In the UFC’s final show of the Fox era, it was Al Iaquinta who will be remembered for standing tall against Kevin Lee and putting his name firmly amongst the best in the lightweight division.
With many tipping KEvin Lee to continue to show his potential, Iaquinta’s slick boxing and ability to keep the fight standing ensured that ‘Ragin’ Al’ defeated ‘The Motown Phenom’ for the second time.
UFC on Fox 31 would also see Edson Barboza remind fans of his electric striking ability as his speed and power overwhelmed a too tough for his own good Dan Hooker.
The Milwaukee event also saw big wins for the likes of Rob Font in the bantamweight division and a quick submission victory for Charles Oliveira on the four-fight main card.
With only one more event until the end of 2018, the UFC and its fans can relax for holidays but not before considering these five fights to make with the biggest winners of UFC on Fox 31:
Al Iaquinta vs. Dustin Poirier
After just two fights since 2015 with very different circumstances, Al Iaquinta was somewhat of an unknown quantity in the lightweight division.
With a full training camp against a top-tier contender, however, Iaquinta proved that he can very much hang with the best at 155 lbs as he defeated Kevin Lee for the second time.
Following ‘Ragin’ Al’s’ big win, he more than likely has a lot of high-ranked opponents available to him with little progress being made at the top of the lightweight division.
Working on the assumption that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson should fight each other next, a fight between Dustin Poirier and Iaquinta would keep both fighters busy and help to clear out the backlog of title hopefuls.
Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje
Edson Barboza produced a trademark performance against Dan Hooker on Saturday as the remarkable speed of his kicks was on full display.
Winning via a third-round body punch after battering away at Hooker’s torso, the Brazilian snapped a two-fight losing streak after defeats to Nurmagemov and Lee.
With Justin Gaethje also snapping a two-fight losing streak recently, the prospect of a Barboza – Gaethje bout is simply too tempting to turn away.
Rob Font vs. Alejandro Perez
Tasked with taking on a fellow technical stand-up fighter, Rob Font’s size, power and work behind the jab was too much for the home crowd hero Sergio Pettis.
Font has now hovered around the top 10 of the bantamweight division for a while and with Alejandro Perez knocking of the door, Font should be the one to act as a gatekeeper for the Mexican fighter.
Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush
Charles Oliviera made quick work of Jim Miller in the main card opener of UFC on Fox 31 as the Brazilian extended his current record of promotional submission wins to 12.
‘Do Bronx’ is currently in a weird battle with the UFC as he looks to drop down to the featherweight division but his history of failed weight cuts has rightfully given the promotion pause.
With a current three-fight win streak at lightweight, Oliveira should continue at 155 lbs and take on Beneil Dariush, another fighter who sits just outside the top 15.
Jack Hermansson vs. Antonio Carlos Jr
With a 5-2 record in the UFC and just one of those fights going the distance, Jack Hermansson has made a habit of producing exciting fights.
After defeating Gerald Meerschaert with a first-round submission, Hermansson is now on a two-fight win streak and his standing will have raised a fair amount in a fairly shallow division.
Due to Antonio Carlos Junior being absent for the majority of 2018, a fight between Hermansson and ‘Shoeface’ early next year would make sense with the winner facing a ranked opponent.