It’s back to the drawing board for Cody Garbrandt after being outworked on the feet for five rounds at UFC Vegas 27. He along with Yan Xiaonan, Edmen Shahbazyan, and a few others will look to bounce back in their next outings.
Despite facing defeat on the UFC Vegas 27 main card, the trio of aforementioned fighters will still find themselves ranked in their respective divisions. Meanwhile, Justin Tafa and Bill Algeo will encounter added pressure as try to find their footing within the promotion. Notably, Felicia Spencer‘s next move is unknown due to the uncertainty surrounding the women’s featherweight division. Nevertheless, all five athletes will have the opportunity to avenge their recent losses.
The Fights To Make!
Cody Garbrandt vs Jimmie Rivera
“No Love” was badly out-struck by Rob Font, plain and simple. The takedowns were moderately effective early on, but in the end, he only landed 3/10 of his attempts. One positive for Garbrandt to take away from this loss is that his chin held up after absorbing 176 significant strikes. Still, that’s three defeats in his last four bouts, making his next fight pivotal for his chances of contending again.
Garbrandt has flirted with the idea of moving down to flyweight so perhaps this defeat will force his hand. However, if he remains at bantamweight matching him up with Jimmie Rivera would make a lot of sense for both parties. Like “No Love”, Rivera has dropped three of his last four bouts. Pairing them up together would pin two desperate, talented competitors up against one another.
Yan Xiaonan vs Nina Nunes
Xiaonan knew coming into her UFC Vegas 27 fight that she would have to stuff Carla Esparza‘s takedowns if she were to have success. Unfortunately for her, she struggled mightily to prevent Esparza from utilizing her wrestling, and once they hit the mat it was a wrap. Xiaonan failed to capitalize on the massive opportunity that was competing in the UFC Vegas 27 co-main event, but she’ll have the chance to rebound strongly.
Nina Nunes returned from maternity leave in April to lose to Mackenzie Dern. Both Xiaonan and Nunes own decision victories over Angela Hill and Claudia Gadelha, making this appear like a very even matchup. Moreover, fighting Nunes will allow Xiaonan to redeem herself against another formidable grappler. The winner would reassert themselves into the strawweight top five.
Justin Tafa vs Don’Tale Mayes
The possibility of Tafa being cut is very real after losing three of his first four UFC appearances. His lone win came against Juan Adams, who is no longer with the promotion. The 27-year-old heavyweight lost a clear-cut decision to Jared Vanderaa, but credit him for being a part of the Fight of the Night at UFC Vegas 27.
If Tafa sticks around, giving him Don’Tale Mayes in his next fight would make for a solid test. Mayes hasn’t been in the octagon since last November, but the former Contender Series contract winner has some serious firepower on the feet. Tafa is still fairly young, but he’s running out of time. This would be another matchup in which both guys are in desperate need of a statement.
Felicia Spencer vs ???
Spencer didn’t look bad in her UFC Vegas 27 split-decision loss to Norma Dumont. In fact, there were times in which she looked quite impressive. Sadly, the UFC women’s featherweight division appears to be in peril, which may ultimately force “Feenom” to part ways with the promotion.
It’s unfortunate because this is a perennial contender who has gone the distance with Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes. Dumont has expressed intentions of moving down to bantamweight, which is something Spencer has never attempted in her 11 pro fights. A move to Bellator might honestly be her best option right now because the days of the UFC women’s featherweight division are numbered.
Bill Algeo vs TJ Brown
“Senor Perfecto” is undoubtedly an entertaining fighter to watch and he clearly has the talent to go along with a strong will to win. His striking style is reminiscent of “Wonderboy”, but it hasn’t yielded him the results he’s looking for yet. In three UFC appearances, his lone win came by decision against Spike Carlyle.
Despite not experiencing a ton of success thus far, a fight with TJ Brown would provide fireworks. Brown defeated Kai Kamaka III earlier this month, which lines their schedules up accordingly. Both men have gone 1-2 since joining the UFC, but each has displayed potential throughout their short tenures. Algeo-Brown has surefire Fight of the Night potential.
Edmen Shahbazyan vs Andre Muniz
Remarkably, “The Golden Boy” is still just 23-years-old, so counting him out as a future contender is premature. Shahbazyan has dropped two straight against top-10 opponents since beginning his UFC career 4-0, with three opening round stoppages. His UFC Vegas 27 loss to Jack Hermansson confirmed the notion that he must vastly improve his grappling defense if he wishes to contend in the future.
Matching him up with the sizzling Andre Muniz would award him the opportunity to display improved defense. Furthermore, it would give Muniz the chance to steal Shahbazyan’s ranking if he were to beat him. If Shahbazyan wishes to avoid another grappler, perhaps giving him Kevin Holland would make sense.
Of all the UFC Vegas 27 main card losers, who will bounce back the strongest, and will Cody Garbrandt move to flyweight? Drop your prediction in the comment section! Also, do you agree with these matchups following the results of UFC Vegas 27? Voice your opinion by posting your matchups below!
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