With UFC 227 headlined by two blockbuster rematches, Saturday night brought with it two monumental title victories.
In the first title fight of the night, Henry Cejudo squeaked by Demetrious Johnson via split-decision to put an end to ‘Mighty Mouse’s’ inaugural and six-year long flyweight title reign.
Meanwhile in the headline bout, TJ Dillashaw put an emphatic end for the time being on his rivalry with Cody Garbrandt as the bantamweight champion knocked out his former teammate for the second time.
Elsewhere at UFC 227, Renato Moicano produced another dominant performance as the breakout Brazilian star submitted Cub Swanson; Pedro Munhoz defeated Brett Johns in a three-round brawl and Alex Perez put on a relentless pace to knock out the highly touted Jose Torres in the first-round.
With UFC 227 now in the books and a nice two-week break until Justin Gaethje vs James Vick, here are five fights for the UFC matchmakers to mull over for the night’s big winners:
TJ Dillashaw vs Marlon Moraes
An immediate title rematch for Cody Garbrandt seemed to be a peculiar choice by the UFC and with history repeating itself, the UFC has set a potential star back a long way.
For TJ Dillashaw however, the bantamweight champion can continue to stake his claim as the greatest bantamweight in history. With his brilliant footwork, exquisite striking and wrestling base, Dillashaw can easily become an all-time great if he holds onto the 135 lbs belt for a considerable amount of time.
With a host of challengers in waiting though, Dillashaw will have his work cut out for himself but Marlon Moraes should be next in line.
The former WSOF champion can feel aggrieved to not have an unbeaten UFC record after a dubious split-decision loss to Raphael Assuncao on his promotional debut but since his only career loss at bantamweight, the Brazilian has chalked off wins against John Dodson, Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera.
Dillashaw vs Moraes is the fight the UFC should make.
Henry Cejudo vs Demetrious Johnson III
Personally, I don’t think Henry Cejudo should have won the flyweight title at UFC 227.
While four of the five rounds seem to be unanimously agreed upon by all (Rounds 1 & 3 Johnson, 4 & 5 Cejudo), the second round seems to be the one up for contention.
With Johnson out landing Cejudo 30 to 19 in strikes, Cejudo’s minute of top control seemingly swayed two of the judges to award ‘The Messenger’ the round. The problem however, is that under the new unified rules, control with no damage or active passing shouldn’t be looked upon favourably and Johnson’s effective striking should have earned him the nod.
Despite the dubious decision, with Johnson now dethroned after 11 title defences, if ever there was a former champion deserving of an immediate rematch, ‘Mighty Mouse’ is deserving and then some.
Renato Moicano vs Jose Aldo
Defeating Cub Swanson is no easy feat yet Renato Moicano made it look like a cake walk in his opponent’s backyard.
Whisper it quietly but Moicano could easily be a future champion.
Now despite a call-out of Brian Ortega, Moicano shouldn’t be catapulted into a title match or a rematch with ‘T-City’ just yet. Instead a possible changing of the guard should be on tap.
With Jose Aldo recording a much-needed win over Jeremy Stephens last week, a meeting of Brazilian legend and Brazilian prospect would make for a fascinating contest.
Pedro Munhoz vs Alejandro Perez
Pedro Munhoz earned his fifth win in his last six fights at UFC 227 with a barn-burning bout with Brett Johns.
With both men standing in the pocket for the majority of the bout, Munhoz’s kicks to the lead leg and body shut down Johns and he could have earned a stoppage victory if he really pursued it.
With most of the fighters sitting above Munhoz in the rankings already scheduled for contests with one another, a match-up with the #12 ranked Alejandro Perez would provide the winner with a top ten opponent and some real momentum heading forward.
Alex Perez vs Ulka Sasaki
In the space of 3:36, Alex Perez threw a remarkable 166 strikes en route to his first round KO of Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres.
As a comparison, both Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo threw just over 170 each in a five-round fight.
With Perez recording a massive win and doing so in electric fashion, the flyweight fighter should be looking at the top 15 at 125 lbs.
With Ulka Sasaki sitting at #15 and recently recording a submission win, a bout between Perez and Sasaki would make all the sense for both men.