Three UFC fight cards in a week have come and gone. The third event, UFC on ESPN 8: Overeem vs. Harris went down Saturday, May 16. The card was fun and had excellent fights. The card also had three very close, controversial decisions.
Here are some fight matchups to make for some of the winners and losers of the night.
Overeem was in a lose-lose situation coming into this fight. If he loses, his last chance title run would be over. If he beats Harris, he loses because he will look like the bad guy as Harris was fighting for his murdered daughter. Well, he beat Harris by surviving the first round and coming back dominating the second eventually stopping him. Overeem doesn’t have much left to prove other than winning a UFC title – the only title that has evaded him. One of the only fighters he hasn’t fought in the top 10 heavyweight division is No. 5 Derrick Lewis, which makes sense for him next.
Harris had the entire fight world cheering for him as this was his first fight back since the murder of his stepdaughter. Harris hurt Overeem in the first round, nearly finishing him. Harris got head kicked and then eventually couldn’t defend himself and the fight was called off. This loss was heartbreaking to say the least. Coming into the fight he was ranked No. 9, so he will probably be moved out of the top 10. A fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik makes sense as both men will be coming off losses.
Gadelha beat Angela Hill in a split decision. The fight was an exciting, high-paced back-and forth bout. First round went to Gadelha and the second went to Hill. It all came down to the third round where Gadelha edged the decision. She called for a Carla Esparza rematch – a fight that she won in 2018. The fight makes sense and should be made next.
Ige won a very close decision over the always dangerous Edson Barboza. Ige is on a six-fight win streak in a stacked featherweight division. He started the night at No. 15 and this win will probably move him up to No. 12. A fight against No. 9 Josh Emmett would be a great test and shot to get into the top 10.
Barboza’s first fight at featherweight was unfortunately spoiled in a razor thin decision. Barboza was ranked No. 11 in the lightweight division before he dropped down. Barboza is a UFC veteran with 23 fights but he is a fan favorite and is always a tough fight for anyone at any weight division. No one knows what his next move is going to be but he did look good at featherweight. If he decides to stay at featherweight, a fight against fellow UFC vet Cub Swanson makes sense.
Jotko vs. Eryk Anders was not the most exciting fight. Anders landed a few power shots on Jotko and controlled him against the cage. Jotko stuffed all of Anders takedowns and landed more significant strikes to take a unanimous decision. Jotko is now on a three-fight winning streak. Although he has lost every time he has faced someone in the top 15, Jotko keeps getting better. A fight against No. 15 Antônio Carlos Júnior would be an interesting matchup as it would show off Jotko’s grappling.
Yadong won a very close and controversial unanimous decision over Marlon Vera. Yadong is not a fun fight for anyone as he has a lot of power and he is only getting better. He is only 22 years old and has 22 professional fights. Starting at No. 14 in the bantamweight division, his win will push him up a few spots. A fight against No. 10 Rob Font might be on the horizon. Both fighters are tough and put on great fights. Yadong has not lost in nine in-cage appearances, however he went to a draw against Cody Stamann in December.
Vera lost a heartbreaker, Yadong snapped his five-fight winning streak. Vera could have very easily got the decision, but MMA judging is always all over the place. Vera’s stock does not drop much, he is exciting and is always willing to fight. Vera’s next fight should be against Sean O’Malley, a fight that has been scheduled before. Vera vs. O’Malley will be fireworks!
Baeza made a huge statement by knocking out Matt Brown. While it seemed like the UFC was feeding Brown to a hungry young lion, Brown held his own, even dropping Baeza. Baeza is undefeated at 8-0 and is an impressive prospect. A fight against fellow Brazilian Michel Pereira makes sense and would be a striking delight.
There isn’t much left for Brown to prove at 39 years old. While Brown is must-see television, he has retired once before and came back. He probably only has two or so fights left. If Carlos Condit still wants to compete, a fight with Brown would be long overdue.
Holland returned in quick impressive fashion. It only took 39 seconds for him to land a nasty knee to the body and finish Anthony Hernandez. Holland was vocal earlier in the week as he was willing to fill in and fight welterweight Marvin Vettori as his opponent pulled out last minute. Holland is very fun to watch, and his personality is infectious. He called out Mickey Gall after the fight, but I don’t think he will get that fight. UFC newcomer Puna Soriano sounds like a good fight for Holland.
Landwehr got his first win in the UFC in a complete blood bath. He sliced Darren Elkins open and from there on out, the fight will go down as one of the bloodiest of all time. Landwehr was also talking to Dana White throughout the fight while showboating. Landwehr definitely showed off his striking which was crisp. A fight against Makwan Amirkhani would be fun and a real test.
Here are some more fights to make:
- Angela Hill vs. No. 10 Cynthia Calvillo
- Eryk Anders vs. Brendan Allen
- Anthony Hernandez vs. Darren Stewart
- Giga Chikadze vs. Alex Caceres
- Darren Elkins vs. Andre Fili
- Courtney Casey vs. Ariane Lipski
- Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Chase Sherman