Part of several key matchups announced today for UFC 180 in Mexico City this November was a key featherweight fight between former title challenger Ricardo Lamas and the streaking Dennis Bermudez. On a card that is looking increasingly decent, this is a standout fight, and has the potential for fireworks.
Lamas hasn’t lost to anyone other than champion Jose Aldo in the UFC, and following that five-round decision loss, he bounced back with a win over Hacran Dias — not exactly a fight that was going to get him back in the title picture as Dias isn’t even ranked currently, but a welcome back fight nonetheless after a tough loss to the dominant featherweight champ. With a number of surging featherweight prospects, most of whom have also already lost to Aldo in their careers (including Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and upcoming title challenger Chad Mendes), it’s to the back of the line for Lamas. Therefore, any fight he can get against strong top-10 caliber competition is a huge benefit — if he can pull off the win.
Enter Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez. A product of The Ultimate Fighter Season 14, the surging prospect has not lost since losing the TUF 14 featherweight finale bout to Diego Brandao. Despite losing that bout, however, Bermudez has turned out to be the fighter with the bigger upside, and has gone on a seven-fight win streak in the UFC that includes four performance bonuses (his bout with Brandao also earned him Fight of the Night honors in defeat).
This is a huge matchup for both fighters. Bermudez recently finished off Clay Guida to mark the first big name on his win sheet, but Guida is on the downside of his career, so that notch on Bermudez’ belt isn’t quite what it could be. Lamas, meanwhile, is coming off the Dias win and the Aldo loss before it, and remains at fourth on the UFC’s official rankings while Bermudez sits at seventh.
A win for Bermudez likely boosts him into the top five, while a win for Lamas puts him two fights from a title shot — or maybe just one, depending on how injuries and timing play out. It’s unlikely that the UFC would want him back in against Aldo so soon after their last meeting, but should the featherweight title change hands, or should someone fall to injury, he could get the nod (especially with Chan Sung Jung being out due to injury once more).
Realistically, Swanson and Edgar are ahead of him; but when it comes to the UFC, we all know anything can happen. Either way, this is an exciting fight on a card that is shaping up nicely.