The UFC made their first visit to Denmark on Saturday and left with a new contender in the middleweight division.
Taking just over five minutes to get the job done, Jared Cannonier continued his great start at 185 lbs as he scored a TKO win over ‘The Joker’ Jack Hermansson, his third consecutive stoppage victory.
Cannonier has now defeated David Branch, Anderson Silva and Hermansson inside two rounds since dropping down to middleweight and ‘The Killa Gorilla’ could well be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Elsewhere at UFC Fight Night 160, Danish former Olympian Mark Madsen put on a destructive performance in his promotional debut, fellow Dane Nicolas Dalby returned to the UFC in triumphant fashion and Ovince Saint Preux added yet another ‘Von Flue’ choke to his resume – all but securing a change of name to the submission to the ‘Von Preux’.
With a solid night of fights in the books and a monumental middleweight unification title fight next week, here are five fights that the UFC matchmakers should jot down in their notepads:
Jared Cannonier vs. Gastelum / Till Winner
Jared Cannonier’s impressive run at the middleweight limit has come at a great time for the once heavyweight fighter.
With the likes of long-time contenders ‘Jacare’ Souza, Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman leaving the division, a vacuum has emerged at the top end of the 185 lbs rankings.
After scoring his excellent TKO win over Jack Hermansson, Cannonier will likely be a top-five fighter once the UFC’s rankings are updated.
With the middleweight division set for a unification bout this Saturday and Paulo Costa likely for the next shot after that, Cannonier will be expected to take on one more fight before securing a title shot of his own.
As Kelvin Gastelum prepares to take on Darren Till in November, the winner of that bout would make a lot of sense in a #1 contender bout in early-to-mid 2020.
Gilbert Burns vs. Michael Chiesa
Taking another tough fight on short-notice, Gilbert Burns picked up a unanimous decision win over Gunnar Nelson for his fourth straight win.
Burns is now 2-0 since returning to welterweight earlier this year and with Michael Chiesa making a similar move, a fight between the two would pit two well-rounded fighters on the outskirts of the top 15 against one another.
Ion Cutelaba vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Ion Cutelaba made use of his grappling advantage against Khalil Rountree Jr. in quick fashion as a slew of takedown attempts allowed him to ground the explosive striker and land some punishing ground-and-pound en route to a first-round TKO.
Another fighter who made use of their grappling on Saturday was Ovince Saint Preux as the experienced light heavyweight continued to stun pundits and fans alike by adding another ‘Von Preux’ choke to his tally.
With the two 205 lbers yet to face off against one another, a fight between the pair would allow the winner to potentially climb into the top 10 in an improving weight class.
Nicolas Dalby vs. Belal Muhammad
Tasked with the ever-dangerous Alex Oliveira upon his return to the UFC, Nicolas Dalby squeaked by the Brazilian on the scorecards – perhaps thanks to a very questionable stand-up in the third round by the referee.
Nevertheless, Dalby’s feel-good story can continue forwards and the Danish fighter showed his improving skillset in the process of getting his hand raised.
With Belal Muhammad putting on a well-rounded performance of his own at UFC 242 earlier this month, a Dalby – Muhammad fight would be a really interesting fight in a densely-packed and competitive welterweight division.
Marc Diakiese vs. Scott Holtzman
Following up on a much-needed win against Joe Duffy, Marc Diakiese put on another impressive performance in Denmark as he outworked Lando Vannata for three-full rounds.
Diakiese now looks to be steadily moving towards his once much-talked-about potential as a fighter and the 26-year old will be looking to make up for lost time after a recent three-fight losing streak.
After Scott Holtzman recorded a big win of his own recently, a fight with the heavy-hitting ‘Hot Sauce’ would continue to test Diakiese’s skillset.