After a week off, the UFC returned to the Apex, and they brought a 14-fight card. A few prospects were brought to the forefront of people’s attention, while a few fighters might have had their last UFC fight for now. There were five KO/TKOs, two submissions, six decisions, and one draw.
Here are fights to make for the winners and losers of UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann
In his eighth main event, Smith finished Ryann Spann in the first round. Okay, let me get something off my chest. Everyone wants to belittle, count out or just say Anthony Smith sucks because he lost to GOAT, Glover Teixeira, and Aleksander Rakic. STOP IT. Smith is an elite light heavyweight, and people hate to admit it. He knows it, the hardcore fans know it, and the UFC knows it. Okay, so after a rocky 2020, he is now on a three-fight win streak. Smith called for a rematch with Rakic, which makes sense, but I would also like to see him fight Dominick Reyes.
Cutelaba dominated Devin Clark to win a unanimous decision. Cutelaba was fighting for his job, and he showed up, snapping his two-fight losing streak. He is currently 5-5-1 in the UFC but is always fun to watch. Kennedy Nzechukwu is a good next match-up for him.
Lipski spoiled Mandy Bohm’s UFC debut by winning via unanimous decision. Lipski desperately needed a win, and she got it, dominantly. The Brazilian snapped her second two-fight losing streak and saved her job. With most of the division matched up, she should fight the loser of Mariya Agapova vs. Sabina Mazo.
Tsarukyan finished Christos Giagos in a little over two minutes. Tsarukyan wanted and needed his first UFC finish, and he sure got it. It has been said that Tsarukyan is one of the biggest prospects in the UFC lightweight division, and it’s true. He is a real problem. 4-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming to Islam Makhachev on very short notice. Tsarukyan has been calling for a fight with Dan Hooker, and I hope that happens in 2022. Until then, he should fight Gregor Gillespie, with a chance to get into the top 10.
After almost getting finished in round one, Maness came back to knock Tony Gravely out in the second round in an awesome fight. Maness is 4-0 in the UFC and is not talked about enough in the bantamweight division. I think he deserves a big fight after his win over Gravely, which is why I am giving him Raoni Barcelos. Banger alert.
Buckley knocked out Antonio Arroyo in the third round. “New Mansa” got back into the win column after being knocked out in January, which halted his momentum. Buckley has five fights in the UFC and has knocked out all of his opponents, or he has got finished himself; he is must-watch television. There are many fun matchups for him, but the one that sticks out is Puna Soriano, who is coming off his first loss.
Nchukwi dominated Mike Rodriguez to win an easy unanimous decision. It was a great bounce-back performance after suffering his first professional loss back in May. Moving back to light heavyweight was the best decision he could have made as he looked healthy and powerful. “Da Don” should fight William Knight next. It would be a rematch from the regional scene in which Knight believed it was an early stoppage.
Pennington snapped Pannie Kianzad’s four-fight win streak by defeating her via unanimous decision. Pennington got back to her winning ways after serving her six-month suspension. “Rocky” was ranked No. 5 before she was removed from the bantamweight rankings, so she might get that number back come Tuesday. However, she has fought just about all of the top contenders in her division, so matching her up is tough. Pennington could definitely step in on short notice and fight Irene Aldana at UFC 268, but I was thinking of a fight with the winner of Meisha Tate vs. Ketlen Vieira next.
Rongzhu spoiled Brandon Jenkins’ UFC debut as he picked up a unanimous decision win. Rongzhu picked up his first UFC win after he had his 10-fight win streak snapped in April. Unfortunately, the Chinese fighter missed weight, so hopefully, he will get that figured out next time he steps in the octagon. Rafael Alves would be a fun fight for his next outing.
Jackson defeated JP Buys, spoiling his bantamweight debut. I have said Jackson is one of the brightest prospects in a ridiculously stacked division. He is now 5-2 in the UFC, with his only losses coming to Ricky Simon in his UFC debut and Brett Johns last year. Jackson should fight Casey Kenney in his next outing. Kenney is coming off a loss to Song Yadong.
Erin “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield has finally arrived. She demolished Sarah Alpar to win a dominant unanimous decision. At just 22-years old, Blanchfield is the future of women’s MMA. The only loss of her career is a very questionable split decision loss to Tracy Cortez. Speaking of Cortez, they should rematch. Cortez is undefeated in the UFC and is close to the top 15 rankings.
Harris handed Impa Kasanganay his second UFC loss via TKO. After years of grinding on the regional scene, Harris has made the absolute most of his UFC career thus far. Two UFC fights, two first-round finishes, and he is riding a five-fight win streak. Khaos Williams would be an amazing fight for Harris next. Williams is coming off a win over Matthew Semlesberger.
Gustavo Lopez & Alatengheili
Lopez and Alatengheili fought to a unanimous draw after a fence grab by the Chinese fighter. Alatengheili was most likely on his way to a decision win before he was docked a point. I think they should just run it back with a rematch.
Goldy defeated Emily Whitmire via first-round submission. Goldy saved her job and picked up her first UFC win after going through some adversity. For her next fight, she should fight Ji Yeon Kim, who is coming off a loss to Molly McCann.
Ryan Spann – Dustin Jacoby
Devin Clark – Ed Herman
Mandy Bohm – Poliana Botelho
Christos Giagos – Matt Frevola
Tony Gravely – Mana Martinez
Antônio Arroyo – Outside of the UFC
Mike Rodriguez – Aleksa Camur (loser gets cut)
Pannie Kianzad – Macy Chiasson vs. Aspen Ladd loser
Brandon Jenkins – Austin Hubbard
JP Buys – Kevin Natividad (loser gets cut)
Sarah Alpar – Outside of the UFC
Impa Kasanganay – Phil Rowe
Emily Whitmire – Outside of the UFC