Now that UFC London is in the books, it’s time to play matchmaker for the main card winners and decide who should be the next foe for victorious fighters like Tom Aspinall and Nathaniel Wood.
Tom Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich
Tom Aspinall’s sampler platter of walk-out music lasted far longer than the fight. It took just over a minute for Tom Aspinall to handle Marcin Tybura and announce to the division that the knee injury that sidelined him exactly a year ago is a distant memory.
If Tom Aspinal were offered a title shot against the winner of Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, the objections would be meritless. However, the possibility of both men walking away after their historically significant bout and leaving the throne vacant can’t be ignored.
Immediately afterward, Tom Aspinal stated he’d like to fight the winner of Ciryl Gane and Sergei Spivac before challenging for the title. If Spivac comes out on top, the memory of his own brutal loss to Aspinal feels too fresh.
Let’s look toward Russian knockout machine Sergei Pavlovich. The raw power versus the finesse and precision sounds like a fun combination. Either way, expect Aspinal to be fighting for a belt in his next outing.
Julia Stoliarenko vs. Miranda Maverick/Priscella Cachoeira winner
After dropping three out of her four UFC appearances, Julia Stoliarenko desperately needed a rebrand. Finishing Molly McCann via first-round armbar in front of a hostile crowd in her flyweight debut might fit the bill.
Even in such a commendable showing on a big stage, a win over Molly McCann at UFC London doesn’t say much for her chances in the rest of the division. Therefore it’s important to not push the former Invicta champion too far without getting an appropriate gauge of where her ceiling at 125 pounds lies.
The winner of Miranda Maverick and Priscella Cachoeira would be a good litmus test. Maverick and Cachoeira are scheduled for UFC 291 next week.
Nathaniel Wood vs. Pat Sabatini
Nathaniel Wood and Andre Fili did their absolute best to electrify the uncharacteristically tame crowd at the O2 Arena for UFC London. For the entire 15 minutes, the two gave one another very little breathing room and even exchanged knockdowns in the wild brawl. Wood’s more consistent success in the final round ended up being the deciding factor in his unanimous decision win.
Wood occupies an odd space in the featherweight division right now. He has been successful against some respectable names but has yet to regain the momentum he enjoyed in his early UFC stint. Pat Sabatini sounds like a good next opponent.
Sabatini most recently defeated Lucas Almeida with a second-round arm-triangle choke last month.
Paul Craig vs. Derek Brunson
Paul Craig couldn’t have had a better middleweight debut at UFC London. Not only did he finish number 14 ranked Andre Muniz but he got to do it with a fair amount of fellow Scotsman watching.
Craig milled around the light heavyweight division amassing some noteworthy wins, former champion Jahamal Hill for example, but unable to break through into title contention. Let’s continue his middleweight campaign by diving right into the deep end. Derek Brunson should be next. Brunson most recently lost by TKO to Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 285.
Fares Ziam vs. Ignacio Bahamondes/Ľudovít Klein winner
Fares Ziam and Jai Herbert didn’t exactly provide the barnburner many were anticipating. Clinching against the fence and failed takedown attempts were the story for Ziam’s close decision win.
A win is a win but we simply didn’t learn much about where Ziam stands among the rest of the unranked lightweights. The winner of Ignacio Bahamondes and Ľudovít Klein fits the criteria. Bahamondes and Klein will face off in Nashville for an early August Fight Night.
Lerone Murphy vs. David Onama
Lerone Murphy left little doubt. Josh Culibao found himself being outstruck, out positioned, and threatened with submissions until the clock ran out.
With his unbeaten record in the Octagon, Murphy has become one of the more interesting prospects at featherweight. Let’s pair him with another up-and-comer in David Onama. Both men are seeking to stand out at 145 and present an intriguing style match that could serve as a springboard to contendership.
Daniel Marcos vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
It was far from definitive but Daniel Marcos remains undefeated. Even though Davey Grant had the support of the English fans in the building and every media member score that was reported to MMADecisions, only one of the only three scorecards that matter agreed.
Marcos’ split decision win should be followed by another chance for the Peruvian Contender Series vet to prove himself against a more tenured opponent. Douglas Silva de Andrade is a good next step. Much like Grant, “D Silva” will be ready to bite down on his mouthguard and put Marcos through a tough test. Silva de Andrade won a decision over Cody Stamann in May.