Booking what’s next for UFC Charlotte main card winners, including Jailton Almeida

Now that UFC Charlotte is in the books, let’s take a look at some potential fights that await the main card winners like like rising heavyweight star Jailton Almeida and super prospect Ian Garry.

Related: UFC Charlotte Results – Almeida continues surge with early sub of Rozenstruik

Jailton Almeida – Curtis Blaydes

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be the big test for Jailton Almeida. With six former champions on his resume, Jairzinho Rozenstruik was the most battle-tested opponent Almeida has seen. None of that experience helped “Bigi Boy” after getting taken down and submitted in the opening round. 

Almeida should make his first appearance in the top 10 when the rankings are refreshed next week. It would be nice to see how he handles a more skilled grappler before we label him a threat to the title. 

Curtis Blaydes should answer the call. After winning three straight, he was finished by Sergey Pavlovich last month. This pairing would prevent both of them from being booked in classic striker vs. grappler matchups which would give one a chance to prove himself further while hopefully affording the other a reprieve from the ill-timed knockout losses that have plagued his championship ambitions. 

Johnny Walker – Nikita Krylov

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In three fights, Johnny Walker has shed the skin of a gifted athlete unable to capitalize upon his physical potential and transformed into a bonafide contender at light heavyweight. Throughout the entire three-rounder at UFC Charlotte, Walker had little trouble with former title challenger Anthony Smith.  

His victory over “Lionheart” should earn him a spot in the top 5 of the division. That means there aren’t a whole lot of names that make sense for Walker right now. Magomed Ankalaev is angling for Alex Periera, Jan Blachowicz is flirting with a move to middleweight and Aleksander Rakic is MIA after tearing his ACL. 

It wouldn’t be a bad time to revisit Nikita Krylov. Similar to Walker, Krylov is on a three-fight winning streak and wants to continue his career facelift. In their first meeting, “The Miner” earned a unanimous decision win. 

Ian Garry – Michael Chiesa

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Garry extended his undefeated record at UFC Charlotte with style points against Daniel Rodriguez. His effective use of range proved to be too difficult for the tough veteran as a picture-perfect head kick led to his first loss via knockout. Expect the popular Irish fighter to wake up Tuesday morning as an officially ranked welterweight.

Garry’s post-fight callout of Neil Magny sounds like a reasonable enough step up in a crowded division. Against a six-inch reach advantage, smothering clinch, an underrated ground game, and veteran savvy Garry could be pushed to the limit if he gets his wish. 

The only problem is that the TUF 16 semi-finalist is already booked to face Philip Rowe. Michael Chiesa presents similar problems and his calendar is clear.  

Carlos Ulberg – Ion Cutelaba

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Ulberg yet again wasted little time continuing his winning ways against Ihor Potieria at UFC Charlotte. For the third time in a row, the City Kickboxing standout didn’t need a full round to get the job done and has pushed his unsuccessful promotional debut further into the rearview mirror. 

While Kennedy Nzechukwu’s current win streak has certainly made that loss age well, we still don’t know where Ulberg’s ceiling is. Ion Cutelaba seems like an appropriate next step. Last month Cutelaba snapped an unfortunate 3 fight streak of finish losses with a first-round TKO of Tanner Boser. “The Black Jag” and “The Hulk” could make for an exciting pairing as both attempts to break into the top 15.

Alex Morono – Bryan Barbarena

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

After a rocky start thanks to the controlled approach at range by Tim Means, Alex Morono found his way to victory by sinking in a guillotine choke in the second round of their clash at UFC Charlotte. Morono is no stranger to an action fight and seems to be dedicated to that path. With that in mind, calling out Bryan Barbarena makes sense. 

Barbarena is currently on a two-fight submission skid and would likely relish a chance to trade leather with the Fortis MMA fighter. The Arizona native accepted the challenge via Twitter shortly after Morono’s post-fight speech.

Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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