UFC Fight Night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was a pretty good show that unfortunately had a decidedly anti-climactic ending. We still don't know for sure what injury Charles Oliveira suffered in his loss to Max Holloway, but the unconfirmed report was an esophagus tear, which can be life-threatening. Hopefully it isn't that, because Oliveira has denied the story since it came out.
With the fights out of the way it's time to do some fantasy matchmaking for several fighters who competed on last night's event. For these minor FS1 events we'll just focus on the winners of the main card, although I do have a couple of preliminary card additions to this piece.
Max Holloway. Obviously that was a really unfortunate ending to what was shaping up to be a great main event between him and Charles Oliveira. A rematch is probably not in the cards right now, so that leaves the UFC with two realistic options for Holloway. Either put him in against Frankie Edgar with the winner just about guaranteed a title shot, or give him the much more winnable Jeremy Stephens and award Holloway a title shot with a win over "Lil' Heathen". I actually think the UFC will do the latter and spare the risk of a potential fresh title challenger being bumped off by Edgar.
Neil Magny. Stupid split decision -- it should've been unanimous -- aside, this is the biggest and best win of Magny's career, especially given how thoroughly outclassed he looked vs. Maia. He outstruck Silva, used his reach very well and did more than hold his own on the mat with the Brazilian, all on two weeks notice. Magny may not quite yet be at a top 5-6ish level just yet, but he's definitely a solid top 15 fighter right now. Pending his health status, I'd be fine with Magny vs. Rick Story.
Patrick Cote. After somewhat struggling to a victory over Joe Riggs, Cote was largely on point against Josh Burkman, and in the process he picked up his first UFC stoppage win in 7 years and became the first man to KO or TKO Burkman. He's quietly 4-1 since dropping to welterweight, so the weight class change has paid off for him and provided a nice extension to the twilight of his career. Cote called out Hector Lombard, which, either you believe Lombard with enhanced drug testing is basically not even a top 20 fighter, or you genuinely think Cote is a top 10 welterweight. I doubt we see it happen, and on that note I'm partial to Cote vs. Lorenz Larkin.
Francisco Trinaldo. First off, happy birthday to Trinaldo, who is 37 today. He's quietly won 4 in a row and ended the unbeaten record of Chad Laprise in emphatic fashion. Obviously he's not going to be a contender any time soon, but he's a quite formidable opponent in a gatekeeper role, and I actually see him facing Jim Miller next time out.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier. It wasn't an exciting win over Tony Sims but it was highly effective. He's very athletic, strong, and relentless with his grinding style, and if he can develop more success and confidence in his stand-up, then he has really good potential in the lightweight division. Re-book the originally scheduled matchup between him and Chris Wade.
Valerie Letourneau. I was worried that her cardio would suffer given how drawn out she looked when she missed weight on the first attempt on Saturday, and to an extent, I was right in the sense that she just about faded in round 3. But to her good fortune, Maryna Moroz chose to play the guard game from the bottom and Letourneau didn't need to do much to win the last round. Her striking was impressive and she showcased her power to the point where she nearly got the 1st round stoppage. The division is still new so matchmaking is a bit tough for everyone, but I think her next opponent will be
Tecia Torres Randa Markos. Edit: Totally blanked out and forgot Torres is a teammate of Letourneau. H/T to David Bixenspan.
Nikita Krylov. Believe it or not, he's 4-1 since dropping to LHW, and he's only 23 years old. I'd put him in against Daniel Cormier straight away, but I do want some semblance of reality when I do these matchmaking bits. So instead, Krylov vs. Sean O'Connell.
Misha Cirkunov. It's important for any light heavyweight under 30 to look competent and more importantly promising. Cirkunov achieved both things against Daniel Jolly, which has me intrigued pretty much by default. Sadly, this division is still devoid of depth, so finding appropriate opponents for him is still tough. Right now, I think he'll face the winner of Jan Blachowicz/Corey Anderson.