UFC on ESPN 9: Woodley vs. Burns has come and gone and was one of the best cards of the year so far. A former champion got dominated and a lot of newer fighters made names for themselves.
Here are some fight matchups to make for some of the winners and losers of the night.
Burns put on the performance of his life against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. He dominated him from bell to bell. With his dominant performance against the No. 1 contender, there is an argument that Burns should get a title shot against teammate and champion Kamaru Usman. While this is the most fun the welterweight division has ever been, there is a complete log jam taking place. Jorge Masvidal wants to fight Nate Diaz, Leon Edwards is stuck in London, Colby Covington wants a rematch with Usman, it is a mess. Burns wants to fight Usman, but I think he will and should fight Covington for the No. 1 contender.
Woodley did not look good in his fight with Burns. He just looked defeated. There is reason to believe his focus is elsewhere with Hollywood, music, and his TMZ work. No one really knows other than himself, but retirement might be in the cards. If he wants to continue to fight, a rematch with Robbie Lawler would make sense.
Sakai stole a win from Blagoy Ivanov. Sakai blatantly grabbed the fence which stopped an Ivanov takedown. Sakai is undefeated in the UFC and is tied with Francis Ngannou with a four-fight winning streak in the heavyweight division. Sakai came into the fight ranked No. 13 and said during his post-fight interview that he wants to fight anyone ahead of him in the rankings. A fight against No. 9 Walt Harris makes sense for both fighters. Harris is coming off a loss against Alistair Overeem and needs a win against a contender to keep his spot. Sakai needs another win to get into the top 10.
Quarantillo survived an absolutely crazy first round from Spike Carlyle and won a unanimous decision. Quarantillo is on a seven-fight winning streak and is 2-0 in the UFC. His next fight is going to be a step up in competition for sure as he can handle it. I think a fight against recent winner Nate Landwehr would be a fun and competitive fight.
Carlyle doesn’t lose much in his loss to Quarantillo. Carlyle is going to be a fan favorite for many years. He is wild, fun, and exciting. A fight against Charles Rosa, who most recently lost against Bryce Mitchell makes sense for Carlyle.
Roberts is now on a two-fight winning streak and looks good. He submitted Brok Weaver in the second round. At 4-1 in the UFC, Roberts knows exactly who he wants next, Matt Frevola. Frevola has a date with Frank Camacho later in June, so the timing might just be perfect.
Dern was getting lit up on the feet before her opponent Hannah Cifers decided to go to the ground. Dern quickly locked up a leg lock submitting Cifers. She was the first woman to get a win via leg lock in the UFC, a very nice accomplishment. Dern says she wants to get back in the octagon as soon as possible, so a fight against Angela Hill who also wants to get back makes sense. Hill might be a little too much for Dern, especially stand up wise but she wants to continue to evolve as a fighter.
Chookagian has taken on both of the Shevchenko sisters in a three-month time span. She might have lost against Valentina, but she completely beat down Antonina – it wasn’t even a competitive fight. Chookagian was just too much too soon for Antonina. The women’s flyweight division is pretty tied up at the moment with most of the top five booked with fights. Chookagian has also beaten most of the top five as well. She needs another dominant win to get back into title contention. If Jessica Eye gets past Cynthia Calvillo next month, a rematch would make sense for another possible title shot.
Hill kept his undefeated streak alive as he beat Klidson Abreu via TKO. Hill has only had two fights in the UFC, but has already made his presence felt and has looked good doing it. A step up in competition is what is next for Hill. A fight against UFC veteran Paul Craig would be a great test and would continue his climb up the rankings if he were to win.
In his UFC debut Royval submitted No. 11 ranked flyweight Tim Elliot. Royval said he was disappointed in his performance but there was nothing disappointing about it. He will be ranked on Monday and I would guess he might even break the top 10. There are countless matchups for Royval but the one that would be fun and intriguing is New Zealand’s No. 7 Kai Kara France. A win would mean top five for both fighters.
Kenney made quick work of Louis Smolka submitting him the first round. He’s now 7-1 in his past eight fights and has only lost two times in six years. Kenney is a silent contender who can make some noise in the bantamweight division. A fight with Nathaniel Wood would be an exciting match up for Kenney.
Gutierrez absolutely put on a striking clinic against Vince Morales. He leg kicked him throughout the fight eventually finishing him via leg kick TKO in the second round. It was only the 11th leg kick TKO in UFC history. Gutierrez showed complete dominance and is now on a three-fight win streak. One of the names he called out was Andre Ewell and that fight makes complete sense. Both bantamweight fighters need two more fights before they are ranked and both fighters are very fun to watch.