After an action-packed event at the T-Mobile Arena, it’s time to play matchmaker and book the next fights for women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and some of the other Noche UFC main card winners, including Jack Della Maddalena and Raul Rosas Jr.
Alexa Grasso vs. Erin Blanchfield
Even though she didn’t get a W added to her record, Alexa Grasso proved her previous victory over Valentina Shevchenko was no fluke. The two combined for a thrilling title fight and left nothing to chance. Alexa Grasso might not have retained the belt in the way she intended but she’s still the champion.
The obvious thing to do is to put Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko together again since the split draw did not add clarity to the pecking order at flyweight. However, the UFC would be squandering an opportunity to build a rivalry and add some life to a division that has spent years in a holding pattern around a dominant champion.
Let Alexa Grasso defend her belt against someone else while Valentina Shevchenko lives as a contender. With all respect to Manon Fiorot, Erin Blanchfield should be next in line for the belt. Blanchfield extended her win streak to nine with a decision win over Talia Santos in August.
Shevchenko and Maycee Barber could serve as a good co-main for the next flyweight title fight.
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Sean Brady
By the skin of his teeth, Jack Della Maddalena kept his Octagon record unblemished. The Aussie striker fought a tedious and methodical fight against Kevin Holland that could have gone either way on the scorecards.
For the second time in a row, the previously unstoppable Jack Della Maddalena looked vulnerable in spots. For that reason, the fast track he was seeking to the top of the welterweight division should slow to a more reasonable pace.
Let’s spin the block on the previously scrapped matchup with Sean Brady. Before being forced out of their July pairing with an infection, Brady suffered a standing TKO at the hands of Belal Muhammed last October.
Raul Rosas vs. Saimon Oliveira
Raul Rosas jumped into the UFC with a full head of steam until his loss to Christian Rodriguez halted that momentum. After quickly putting Terrance Mitchell away, the youngest person in the promotion can resume his on-the-job training under the bright lights.
Rosas betrayed grappling prowess in favor of showcasing power in his hands. While he has clearly developed since his last fight, Rosas is still a work in progress and needs to be brought along in a controlled fashion. That’s why a fight with Saimon Oliveira feels right. Oliveira most recently lost to Daniel Marcos at UFC 283.
Daniel Zelhuber vs. Alex Hernandez/Bill Algeo winner
After Christos Giagos got off to a fast start with heavy punches, Daniel Zelhuber regrouped and responded in a dramatic fashion. Zelhuber found his range, began evading the offense headed his way, and locked in an anaconda choke off of a reactive takedown from his opponent, taking full advantage of his long limbs.
For the second time in a row, Zelhuber has earned a victory over a well-established UFC vet. The winner of Alex Hernandez and Bill Algeo seems like a good next step for “The Golden Boy.” Hernandez and Algeo will face each other in a main card bout in early October.
Kyle Nelson vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
After an impressive UFC debut for Fernando Padilla, hopes were high for the former Fury FC champion. Unfortunately for him, Kyle Nelson wasn’t there to play stepping stone. With well-timed leg kicks, sound defense, and poise the eight-fight Octagon veteran was able to take the decision.
For the first time since joining the UFC roster, Nelson is riding consecutive victories. But a 3-4-1 record means that he has a lot more to prove in an ultra-competitive featherweight division. Melsik Baghadrasaryan is an appropriate opponent for his next outing. “The Gun” defeated Tucker Lutz by decision in July.