Written by Dillon Louw (@TheMMA_Arsenal) — June 17th 2020
On Saturday, June 6th, the UFC put on yet another jaw dropping showcase of fights. The greatest female to ever step foot in the octagon defended her throne by outclassing challenger Felicia Spencer. Some of the best bantamweight fighters on the planet vyed for pecking order. This card, after receiving backlash on social media, proved to be one of the best of the year thus far with it’s combination of devastating knockouts and back-and-forth battles.
Now that the dust has settled after this amazing pay-per-view event, it’s time to take a look at what is next for the athletes who performed:
UFC veteran and inaugural WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland suffered a first-round knockout at the hands of “Suga” Sean O’Malley. A potential matchup for Wineland following this defeat could be against fellow UFC 250 competitor Brian Kelleher. This would make for an intriguing matchup as both fighters will be looking to bounce back following their setbacks at UFC 250. On paper, Kelleher should have the upperhand on the ground and Wineland should get the better of the striking exchanges. A win for either fighter would place them just outside of the top 15.
Anthony Rocco Martin
Martin came up short against Neil Magny via a close decision after a very competitive fight. This loss will see Martin’s UFC record slide to 9–6–0. Niko Price comes to mind as a possible next opponent. This would make for a compelling matchup stylistically. Martin, a brazillian jiu-jitsu black belt, would come up against Price, a brown belt in jiu-jitsu with some of the most unorthodox knockouts in the UFC. The winner of this one will be on the brink of the top 15 in the welterweight division.
Colorado native Cory Sandhagen became the next victim of Aljamain Sterling by way of rear-naked choke in the first round. This matchup with Sterling exposed the lack of experience Sandhagen has when fighting guys with offensive wrestling. Cody Stamann, a winner on the UFC 250 undercard, could be a tough matchup for Sandhagen in that regard. Another camp centred around an opponent with an offensive wrestling style could prove to be pivotal in Sandhagen’s progression as one of the top bantamweights in the world. If the Elevation Fight Team product could get a win over Stamann, it would show improvements in his ability to combat that style of opponent after being taken down in each of his previous UFC fights.
Assuncao, a UFC veteran, is now on a 3 fight losing streak after his buzzer-beating knockout loss to Cody Garbrandt. The brazilian native has been in the upper echelon of the bantamweight division since its inception in the UFC. A matchup against the loser of the upcoming bout between Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz would make sense for Assuncao. The UFC veteran is moving towards the back end of his career and has shared the octagon with some of the biggest names the division has ever known. A win over either of these opponents would be a worthwhile feather in the cap of Assuncao.
Canadian Felicia Spencer got outclassed by the best female fighter in the history of the sport. It was a difficult matchup for Spencer but she undoubtedly proved that she is one of the toughest women in the UFC and showed sheer heart in her title fight loss. With the women’s 145 lb. division being one of the more shallow in the organization, it’s difficult to find a compelling matchup for Spencer. However, a rematch with Megan Anderson, whose last loss came at the hands of Spencer, could make sense. Although Spencer just received her title shot, this rematch will prove to be a number one contender fight in the featherweight division.
‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in the sport. He has the personality, the looks, and most importantly, the talent to become the future of the bantamweight division. Sean O’Malley disposed of his last 2 opponents in the first round, and it’s evident that a step-up in competition should be next. However, it is important that the UFC doesn’t give O’Malley too much, too soon. We have seen them do this time and time again (See: Darren Till). For that reason, a compelling matchup for ‘Suga’ is one against Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, who has been replaced by O’Malley in the bantamweight rankings, and has shown a fair bit of animosity toward his new rival. This matchup could test O’Malley’s abilities on the ground. ‘Suga’ proclaims to be the best striker in MMA, but he also believes he has a high-level jiu-jitsu game. This matchup with Vera could give us insight into O’Malley’s diversity as a mixed martial artist. A win over ‘Chito’ will lead to O’Malley drawing a top 10 opponent in his following fight.
Magny, a UFC veteran of 7 years with a 16–6–0 record in the organization, beat Anthony Martin in a close 3 round fight. This win has propelled Magny back into the welterweight rankings. A matchup against Vicente Luque makes sense here, with both fighters in the top 15, looking to climb the ladder. Both men are tough as nails, so this one will most definitely be a contender for fight of the night, regardless of the competition. A win for either could kickstart a run to the upper echelon of the division.
‘Aljo’ comfortably disposed of Cory Sandhagen in their highly-anticipated showdown. This has cemented Sterling as the number 1 contender, and improves his winning streak to 5 fights. Although it is argued that the ‘Funk Master’ should have gotten a shot at the vacant belt, rather than José Aldo, he will without a doubt fight the winner of the vacant title fight between Aldo and Petr Yan.
Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt, overcame his 3 fight skid with a buzzer-beater knockout of Raphael Assuncao. ‘No Love’, having added Mark Henry to his corner, initiated his own resurrection. The former champion should fight number 1 ranked bantamweight Marlon Moraes next. This will be a very tough matchup for Cody, as Moraes, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked fighters in the division. He poses big problems for Garbrandt, as he is a very technical striker and won’t get stuck in a brawl. Although Garbrandt fought Assuncao with more composure than any of his recent bouts, it will be difficult for him to beat Moraes at his own game. The winner of this matchup will be next in line for a title shot after Aljamain Sterling gets his opportunity.
‘The Lioness’ now on an 11 fight win streak spanning over 5 years and continues to seem unbeatable. She disposed of Felicia Spencer with ease, beating her in all facets of the fight and bullying her around the cage. This win has made Amanda the first female to successfully defend titles in two weight classes. Amanda announced she will be taking a hiatus for the birth of her first child that she is expecting with her long time girlfriend, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff. There are no matchups right now that make sense for Amanda, therefore I am thankful for the hiatus she is taking as this will allow some time for future contenders to stake their claim.
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