Overshadowed on the schedule by the monster of an event that was UFC 214, UFC’s Mexico City event looked very fun on paper and delivered beyond measure in actuality. The fight tied something called a “Modern Era UFC Record” with a ridiculous seven first round finishes-the first three by submission, last four by knockout. The final two matches saw Alexa Grasso edge out Randa Markos and Sergio Pettis overcome a rough first round to decision Brandon Moreno in two excellent fights to close the show.
But as we tend to ask when events like this are done-What Comes Next? The outcome of this show will surely make UFC fans want to see many of these guys (and gals) again as soon as possible, and with how quick some of these fights ended, quick turnarounds aren’t out of the question. Five fights quickly popped into my head as I reflected on the card the next day, and for some of them, I wasn’t the only one…
Joseph Morales versus Dustin Ortiz
Discovered on the latest episode of “Dana White: Lookin’ For A Fight,” the undefeated Team Alpha Male product Morales had one of the more hyped UFC debuts this year. He was not given a soft touch for his debut either as he faced undefeated Roberto Sanchez, a good young fighter from Houston, Texas who showed his prowess by immediately taking Morales down. But after slowly yet expertly working his way to his feet, Morales showed the hype was warranted, quickly dropping Sanchez with a right hand and finishing him off with a rear naked choke.
Morales shouldn’t have to look hard for his next opponent. Several fights later, Ortiz, the UFC’s #12 flyweight faced Morales’ teammate, Hector Sandoval. Coming off two straight wins, I thought Sandoval might score the upset, but Ortiz was not having that. These two came right at each other, and Ortiz quickly hurt Sandoval with right hand and followed up for a smashing fifteen second knockout victory, the fastest in UFC flyweight history.
The thought here is let’s see how good Morales is here. Let’s put him against a ranked fighter coming off a big win, and see how he can hang. Ortiz had gone 2-4 in his last six, including a submission loss to Moreno in his last fight, so it’s not an inconceivable jump. Plus, I’m sure Team Alpha Male and Morales wouldn’t mind getting a little revenge. Seems am easy fight to book to me.
Sam Alvey versus Vitor Belfort
We all know a guy like Sam Alvey. He’s the guy who so enthusiastic about everything that you just one want to slap him sometimes, but is so nice that you can’t help but like him. You also have to like that he has become the UFC’s most active fighter, fighting six times in thirteen months. With a close decision win this week against former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, Alvey has won five of his last six. In the cage, Alvey is a little hard to figure out. He seems like he fights to the pace of his opponent, meaning if you go slow, he’ll go slow too. But maybe he’s just making you fight his pace and you don’t it. Once he got the decision over Evans, I thought “Man, he’d be a perfect guy to fight Vitor Belfort.”
One person has already joined me in that line of thinking Vitor Belfort, who called Alvey out Sunday on Twitter. Belfort is coming off a win over Nate Marquardt in June, the same man Alvey out pointed in January. Alvey will be more than happy to accommodate Belfort’s slow pace of fighting and has good enough head movement to avoid Belfort’s big explosions. Plus, as painful it is for some fans to watch, beating legends of the sport like Belfort still means something to fighters, just ask Yair Rodriguez, Michael Bisping, or Kelvin Gastelum. Lucky for Belfort, Alvey will fight on Mars if you let him, so going to Brazil to fight would be no issue. Everyone wins with this matchup.
Niko Price versus “Cowboy” Alex Oliveria
Price made his UFC debut on short notice last December, choking out the always vulnerable on the ground Brandon Thatch. He followed in up in February with another short notice win against Alex Morono, knocking out the more experienced fighter in his hometown of Houston. I thought Price was in over his head a little bit against the more experienced Alan Joubin, but Price caught him with some big shots and finished him in less than two minutes. Price has proven himself to be a guy who will fight anyone, anytime, and likes to finish fights-the kind of fighter every fan likes.
When I thought of who he could fight next, one name came at me like a lightning bolt-The Brazilian Cowboy, Alex Oliveria. Some people were suggesting the other Cowboy for Price, but I think that would be too big of a step-up at this point, not to mention Donald Cerrone may be out for a while with an eye injury after his war with Robbie Lawler, and the only fighter I want to see Cerrone fight right now…is Robbie Lawler. But since being choked out in the first round in the Battle of the Cowboys in January 2016, Oliveria has been on tear, winning four out of five fights. He bounced back from a no-contest against Tim Means in December to choke him out in February in Brazil, and then knocked Ryan LaFlare the hell out two weeks ago in Long Island. These are two guys that love to scrap, both have power, and both are riding winning streaks. It has Fight-or Knockout, of the Night written all over it.
Alexa Grasso versus Angela Hill
The jury seems still be out on Grasso, who won a tough, close decision over Randa Markos that really could have gone either way. Markos controlled her on the ground and worked her over pretty good in spots, but Grasso had a solid enough advantage on the feet to convince the judges, which of course, was a little easier given they were in her home country. Whether Grasso is capable of being the star the UFC needs her to be is still to be seen, and when it comes to this, I’m always one to want throw fighters from the firing pan into the fire.
Enter Angela Hill. Hill is coming off a win over Ashley Yoder in July and had one of the best fights of the year against Jessica Andrade in February. In addition to having maybe the best twitter accounts in all of MMA, Hill is always ready to throw down and may be willing to stand and trade with Grasso all fight long without taking her to ground, which Markos proved was Grasso’s main weakness at the moment.
This fight has the added bonus in that these two were supposed to fight for Hill’s Invicta strawweight title in the Fall of 2016 but Grasso ended up being called up to the UFC, and Hill soon followed. Fans of WMMA have been waiting for this one for a while, and the UFC would do well to give this one to us…
Sergio Pettis versus Henry Cejudo
The younger Pettis brother grew up in front of our eyes in many ways on Saturday night, surviving a rough first round where Brandon Moreno was on his back, a body triangle on, and looking for a choke for several minutes. Pettis survived and for the next four rounds showed great striking, good takedown defense, and a good sense of distance and swept the last four rounds to win a clear decision victory. But in a division ruled by Demetrious Johnson, we must be real, Pettis isn’t ready for Mighty Mouse. No one is.
Enter Cejudo. This fight was supposed to happen at UFC 211 in May, but Cejudo pulled out the week before the fight with a hand injury. Pettis still hasn’t tangled with a top 5 flyweight, despite his best efforts, and Cejudo is the guy that can show us just how good Pettis is. We’d prefer Joseph Benavidez, but he’s still healing from knee surgery. Cejudo will do for now. For now.
image credit- UFC