Three Bantamweight Fights We Need To See After UFC 250
By James Evans
Marlon Moraes Versus Cody Gabrandt:
Last weekend was a redemption fight for Cody Garbrandt. He was on a three-fight skid and was in desperate need of a win. It’s fair to say that Cody proved his doubters wrong after a brilliant performance against Raphael Assuncao.
Garbrandt knocked Assuncao out right at the end of round two in what was a real statement from the former champion. Before Saturday night, Cody had not won a fight since 2016.
The win puts Garbrandt right back in the mix for a title shot. However, before he gets that shot, he may need one more fight.
Marlon Moraes is that guy that Cody needs. Many will think that it should be Moraes versus Yan for the title, but the UFC gave the shot to Aldo, despite the former featherweight champion coming up short in his fight with Moraes.
After his win last weekend, Cody has now moved up to number five in the rankings. Marlon is ranked number one and has won five out of his last six fights. Moraes last fought at UFC 245, in December, where he defeated Aldo, albeit in controversial circumstances. Many observers felt Aldo deserved to have his hand raised.
This is the perfect fight to make. A win for Moraes secures himself as one of the next contenders for the title, and a win for Garbrandt not only proves that he’s definitely back, but also puts him right back in title contention in what is a stacked division.
Aljamain Sterling versus the winner of Yan/Aldo:
Earlier this week, Dana White announced that Petr Yan will fight Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 251.
Essentially, the fight between Sterling and Cory Sandhagen was a title eliminator. The winner got the next shot. Many thought that it would go the distance, but someone had to step up to prove that they were truly worthy of a shot.
Aljamain was the one who stepped up. The “Funk Master” submitted Sandhagen inside two minutes last weekend. Sterling is now unbeaten in five and has won seven of his last eight fights. He’s had to really change his game in recent years and the hard work is finally paying off.
Whoever wins next month will prove to be a tough challenge for Sterling. Yan is undefeated in the UFC, 6:0. Aldo, on the other hand needs no introduction. He’s the former UFC featherweight champion, capable of anything on his day. However, he’s 2:4 in his last six fights.
Sean O’Malley versus John Dodson:
The final fight on this list is Sean O’Malley versus John Dodson.
After his vicious knockout victory over Eddie Wineland this past weekend, O’Malley finally finds himself in the UFC bantamweight rankings. O’Malley looks a star in the making.
He’s now 12:0, and he gets better with every fight. However, he now needs to fight a fellow ranked opponent. John Dodson is the perfect fight for O’Malley, at number 13 in the rankings Dodson seems to be the right opponent at the right time.
Dodson, 35, is a real veteran of the sport and will be a tough test for O’Malley. Dodson has defeated the likes of TJ Dillashaw, Jussier Formiga and Pedro Munhoz. Dodson has been in with the best that the bantamweight has to offer, O’Malley needs these types of fights.
With that being said, there’s no denying that O’Malley is a real talent. He’s a big bantamweight, with such a unique fighting style, his record includes nine stoppages in his 12 career fights. The rise of O’Malley looks set to continue.