Everyone can exhale, because the UFC's quartet of events in a single week is finally complete. UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites was a delight for the Scottish fans who experienced a live UFC card for the very first time. Michael Bisping captured a split decision win over the Brazilian in what I thought was an entertaining fight, while Evan Dunham proved doubters (such as myself) wrong and got a dominant win over Ross Pearson in the co-main event.
With the fights out of the way, it's time to look at what's in store for the main card winners from yesterday's event. Next week we'll return to including all of the main card fighters, as is the standard for the big UFC PPVs and FOX shows.
Michael Bisping. The way the fight played out, Bisping showed he's still a very good fighter and also demonstrated that he's not at a competitive level with the likes of Romero, Jacare, or Rockhold (whom he lost to already). That sort of leaves him stuck in a gatekeeper-ish role, and that's perfectly fine. If Gegard Mousasi beats Roan Carneiro, Bisping vs. Mousasi easily headlines a Fight Pass show. It was also suggested to me on Twitter that Bisping fight Robert Whittaker, which as weird as it sounds, is a genuinely good test for Whittaker.
Evan Dunham. I definitely underestimated coming into his battle with Ross Pearson. At a minimum, this keeps Dunham around in the long-term as a really solid top 20-25ish lightweight who can be put in with just about anyone from a ranked opponent to a rising prospect. I side with a match-up with one rising prospect in Rashid Magomedov, who is 3-0 inside the Octagon.
Joseph Duffy. Did you know this man was the last one to beat Conor McGregor? You'll probably hear that a lot whenever his name is brought up. But ignoring that, Duffy has been sensational in his two UFC outings, even if not against the best of competition. I expect a return on the Dublin show this October in a winnable fight against Alexander Yakovlev.
Joanne Calderwood. This was a desperately needed win for her both on a confidence level and for her to remain in the top 10 at women's strawweight. Cortney Casey gave her a hell of a fight but rounds 2 and 3 were what fans had expected to see out of Calderwood out of the gates, as opposed to how she started. That said, there are definitely glaring holes in her game -- her striking defense is just not there at times and I can think of one woman in the division who would exploit that -- and she needs to stay away from the upper echelon for a bit. Alexandra Albu could be next for her, likely on another European show.
Leon Edwards. Consecutive wins for the flashy and powerful striker out of England puts him above .500 in his UFC career after 3 fights. I'd love to watch him fight Tony Sims, who fans may remember scored a huge KO over Steve Montgomery in Florida a few weeks ago.
Steven Ray. Two fights and two TKOs for Stevie Ray, who ripped apart Leonardo Mafra Teixeira in impressive fashion to open up the main card. He could definitely turn into a fan favorite in the UK region with the way he's started out his UFC career. I see him taking on Jon Tuck.