In the culmination of a card that could well go down as the event of the year, Tyron Woodley provided a stark reminder of why he has held the UFC welterweight title for over two years.
In a near flawless performance, Woodley dropped his dangerous challenger in Darren Till before locking in a d’arce choke to secure his fourth successful title defence. With such a dominant showing, Woodley should start to receive the respect he deserves from everyone in MMA and he could well enter the conversation for pound-for-pound greats in the sports current climate.
Elsewhere at UFC 228, Jessica Andrade put down a massive marker to strawweight champion Rose Namajunas as the Brazilian landed a flush knockout blow on Karolina Kowalkiewicz while Abdul Razak Alhassan opened up the main card in similar circumstances against Niko Price.
With nine finishes on a 13 fight card, a plethora of top-drawer performances and both Diego Sanchez and Jim Miller rolling back the years, UFC 228 should keep the promotions matchmakers busy in the upcoming weeks.
As a small favour to Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby though, here are five fights to make with the Dallas, Texas events biggest winners:
Tyron Woodley vs Colby Covington
While it may not have been the fight most wanted to see between two talented strikers, Tyron Woodley’s pure dominance over Darren Till should go a long way to help peoples understanding of just how good a fighter he is.
With an impeccable fight IQ to accompany his freak athleticism, Woodley has now racked off a seven-fight unbeaten streak in arguably the sports deepest division.
As a result of Woodley’s latest victory, there really is only one place to turn to in regards to his next title challenger.
With Colby Covington winning an albeit unneeded interim title, the belt bestowed on ‘Chaos’ should essentially act as a number one contendership.
Add in their budding rivalry and Woodley vs Covington is unequivocally the fight to make.
Jessica Andrade vs Rose Namajunas
With a monstrous right hook, Jessica Andrade cemented her position as next in line for Rose Namajunas’ strawweight title.
Since losing a title challenge to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017, Andrade has chalked off three straight wins over fellow title contenders and her KO of Kowalkiewicz was the rubber stamp needed for her next crack at UFC gold.
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Josh Emmett
While he is still yet to face any real elite fighters in his UFC tenure, it’s easy to see that Zabit Magomedsharipov can vie with the best at 145 lbs.
With a nasty kneebar over short-notice replacement Brandon Davis, Magomedsharipov has now finished 13 of his 16 career wins inside the distance and continues to showcase his impressive well-rounded skillset.
While the UFC will probably look to re-book a match-up with his originally scheduled opponent for UFC 228 in Yair Rodriguez, a fight with a higher ranked opponent should be on the cards for ‘Zabeast’.
With Josh Emmett currently ranked #8 in the UFC’s featherweight rankings, a bout between the two would help to clear out the division in terms of true future title contenders.
Jimmie Rivera vs Aljamain Sterling
While it may not have been the best fight on the card, Jimmie Rivera’s unanimous decision win over John Dodson was a much-needed one for ‘El Terror’.
After seeing his 20-fight win streak come to an end inside 40 seconds to Marlon Moraes earlier this year, Rivera got back onto the horse against a frustrating opponent and emerged victorious.
With Rivera needing to gain momentum before potentially challenging for the bantamweight title, the 29-year old should take on another fighter looking to burst into that elite class in a talent-stacked division.
With Aljamain Sterling recording a big win over Cody Stamann earlier in the night via kneebar, a fight between Sterling and Rivera would help to clear out the division if correctly spaced out.
Tatiana Suarez vs Herrig/Waterson Winner
Holding a professional record of 7-0, Tatiana Suarez has drawn comparisons to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and it is easy to see why following her third-round TKO over Carla Esparza.
Through relentless pressure and an unforgiving top game, Suarez battered away at former champion Esparza and barely gave her room to breathe.
Personally, I think it’s a matter of time before Suarez becomes a champion in the UFC and she should need one more fight to hold her over while Namajunas defends her title against the undeniable Andrade.
While a five-round bout with Joanna Jedrzejczyk would make for a must-watch contest, I’d like to see Jedrzejczyk battle with Valentina Shevchenko for the now vacant flyweight title.
With little else at the top of the 115 lbs division, the winner of the upcoming Felice Herrig vs Michelle Waterson would make for smart matchmaking.