While UFC Fight Night 188 wasn’t exactly a fight card that saw exciting finishes throughout, Saturday’s event did see some important wins at the top end of the UFC’s rankings.
Starting with the headline act, Rob Font would solidify his position in the top five at 135 lbs as the 33-year old handily defeated former champion Cody Garbrandt on the judges’ scorecards.
Now holding a four-fight winning streak in a shark tank of a division, Font will likely be one more victory away from a title shot of his own.
Meanwhile in the co-main event, Carla Esparza may well have put the final touches on her own case for a title challenge as ‘The Cookie Monster’ dominated Yan Xiaonan on the mat before a second-round TKO.
UFC Fight Night 188 would also see impressive wins for ranked contenders Jack Hermansson and David Dvorak in their respective weight classes so with another quick turnaround in store for the promotion, here are five fights for the matchmakers to jot down with Saturday’s big winners:
Rob Font vs. Aldo / Munhoz Winner
Showcasing his slick striking, Font would dictate the pace and distance of his first UFC main event to make it four victories in a row.
Due to the muddled title picture of the bantamweight division at the moment, Font will likely have to record one more victory before being granted a shot at the 135 lbs championship.
If spaced out correctly, a fight with the winner of the upcoming Jose Aldo – Pedro Munhoz clash at UFC 265 could act as a decisive title eliminator.
Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas II
Dominating the grappling against Yan Xiaonan, Carla Esparza would make an emphatic statement in a bid to regain the strawweight championship.
As the inaugural 125 lbs champion, it has now been six years since ‘Cookie Monster’ fought for UFC gold and her five-fight winning streak should be enough for a title shot.
With Esparza defeating Rose Namajunas to become the first UFC strawweight champion, a rematch between the two would have an extra layer of narrative to an already intriguing clash of styles.
Norma Dumont vs. Amanda Nunes
Outstriking Felicia Spencer, Norma Dumont would defeat Felicia Spencer over a 15-minute decision.
While Dumont has jumped between the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, her win at 145 lbs essentially puts her as the #1 contender for Amanda Nunes title.
With Nunes keen on keeping her double champion status, a title fight for Dumont may be too big of an opportunity to turn down.
Jack Hermansson vs. Hall / Strickland Winner
After a tough first round against Edmen Shahbazyan’s accurate striking, Jack Hermansson would change tack from then on and controlled his opponent on the mat.
With a pressuring ground-and-pound game to go with his strong jiu-jitsu skills, Hermansson would dominate the final round to secure a unanimous decision win.
Now 2-2 in his last four bouts, Hermansson should look to regain some consistency at 185 lbs before looking up in the rankings.
As Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland are set to fight at UFC 265, the winner of that fight would catapult the winner into a bout with a top 5 opponent.
David Dvorak vs. Matheus Nicolau
Snatching up a first-round submission win against late notice opponent Juancamilo Ronderos, David Dvorak made it 3-0 in his UFC career.
Ranked as a top 15 flyweight contender, a smart match-up for Dvorak’s next bout would be to pair him up with another 125 lbs fighter who has the same promotional record.
With Brazilian Matheus Nicolau also 3-0 inside of the octagon, a fight between the two would set apart a real dark horse fighter in the flyweight division.