Forgive the lack of proper introduction, but my bodacious colleague Zane Simon was out for the weekend, so I threw this together on the fly. Besides, it’s not like UFC Vegas 40 was the most consequential of events ever. Anyway, though I usually subscribe to the Joe Silva strategy of matching winner with winners and losers with losers, there were some notable exceptions. Bottom line, enjoy and feel free to disagree!
Given the complete lack of depth for the UFC in the women’s featherweight division, the obvious choice for Dumont appears to be awarding her a title shot against Amanda Nunes. I’m not crazy about that idea. Sure, Dumont secured a clear win over Ladd, but it’s a performance that excites no one about the possibility of Dumont challenging the women’s GOAT. Rather than throwing whatever warm body is available at Nunes, why not try to bring Dumont along a bit more until she’s closer to her peak? I understand that is the ideal scenario and we don’t live in an ideal world, but even the most hardcore of fans have had issues getting excited for Nunes’ defenses at featherweight. I’m not saying the choices at bantamweight are much better, but at least there’s an actual divisional body to choose from. Thus, I’d say re-book Dumont with Holly Holm. It’s far from a guarantee Dumont would win and given Holm is one of the few names that potentially offers any sort of a PPV buy bump, perhaps the UFC would prefer Holm win. I can’t say for sure, but I’m allowed to speculate.
I’m in the majority of those who don’t want to see Ladd fight at bantamweight anymore. The close calls and flat out weight misses needs to come to a head at some point and for me, it has. Unfortunately for me, I don’t make these decisions and Ladd has stated she wants to continue plying her trade at bantamweight. Thus, believing the UFC will cave to her wishes, I’m going to matchmake in that light. Ladd had previously been scheduled against Macy Chiasson, but deserves a step back after her flat performance against Dumont. However, I also don’t want to knock Ladd too far down the ladder. Thus, I settled on former Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann. McMann is now 41 and needs to make a move NOW if she really wants to claim the UFC title. Ladd offers name value and McMann does the same for Ladd.
Like Old Man River, Arlovski just keeps on rolling. There is a clear ceiling for the former heavyweight champion – he only managed to squeak by Carlos Felipe — but he’s also the definitive gatekeeper for any division at this stage. Plus, Arlovski has lost in brutal fashion every time he’s given a step up in competition. However, there doesn’t appear to be a youngster who has worked their way up to challenging the aged veteran. But there is one who is coming off a loss that needs a potential rebound in Sergey Spivak. To no one’s surprise, Spivak was disposed of by Tom Aspinall in easy fashion. Like Arlovski, there’s currently a clear ceiling for Spivak. But does it exceed Arlovski’s? There’s only one way to find out....
Miller is in a similar situation to Arlovski. Formerly a much higher-level of fighter, Miller is now content to play the gatekeeper role, even relishing it to a point. He proved he still has some power in his punches when he dropped Erick Gonzalez emphatically. Bouncing between being an intelligence test for where some of the more youthful members of the division are at and getting into it with fellow aging vets, there’s no shortage of options for Miller. I’m more partial to pitting him with other vets that are over the athletic hill. My first choice would be to pit him against Joe Lauzon for the third time – if you haven’t seen either of their first two contests, go watch them now – but Lauzon hasn’t accepted a fight in a long time. Thus, I’ll say pit Miller with Michael Johnson. Someway, somehow, Johnson remains in the UFC’s employ. If he’s going to be, he fits the category of over the athletic hill. It’s a bit on the shocking side these two never met up back in the day. Let’s right that wrong....
It’s hard not to be excited about Fiorot. She has been nothing short of an absolute badass since making her UFC debut. The way she picked apart a respectable opponent in Mayra Bueno Silva should only serve to heighten the hype around the French striker. However, I’ve always been on the side of a slow roll. I’ve heard some say throw her in there with the likes of Andrea Lee or Cynthia Calvillo, but I’m against that. Not that I believe Fiorot wouldn’t be competitive with them, but the next step from there would be too much. Thus, I like the idea of Montana de la Rosa being the next step. I know De la Rosa recently pulled out of a scheduled contest with Maycee Barber, but Fiorot also needs a bit of time to recover and prepare for her next contest. Plus, it also allows Fiorot to avoid any of the other up-and-coming hot prospects 125 seems to be getting flooded with.
I wasn’t too crazy about Silva in his UFC debut as he was coming back from a PED suspension, but he’s doing a hell of a job making a believer out of me. After being controlled by Andrew Sanchez for the majority of the first two rounds, the heavy-handed Brazilian lashed out in the final round with a flurry of violence that gave him his second UFC win in as many tries. I’m of the belief Sanchez would have proven successful if he hadn’t gassed, so I’d like to see Silva tested against another neutralizer. The ideal one that comes to mind: Krzysztof Jotko. If Silva can get past the experienced Pole, he’s ready for a ranked opponent, but only if he can get past Jotko.
OTHER BOUTS: Carlos Felipe vs. Jared Vanderaa, Erick Gonzalez vs. Brandon Jenkins, Mayra Bueno SIlva vs. Antonina Shevchenko, Nate Landwehr vs. Chas Skelly, L’udovit Klein vs. Danny Chavez, Andrew Sanchez vs. Dalcha Lungiambula, Danny Roberts vs. Carlston Harris, Ramazan Emeev vs. Song Kenan, Luana Carolina vs. Melissa Gatto, Lupita Godinez vs. Cory McKenna, Danaa Batgerel vs. Nate Maness, Brandon Davis vs. Mark Striegl, Ariane Carnelossi vs. Jinh Yu Frey, Istela Nunes vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez