As is seemingly the case with every UFC card that looks weak on paper, UFC Fight Night 137 delivered 10 stoppage victories from a 14 fight card.
Headlined by a middleweight bout without the weight cut, Thiago Santos sent the Brazilian fans home happy on Saturday night as a barrage of elbows at the end of the third round saw his opponent Eryk Anders’ body give out after a gruelling bout on six days notice.
Elsewhere on the main card of UFC: Sao Paolo, Alex Oliveira made quick work of Carlo Pedersoli, ‘Lil Nog’ scored a TKO victory over Sam Alvey and former bantamweight champion Renan Barao lost his third fight in a row after being on the wrong end of a split-decision to promotional newcomer Andre Ewell.
The preliminary cards of Saturday’s event also saw big wins for the likes of Sergio Moraes, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and a record-breaking submission for Charles Oliveira while Evan Dunham and Thales Leites brought a close to their respective careers.
With a two-week hiatus now in play before the monumental UFC 229, here are five fights for the UFC matchmakers to consider for the Brazilian winners of UFC Fight Night 137:
Thiago Santos vs Ion Cutelaba
Recording his sixth stoppage from his last seven victories, it can be said for sure that Thiago Santos hits hard.
After teeing off with elbows in the clinch, Santos’ repeated blows to Eryk Anders caused the former college American Football stars legs to give out twice en route to his corner prompting Marc Goddard to call off the bout.
With his first win at the 205 lbs limit chalked off, Santos should probably stay at light heavyweight for the time being and see how he fairs without a bigger weight cut.
A match-up with fellow heavy hitter in the form of Moldovan Ion Cutelaba would make for an interesting litmus test for ‘Marreta’.
Alex Oliveira vs Leon Edwards
Despite a late change in opponent after Neil Magny was moved fight cards by the UFC, Alex Oliveira put in a professional performance as his gulf in class from Carlo Pedersoli took only 39 seconds to show itself.
With only a loss to Yancy Medeiros in his last eight fights, Oliveira deserves to fight someone higher in the rankings and Leon Edwards would make for a compelling contest.
Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev
With his 11th submission win, Charles Oliveira is the new promotional record holder for submission wins after edging ahead of the legendary Royce Gracie.
Despite ‘Do Bronx’ being eager for a return to featherweight, Oliveira should stay at the 155 lbs limit for his own good and start to look at climbing into the top 15 of a talent-stacked division.
With Islam Makhachev also hovering around the all-important UFC rankings, a matchup between the two could see the winner have a magical number next to his name when its all said and done.
Francisco Trinaldo vs Gregor Gillespie
At 40-years of age, Francisco Trinaldo continues to rack up the wins in the lightweight division.
With a beautifully timed knee to Evan Dunham’s body, ‘Massaranduba’ left the retiring Dunham rolling in agony and earned his ninth win in his last 11 bouts.
While it’s more than unlikely that Trinaldo has enough in the tank to make a run for the title, the UFC should use the sneaky veteran as a gatekeeper to the top end of the 155 lbs division.
With Gregor Gillespie on a tear but without a notable name on his resume, a fight between the two would make a lot of sense for both the two fighters and the promotion.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs Abdul Razak Alhassan
Going by his nickname of ‘Capoeira’ as opposed to his rather long surname, Elizeu ‘Capoeira’ earned his sixth straight victory at welterweight with a KO of Luigi Vendramini after landing a flying knee and punches against the cage.
The Brazilian is struggling to make a name for himself under the UFC banner due to fight placements but one easy way to rectify that problem is a guaranteed firefight with a fellow big hitter at 170 lbs.
With Abdul Razak Alhassan also knocking dudes out all over the place, a mouth-watering bout between the two to open up a PPV would be a very welcome sight.