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Top 5 Fights to Make in the Wake of UFC Fight Night 43 And 44

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Top 5 Fights to Make in the Wake of UFC Fight Night 43, 44

Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens exchange punches during UFC Fight Night 44 main event
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The UFC delivered another action-packed doubleheader for fans with events in New Zealand and Texas. Nate Marquardt and Charles Oliveira produced slick submission victories on a surprisingly good card in Auckland, while Cub Swanson likely earned a future featherweight title shot by outgunning Jeremy Stephens in an entertaining main event in San Antonio. Here are the top five fights to make in the wake of UFC Fight Nights 43 and 44.

5. Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz 2

Charles Oliveira celebrates submission victory over Hatsu Hioki at UFC Fight Night 43
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5. Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz 2

Charles Oliveira celebrates submission victory over Hatsu Hioki at UFC Fight Night 43
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Charles Oliveira showcased his remarkable ground game in producing a Submission of the Year candidate against Hatsu Hioki. The 24-year-old Brazilian became the first man in 37 fights to finish the ultra-tough Japanese fighter. Oliveira is clearly ready again for top-10 opposition and a rematch against the No. 9 ranked Nik Lentz would fit the bill. They have unfinished business after their first fight in 2011 ended in a no-contest.

4. Nate Marquardt vs. Tim Boetsch/Brad Tavares Winner

Nate Marquardt makes walk to the Octagon to face James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43
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4. Nate Marquardt vs. Tim Boetsch/Brad Tavares Winner

Nate Marquardt makes walk to the Octagon to face James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43
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Nate Marquardt kept his Octagon career alive with a first-round submission of James Te Huna. He spoiled the party for the New Zealand native and ended a three-fight losing skid in making a successful return to the 185-pound division. “The Great” should face the winner of the Tim Boetsch/Brad Tavares matchup next. Those two top-15 competitors will meet at Fight Night 47 in August, and either man would present a solid next test for Marquardt.

3. Kelvin Gastelum vs. Gunnar Nelson

Kelvin Gastelum punches Nicholas Musoke during UFC Fight Night 44 welterweight bout
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3. Kelvin Gastelum vs. Gunnar Nelson

Kelvin Gastelum punches Nicholas Musoke during UFC Fight Night 44 welterweight bout
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Gastelum remained unbeaten by earning a unanimous decision victory over Nicholas Musoke at Fight Night 44. The TUF Season 17 winner is closing in on top-10 territory but needs to make weight moving forward. He forfeited 20 percent of his purse after missing the welterweight limit in San Antonio. A matchup between two standout prospects should be seriously considered if Nelson emerges victorious at Fight Night 46 in Ireland against Zak Cummings.

2. Jeremy Stephens vs. Chan Sung Jung

Jeremy Stephens punches Cub Swanson during UFC featherweight fight
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2. Jeremy Stephens vs. Chan Sung Jung

Jeremy Stephens punches Cub Swanson during UFC featherweight fight
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Stephens fell shy in his battle against Swanson, but turned in a game effort. The loss doesn’t diminish his stock and he's still a major player within the 145 pound division. A bout between the hard-hitting Stephens and “The Korean Zombie” would produce a thriller. Jung has been on the shelf since sustaining a shoulder injury in his UFC 163 title loss against Jose Aldo. His granite chin would get a major test against "Lil Heathen's" power.

1. Cub Swanson vs. Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes 2 Winner

Cub Swanson lands kick on Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 44
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1. Cub Swanson vs. Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes 2 Winner

Cub Swanson lands kick on Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 44
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Cub Swanson showcased a diversified striking attack and was more accurate and active against Stephens in their pivotal five-round main event clash at Fight Night 44. Swanson earned his sixth straight win and deserves his title shot after the Fight of the Night performance. While Swanson has suffered career losses against both Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, he’s done enough to face the winner of their UFC 176 title rematch.