Two title fights went down at UFC 227 live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. It was another great night of fights in the City of Angels.
Here are my matches to make for the winners and losers of the main card…
TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt via first-round TKO (4:10)
TJ Dillashaw retained his UFC bantamweight championship in the main event by knocking out rival Cody Garbrandt in the first-round. Dillashaw makes the score 2-0 and showed his class with another sensational performance.
The former Team Alpha Male star showed why he is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and cemented himself as one of the best bantamweights in UFC history. His next fight should be against Marlon Moraes. With Cruz injured, the Brazilian is next in line after racking three straight wins including impressive finishes against Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. Despite the call out from Henry Cejudo, Moraes is the fight to make.
Garbrandt again showed his weaknesses in this fight – he let emotions get the better of him and allowed Dillashaw to pick his shots. His next opponent should be Raphael Assuncao. The Brazilian has pieced together a four-fight win streak since losing to Dillashaw and a win over the former champion would firmly put him in the title picture.
MATCHES TO MAKE: Dillashaw vs Moraes | Garbrandt vs Assuncao
Henry Cejudo def. Demetrious Johnson via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Henry Cejudo shocked the world in the co-main event by dethroning Demetrious Johnson to become the new flyweight king. Just two years after losing in under three minutes, Cejudo showed the improvements he has made in such a short space of time. In an extremely close fight, he done enough to get his hand raised to become only the second UFC flyweight champion.
Many fans were desperate to see Johnson move up to fight Dillashaw but the fight never materialised. Cejudo immediately called out the 135lb champ after winning the belt but it’s a fight that doesn’t make sense. Instead, an immediate rematch is the right call to make.
‘Mighty Mouse’ had defended the title a record 11 times and the fight was extremely close to call. Making the trilogy is the only move to make.
MATCHES TO MAKE: Cejudo vs Johnson 3
Renato Moicano def. Cub Swanson via first-round submission (4:15)
Renato Moicano emerged as a top contender in the featherweight division with an impressive first-round submission over veteran Cub Swanson. Moicano dropped his opponent early on with an excellent jab and quickly finished the fight via rear-naked choke before the round ended.
The Brazilian has now won five of his six fights in the UFC, his only loss coming at the hands of Brian Ortega. If he went under the radar before this fight, he won’t be unknown for much longer. His two straight wins has put him firmly in the title race. His next fight could be against Chad Mendes who recently returned to action to knockout Miles Jury.
Swanson has now lost three fights in a row and a title shot will allude him yet again. He remains an extremely talented fighter and a fan favourite. He is just out of reach of the division’s elite but will remain in the rankings. A fight against Darren Elkins would be a barn burner.
MATCHES TO MAKE: Moicano vs Mendes | Swanson vs Elkins
JJ Aldrich def. Polyana Viana via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
JJ Aldrich cruised to a unanimous decision against jiu-jitsu specialist Polyana Viana in her first UFC main card appearance. She defended extremely well off her back and kept her opponent at distance with kicks. She scored with punches from range to get the nod from the judges.
Her performance probably didn’t do enough to propel her into the strawweight rankings, but she is well on her way to cracking the top 15. Her next fight could be against Ashley Yoder who last fought at UFC 222 where she lost a split decision to Mackenzie Dern.
This was a match up made for Viana to win and emerge as a prospect in the 115lb division. She was unable to take the fight to the ground and work submissions. She could face Amanda Cooper next who was submitted by Dern at UFC 223.
MATCHES TO MAKE: Aldrich vs Yoder | Viana vs Cooper
Thiago Santos def. Kevin Holland via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Kicking off the main card was an exciting middleweight fight where Thiago Santos took home a unanimous decision win over Kevin Holland. Santos’ striking was excellent and he dealt some significant damage on the mat. Holland was unable to deal much damage but earned plenty of fans following his performance.
It was a risky fight for Santos to take given Holland was making his UFC debut and was unranked. Nevertheless, he looked good and indicated he would be ready to step in on short notice for the end of year cards. His next opponent could be Brad Tavares who recently lost against the surging Israel Adesanya.
Holland was unable to get his hand raised but earned plenty of praise for his performance. He looked massively undersized at middleweight and a move to welterweight could be the right place. Holland should be given another shot to impress on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
MATCHES TO MAKE: Santos vs Tavares | Holland to DWTNS
What matches would you make after UFC 227? Comment and let us know!