There were some great fights on last night (Sat. July 13, 2019), a couple of which had controversial finishes. Urijah Faber made good on his return, scoring his first finish via strikes since 2007, which was incredible, but some said they thought it was an early stoppage. When you fall like Ricky Simon did, and then don’t start fighting back until after the referee pulls him off, the stoppage certainly wasn’t terrible.
This happened again in the main event. Germaine de Randamie cracked Aspen Ladd with a hard right cross, and went to hit her again while Ladd was downed, and Herb Dean had seen enough. Ladd wasn’t out, and it was a tad early of a stoppage, but it’s understandable why he stopped it when he did, just 16 seconds into the fight. When de Randamie hit Ladd with that straight, Ladd fell down with her back turned to her opponent, and didn’t think to move so she didn’t get hit again, nor did she think to look ”GDR’s” way. She was visibly hurt.
However, as ”GDR” was throwing another punch at her downed opponent, Ladd rolled to her back to defend, but at this point the fight had already been stopped. Ladd was hurt very badly, but at the second the fight was stopped, she was regaining composure. It all happened in a two or three-second time frame.
Andre Fili had a great showing last night. He’s really come into his own recently. We’ve watched him grow up inside the Octagon since he was 23-years-old, and now look at him. It’s very surprising he wasn’t ranked going into his fight last night. Hopefully, now he’ll get a number next to his name. He had some troubles being consistent early on in his UFC career; after making it to 12-1, he made his UFC debut and got a second-round TKO victory to improve to 13-1.
Fili then went 3-4 over his next seven fights, he just couldn’t seem to figure out how to get back-to-back wins. It took him over four years in the UFC to get two wins in a row, which he did against Artem Lobov and Dennis Bermudez, before losing a split decision to Michael Johnson, a fight many thought he won.
He’s now on his second two-fight win streak in the UFC, and is looking better than ever. Fili picked up a first-round KO win over three-time Brazilian Kickboxing Champion, and two-time Brazilian Muay Thai Champion, Sheymon Moraes. He landed a beautiful head kick, and patiently picked his shots afterward in order to get the finish at 3:07 of round-one.
Continue reading for a look into our perspective on what fights should happen next:
Andre Fili (20-6) vs. Arnold Allen (15-1)
This matchup would be very intriguing, especially after each of their last fights. ”Touchy” wasn’t ranked before his fight last night, and Allen wasn’t ranked before his fight last weekend either. It’s almost a certainty that Fili will crack the top 15 now, so why not make this fight? Especially considering Allen is ranked at No. 13 now. Fili has some great boxing, particularly boxing for MMA, and also mixes his kicks up quite well.
“Almighty” Allen had the performance of his life in his last outing at UFC 239, defeating the former WEC and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision. He broke his own personal record for the most strikes he’s ever landed in a fight against a stud boxer in Melendez. As good of a striker as Fili is, along with the 3-0 kickboxing, and 5-0 amateur boxing record of the 25-year-old Allen, this would be a very entertaining, and telling fight.
Josh Emmett (15-2) vs. Chan Sung Jung (15-5)
Josh Emmett also had the performance of his life last night, as he finished the formerly 13-1 Mirsad Bektic in round-one. The power Emmett possesses is just scary. He’s now 4-1 at featherweight with three knockouts, and the fight he won via decision, he scored four knockdowns in. He can wrestle, he can strike, he can crack, he can do it all. Bektic is no joke. He has barely lost a round in his career, and Emmett dropped him with a jab, before following up with numerous finishing blows. Emmett could ideally fight Jose Aldo, but he shouldn’t be moved up too quickly.
Chan Sung Jung is also coming off an incredible performance over top-ranked Renato Moicano, a fight he finished via TKO just under a minute into round one. Both men are coming off of first-round knockout wins over top opponents, but the style clash in this matchup is really gripping. Both of these two warriors have incredible striking, and both are good on the ground as well. Of course, coming from Team Alpha Male, you’re going to be experienced on the mat.
Emmett has 14 years of wrestling experience, and Jung is more of a grappler than a wrestler, and boasts a BJJ brown belt to his credit. It’d be very interesting to see these two bang it out on the feet, and that’s most likely what would happen if they did meet inside the octagon. With Emmett’s power and diverse striking attack of kicks and punches against Jung’s third degree Taekwondo black belt and elusive boxing, it’d be very fun to watch.
The Team Alpha Male product was ranked at No. 10 going into his fight at UFC Sacramento, and Jung is now ranked at No. 6 after his win last month. Emmett will most likely only get moved up one spot, over Renato Moicano, considering Jeremy Stephens (the last man to defeat him) is ranked at No. 8. Nonetheless, this is the perfect fight to make after seeing each of their last fights.
Urijah Faber (35-10) vs. Jimmie Rivera (22-4) II
Urijah Faber looked awesome last night. Many counted him out in his comeback; perhaps they thought he was too old in general, or maybe they just didn’t like the matchup, but he dealt with a little adversity early on. Though it only lasted 46 seconds into the first round. “The California Kid” got hit pretty hard with a nice left hook from Simon and was getting pressured by the 26-year-old, who also landed a hard leg kick while the former WEC champion was circling the outside of the cage.
Moments after, Faber connected with a beautiful overhand right that face-planted Simon to the canvas, and followed up in Simon’s side control with more punches to get the finish. We got to see that the 40-year-old Hall of Fame legend is still just as fast as ever, and he still hits very, very hard. Usually, he would hurt his opponents on the feet, then wrap up a submission, but once he saw Simon was hurt badly, Faber wanted that TKO. This was actually Faber’s fastest finish ever. Not too shabby for a return fight.
Faber has stated himself that he had a hard time getting excited for this fight. He still to this day oftentimes can’t remember Jimmie Rivera’s name. This would be a good matchup because Faber looked great in his return, and Rivera is at a crossroads of sorts. He started out his career 21-1, with his only loss via split decision in his second fight. Rivera was on a 20-fight win streak, and now he’s gone 1-3 in his last four. Not to say he’s not a good fighter, he’s just had a bit of a rough patch this past year or so.
It all started with a head kick from Marlon Moraes. He hasn’t really performed optimally since. Rivera had a good showing against John Dodson after losing to Moraes, but has lost his last two. He was doing well against Petr Yan in his last fight as well, until he began getting rocked by Yan’s punches. At 30-years-old, where most fighters come into their prime, it’s been unfortunate for Rivera. Granted, he has fought the best in the world since he’s been in the UFC. If Faber can learn to check leg kicks, at least better than he has in the past, he’s got a serious shot at avenging this loss.
Aspen Ladd (8-1) vs. Julianna Pena (10-3)
Julianna Pena had a decent performance last night. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. She hadn’t fought in two-and-a-half years, however (like Urijah Faber), so perhaps she was a bit rusty; which appeared to be the case as the fight went on. Pena lost round one, and lost the first half of round two, before getting into her groove and beginning to out-class Montano.
This fight was largely contested on the ground, and was very back-and-fourth, but not in the sense where they kept reversing each other. Pena pretty much lost the first seven or so minutes of this fight, and won the last seven or eight minutes. She just needed a little time to adjust and get used to being in there again.
It’s very exciting to have “The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner back, she always had so much potential, it would’ve been a shame to see her call it a career after losing to Valentina Shevchenko. At almost 30-years-old, she has a great chance of working her way up to a title shot.
Ladd, of course, got the short end of the stick last night, it was unfortunate to see the fight end the way it did, but what better way to get over it than to fight a top-level opponent that won that same night? This is a great matchup between two very well rounded female fighters in the UFC’s bantamweight division. Both women are great on the feet; and both are great on the ground, in wrestling, and BJJ as well.
They’re both high level mixed martial artists that put on entertaining fights every time. We didn’t get to see much of Ladd’s performance last night, but we all know how good she is, and Pena is ready for the step up again. Pena at her best is an absolute killer. She defeated Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano in back-to-back fights before fighting Shevchenko, back when Zingano was ranked at No. 3 in the world.
People forget Pena was ranked at No. 5 in the division heading into that fight. She beat the No. 3-ranked fighter and was one of the very best in the world before her hiatus. Pena now holds a 5-1 record with the UFC, and Ladd holds a 3-1 record with the promotion. “The Venezuelan Vixen” is just a little taller, and slightly rangier than Ladd, but don’t let that fool you. Ladd knows how to win, as does Pena, and that’s why this would be such a great fight to make.
Germaine de Randamie (9-3) vs. Ketlen Vieira (10-0)
Germaine de Randamie looked great last night, for as long as it lasted. We don’t have much to judge from, but what can be judged is her precision, power, and timing. She landed one strike to Ladd’s chin, and only needed that one. Ladd folded over, and regardless of whether the stoppage was just or not, de Randamie was the winner of the night.
As a 37-0 kickboxer and multiple-time world champion in the art, she had a bit of a rough start to her MMA career. “GDR” started out with a 3-2 record before signing with the UFC. Once signed to the Las Vegas-based promotion, she defeated Julie Kedzie, a long-time women’s mixed martial artist, via split decision. This fight saw her out-striking Kedzie, but getting taken down a couple of times.
In her next fight, we saw “GDR” against a fellow women’s bantamweight that was also 1-0 in the UFC, Amanda Nunes. “The Lioness” quickly took “The Iron Lady” down and got the TKO finish in round one. All three of those losses were because of her ground game, or lack thereof rather. Her first loss was via submission (armbar), after she was taken down six times and out-wrestled to a decision in her second defeat, and her only other loss was to Nunes. Since then, she’s gone 5-0, four of which were at 135 lbs.
Initially, it was presumed the winner of de Randamie and Ladd deserved a title shot next. Not that de Randamie doesn’t deserve it, as she was ranked at No. 1 in the women’s bantamweight division before her fight last night, and she won. However, the stoppage may be a reason people wouldn’t want to see her rematch Nunes next, along with the fact that Cris Cyborg is fighting Felicia Spencer later this month, and the winner of that could also be next. So, considering “GDR’s” place in the rankings, and the way the fight ended last night, why not have her fight the No. 2 women’s bantamweight?
A matchup with Ketlen Vieira, who like de Randamie, is also a specialist, would be tremendous. Vieira holds black belts in both BJJ and Judo, along with being a Brazilian National Wrestling Champion as well. She’s just as much a killer on the ground as “GDR” is on the feet. The 27-year-old junior is also a four-time MMA champion as a professional, and holds a 4-0 record inside the UFC. “The Iron Lady” is an inch taller than “Fenomeno,” and has a one-inch reach advantage. Vieira’s size matches up with de Randamie’s well, who is quite big for a women’s bantamweight. These two ladies would certainly put on a show.