root for someone to win, but if you know Alhassan’s story, you have to root for him. Two years of his prime were stolen from him, came back, and lost three straight fights. Well, he is back in the win column. He keeps his 100% finish rate, with all of them coming in the first round. Insane. Trevin Giles would be a fun fight for him next. Giles just had his winning streak snapped.
Turman defeated Sam Alvey via split decision in a sloppy forgettable fight. Turman more than likely gave Alvey his walking papers. The Brazilian snapped his skid and saved his job. He should look to fight Dustin Stoltzfus in his next fight.
Jacoby finished Darren Stewart in the first round via TKO. Since returning to the UFC, Jacoby has been on a roll, winning all of his fights, minus a draw in his last fight. He is very close to getting a top 15 opponent, but I think he is one fight away. Jacoby should Da Un Jung next, and the winner of that fight should get a ranked opponent or even break into the top 15.
Aldrich spoiled Vanessa Demopoulos’ UFC debut by defeating her via unanimous decision. After moving up to flyweight and going 1-2, Aldrich has finally hit her stride, winning two straight. The UFC rebook Aldrich vs. Tracy Cortez.
Sabatini submitted Jamall Emmers in the first round via heel hook. It is no secret that Sabatini should have been in the UFC a few years ago. He is elite. He is now on a four-fight win streak since his gruesome arm injury, winning his first two UFC fights. Darrick Minner is a name Sabatini should look to fight next. Minner is coming off a loss to Darren Elkins.
Martinez was victorious in his UFC debut as he defeated Guido Cannetti via split decision. Since losing on season four of Dana White’s Contender Series, ‘Manaboi’ is now riding a three-fight win streak. He also snapped his 100% finish rate. His head coach died suddenly during the end of his fight camp, which was looming over him. For his next fight, he should look to fight Khalid Taha, who will be looking to get back into the win column.
Edson Barboza – Dan Ige
Gilbert Urbina – Outside of the UFC
Brady Heistand – Outside of the UFC or Drako Rodriguez
Kevin Lee – Max Griffin
Micheal Gillmore – Outside of the UFC
Makhmud Muradov – Rodolfo Vieira
Alessio Di Chirico – Roman Dolidze – rebook
Sam Alvey – Outside of the UFC
Darren Stewart – Outside of the UFC
Vanessa Demopoulos – Diana Belbita
Jamall Emmers – Collin Anglin
Guido Cannetti – Outside of the UFC