Top 5 Fights To Make In The Wake Of UFC 170
5 attractive future fights to seriously consider after UFC 170
If you blinked, you may have missed the main and co-main events of UFC 170 in Las Vegas as both Ronda Rousey and Daniel Cormier secured victories in rapid fashion. “Rowdy” continues to add a little more weaponry to her arsenal as the women’s bantamweight champion made a third successful defense of her title against Sara McMann. A well-placed knee to the liver dropped the former Olympic wrestling medallist and referee Herb Dean called off the proceedings just 66 seconds after the contest began. While some may argue that the stoppage was a little premature, it was clear that Rousey had inflicted some serious damage to her opponent and that the champion has evolved into more than just a one-trick pony with her signature armbar. She excelled in facing an opponent who was expected to provide her toughest test yet.
As expected, Cormier blitzed Patrick Cummins in just 79 seconds as it didn't take long for Cummins’ trash talk to give way to the realization that he was in way over his head. Cormier did exactly what he needed to do in his 205-pound debut and now it’s on to bigger and better things. Cormier was clearly revved up by his opponent’s mouthy banter heading into the contest, and he took it out on Cummins in full force. Cormier picked up his first stoppage in three Octagon appearances.
Rory MacDonald definitely raised his stock with a much-needed high-energy effort against fellow top-10 contender Demian Maia. MacDonald utilized an impressive striking game and grappling skills to earn the decision victory in what was the Fight of the Night. He had the Brazilian veteran in trouble in the middle stanza and received full marks for the triumph that should keep him at or possibly moving up from his no. 4 standing.
Other highlights included a destructive Performance of the Night effort from Stephen Thompson, who finished Robert Whittaker in the very first round, while Raphael Assuncao moved closer to a bantamweight title shot with yet another victory.
As I like to do after each major UFC offering, I will put on the matchmaker’s hat and examine what I believe are the top five fights to make in the wake of UFC 170.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports
5. Stephen Thompson vs. Mike Pyle
“Wonderboy” seems to be getting better with each passing performance. Thompson delivered a second straight knockout effort at UFC 170 and has now reeled off three straight wins after suffering his only career loss to Matt Brown. He’s not quite top-10 material just yet, but is making positive strides towards that. A matchup against the veteran Pyle would be a solid test for Thompson in his career progression. The bout would also have the potential to be an entertaining affair. “Quicksand” recorded a much-needed victory at UFC 170 as he stopped T.J. Waldburger in the third and final round to solidify his top-15 ranking.
4. Raphael Assuncao vs. Renan Barao
While the UFC continues to play the wait-and-see game regarding Dominick Cruz’s latest injury, the reality is that Assuncao has done more than enough to deserve the next shot at the dominant bantamweight champion. Assuncao made it six straight victories by besting Pedro Munhoz in Las Vegas and considering he was ranked no. 3 heading in, he should get the opportunity to see if he can somehow derail the dangerous Barao.
3. Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit/Tyron Woodley winner
MacDonald definitely got his career back on the right path in sending Maia to a second straight loss. “Ares” has long wanted a rematch against Condit after losing to him in 2010, and that possibility could be in play if “The Natural Born Killer” is victorious next month at UFC 171. Condit’s task isn't an easy one though as he faces the dangerous Woodley, who has looked very explosive at times in his relatively brief UFC tenure.
2. Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano
Rousey continued to prove her dominance in the women’s 135-pound division at UFC 170, and one would hope a future mega-fight with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will take place inside the Octagon down the road. As for who Rousey should face next after her successful defense against McMann, it should be Cat Zingano. Zingano has had an immensely difficult time both professionally and personally of late. First, she lost out on a title shot against Rousey after besting Miesha Tate because of a severe knee injury, and then had to deal with the tragic passing of her husband. If she’s able to go both physically and mentally, than Zingano deserves to be next in line.
1. Daniel Cormier vs. Phil Davis/Anthony Johnson winner
Cormier starched Cummins in what was a total mismatch at UFC 170, and there are clearly much bigger fish to lure in at light heavyweight. Unfortunately, it won’t be Rashad Evans as he will be on the shelf for several months due to a knee injury. Cormier was initially slated to face the former light heavyweight champion in Las Vegas. We didn't learn much from Cormier’s dismantling of Cummins, but DC facing the winner of the attractive Davis/Johnson showdown at UFC 172 would be an exciting, legitimate test for Cormier in his new 205-pound weight class.