What’s Next For The Winners From UFC San Antonio
By Ben Jessop
The UFC landed in San Antonio this weekend to showcase another good card, headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos vs Leon Edwards and with big names peppered through the main card it was bound to be a great night of fights.
Andrei Arlovski defeats Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision
Despite a three round battle, Ben Rothwell was unable to get the better of Andrei Arlovski this weekend as another well-deserved win was handed to Arlovski. The heavyweight division is somewhat stagnant when you look pass the top five so Arlovski potentially has rank #15-5 to look towards. With Marcin Tybura already matched up with Augusto Sakai for later this year, Walt Harris KO’ing ranked #9 Aleksei Oleinik in twelve seconds this weekend, realistically, Arlovski should be aiming to run it back with Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa.
Tuivasa is on a two fight loss skid, against Junior Dos Santos and Blagoy Ivanov. Having faced Arlovski just over a year ago and coming out victorious after a three road unanimous decision it would be interesting to see if Arlovski could right that wrong and get another win on his record.
Although, Arlovski is forty years old and with a record of 28-18 it’s only a matter of time before he is going to have to hang his gloves up for good.
Alexander Hernandez defeats Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision
Our bit of controversy came in the form of the judges scoring this fight as a unanimous decision for Hernandez. Many fight fans had Trinaldo as winning all three rounds and couldn’t quite make sense of the judges’ score cards but nevertheless, Hernandez has a much needed win on his record after his heavy defeat to Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in January of this year.
Hernandez finds himself ranked #13 in the most stacked division of the promotion and every fight that could be lined up for him offers him a whole world of problems to try and battle. In my opinion, he should be facing Charles Oliveira who is currently ranked #11 and riding a five fight win streak, although not against anyone officially ranked in the top fifteen. It would be an interesting struggle to begin the journey into the top ten and they offer each other stylistically challenging problems. Hernandez needs to slow his roll slightly and cannot afford to be trying to take on another top ten challenger just yet and Oliveira needs someone who’s currently ranked to help boost him up the ranks. Seems like this is the fight to make.
Dan Hooker defeats James Vick via first round KO
Another lightweight bout took place this weekend, with Dan Hooker taking a potentially unexpected win against ranked #15 James Vick.
Hooker sent shockwaves through the division this past Saturday after a left hook sent Vick to the canvas just 2:33 into the very first round.
Hooker should be screaming for another ranked opponent next and pushing his way for a top ten opponent, but he won’t get there just yet. The lightweight divisions top ten is one of the most active and with Hernandez having just beaten Trinaldo, he’ll be looking for a ranked opponent (Charles Oliveira in my opinion) Paul Felder matched with Edson Barboza at UFC 241, Anthony Pettis tied up with Nate Diaz and Kevin Lee probably not returning to lightweight the options for Hooker become much smaller than he may of hoped. He could face ranked #13 Islam Makhachev or ranked #23 Gregor Gillespie. For me, I’d like to see him face Gillespie. Stylistically, it makes it much more a fun fight to watch and holds potential for Hooker’s name to be in the mix of that top ten.
Greg Hardy defeats Juan Adams via first round TKO
It didn’t take long for Greg Hardy to make a statement against Juan Adams this weekend, in face it took just forty-five seconds. Having knocked down Adams, Hardy relentlessly through heavy shots until the referee called time and stopped the fight.
Naturally, any fight with Hardy involved is bound to pull in a certain amount of criticism and controversy and yet again fans are calling for him to be fed to Derrick Lewis, which realistically is a ridiculous notion. A man with three fights in the UFC, two wins and one loss has absolutely no business in the octagon with the #5 ranked heavyweight in the world. Let alone being allowed to bypass the entire #15-6 ranked opponents who are all looking for their shot.
I would argue he doesn’t even deserve a ranked opponent next but will he get one? Yes. The UFC will hand him to a ranked opponent because he draws a crowd, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. With that in mind, I think he should be put across from Blagoy Ivanov.
Currently on a two fight win streak against Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa, with his latest win just last month the timing could work out well. If he manages to pass through that challenge, perhaps we could look into the top ten but arguing for a top five opponent now, or even after the next fight is absurd.
Walt Harris defeats Aleksei Oleinik via first round KO
Walt Harris looked across the octagon towards ranked #9 Aleksei Oleinik and took exactly twelve seconds to catch him and turn off those lights.
As I touched on earlier, anything passed the top five of the heavyweight division is relatively stagnant and match ups are much more difficult to come across. The one that jumps out here, to me at least, is Alistair Overeem.
Coming off a win himself, back in April of this year against none other than Aleksei Oleinik via a round one KO but still trying to build up another momentum to challenge that top five again the opportunity for both fighters could be enormous.
Walt Harris has the ability to break into that top ten but at the age of thirty-six he needs to move quickly and a win with a UFC veteran like Overeem next to it is one way to get things moving fast.
Leon Edwards defeats Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision
Our main event went the distance this weekend and once again proving why there is such a hype around Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards, now on an eight fight win streak and the last three being Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and now Rafael Dos Anjos it’s impossible to deny this man’s ability to get to, and remain and the very top of that welterweight division.
Obviously, as pretty much anyone could have predicted Edwards called out Jorge Masvidal after their backstage spat at UFC London. Realistically, in my opinion that shouldn’t really be the next fight to make for either fighter. Obviously Edwards is going to want to jump the queue and fight the ranked #3 but it makes no sense for Masvidal as he’ll be looking for the title shot.
For me, the answer is Santiago Ponzinibbio. Also a man on a seven fight win streak and looking for his eighth and with his last three opponents being Gunnar Nelson, Mike Perry and Neil Magny it seems inevitable that these two are going to have to cancel each other out in the race for that top five. Currently ranked #8, this is a huge opportunity for Edwards to springboard up the rankings and an opportunity for Ponzinibbio to take out some competition before facing off against one of the top five.