Despite a few expected lulling moments, UFC Fight Night 146 provided a lot of exciting fights and finishes – none more so than in the main event.
With two of the heavyweight divisions hardest hitters pitting against each other in Derrick Lewis and Junior dos Santos, it was the latter who emerged victorious thanks to his patient and more diverse skill set.
Celebrating his sons birthday in the process, the former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is now on a three-fight winning streak and will be looking at regaining his UFC title in the near future.
UFC Fight Night 146 also saw Dos Santos’ countryman Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos continue his own impressive run in the welterweight division, Niko Price pull off a comeback KO win and Beneil Dariush snatch up his seventh career submission win.
With the UFC gearing up for a return to London this upcoming Saturday, here are five fights that the promotion should be making with the big winners at the UFC’s debut in Kansas:
Junior Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou
In spite of Derrick Lewis’ notorious one-punch knockout power, Junior dos Santos routinely waded into range against his dangerous foe and found the finish in the process come the second round.
‘Cigano’ is now on a three-fight winning streak in the heavyweight division and there is only one way to turn for his next fight.
With Stipe Miocic seemingly more than happy to sit out until he is called upon for a championship rematch, JDS and Francis Ngannou would provide a definitive number one contender bout while the UFC waits on Brock Lesnar’s return for champion Daniel Cormier’s next title defence.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Edwards/Nelson Winner
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos quickly proved there was a gulf in class on the ground against Curtis Millender as the Brazilian submitted Millender inside one round and chalked off his seventh successive win in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Zaleski shouldn’t accept anything other than a top 10 opponent for his next bout thanks to his impressive run, and with the #10 ranked Leon Edwards set to take on Gunnar Nelson this Saturday, the winner should be next in line for ‘Capoeira’.
Niko Price vs. Mike Perry
Despite looking to be on shaky legs, Niko Price’s big power held up against Tim Means as ‘The Hybrid’ landed a thudding KO blow with just 10 seconds left of the first round.
Price’s power in the welterweight division will always allow the 29-year old to be in with a chance at winning at all moments and it also allows for Price to continually be in fun fights.
With Mike Perry a fellow crowd-pleaser, a match-up between the two big hitters would be a must-watch affair.
Beneil Dariush vs. Dan Hooker
Rallying back from a fair few dangerous situations on the feet, Beneil Dariush’s grappling ability swung the fight with Drew Dober in his favour en route to a nasty looking second-round armbar submission win.
Dariush has remained a top 25 fighter in the lightweight division for the majority of his UFC tenure but his victory over Dober wasn’t the most commanding of wins to allow Dariush to look into the top 15 for his next outing.
Instead, a fight with Dan Hooker would put the winner back into top 15 contention and provide a high-quality match-up in the process.
Anthony Rocco Martin vs. Geoff Neal
Anthony Rocco Martin rattled off his fourth straight win since moving up to the welterweight division on Saturday night as he earned a unanimous decision win over the dangerous Sergio Moraes.
Martin is now 7-1 in his last eight fights in the UFC and he is more than deserving of another step-up in competition.
With a call-out for ‘the toughest guy in the world’ echoing in the arena, the UFC should look no further than Geoff Neal who briefly earned a top 15 spot at the beginning of the year.