The UFC’s return to schedule continued on Wednesday night and with it brought a sometimes uncomfortable beatdown in its main event.
After landing a big uppercut following by a flush left hook, Glover Teixeira took over his fight against Anthony Smith in the third round and continually landed punishing blows until a fifth-round TKO.
With Smith struggling throughout the final ten minutes, even having his knocked out teeth handed to the referee, his corner ignored the damage their fighter was taking before a merciful referee waved off the contest in the final stanza.
Elsewhere at UFC Fight Night 171, Drew Dober continued his impressive run in the lightweight division at the expense of Alexander Hernandez while Ben Rothwell and Ricky Simon staved off opponents moving up in weight class.
With yet another UFC event approaching this Saturday night, here are five quick fights for the UFC matchmakers to consider with the winners of Wednesday’s Jacksonville, Florida event:
Glover Teixeira vs. Jan Blachowicz
At 40 years old, Glover Teixeira continues to be a top contender in the light heavyweight division.
Whether that says more about the quality of the weight class or the fighter himself can be debated but nevertheless, Teixeira is currently on a four-fight winning streak with his latest victory.
As a result of his impressive ‘W’, Teixeira should be placed into another match-up at the top end of the division and a fight with Jan Blachowicz would make sense for both parties.
Ben Rothwell vs. Ciryl Gane
While ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell called out Aleksei Oleinik for his next match-up, I think that fight would be a fair step down for the Russian.
Instead, a match-up between Rothwell and rising star Ciryl Gane would test both men as they look to the top 15.
Drew Dober vs. Al Iaquinta
After an inconsistent start to his UFC career, Drew Dober has developed into one of the lightweight division’s fastest rising stars.
With big power and an exciting fighting style, Dober will likely enter the top 15 at 155 lbs after defeating Alexander Hernandez via TKO.
With his newfound form, Dober deserves a big name in the lightweight division and a fight with Al Iaquinta would give that opportunity.
Ricky Simon vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Edging out Ray Borg on the judges’ scorecards, Ricky Simon put himself back into the win column on Wednesday night.
With the bantamweight division filled to the brim with quality talent, a decent winning streak is needed to climb into the top 15.
Due to Merab Dvalishvili occupying a similar position at 135 lbs as Simon, a fight between the two would guarantee fireworks.
Brian Kelleher vs. Sean O'Malley
Picking up his second straight stoppage win, Brian Kelleher provided another reminder of why he is one of the most fun fighters to watch in the UFC.
While his win over Hunter Azure was at the featherweight limit, Kelleher offered a call out of bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley following his second-round KO win and that fight would make sense.
O’Malley is in need of fights of a tough calibre after losing time through suspension and Kelleher would offer that difficulty in spades.