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UFC Vegas 37: Matchmaking the Victorious

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Anthony “Lionheart” Smith stole the show on Saturday night with a first-round submission over Ryan Spann to boost his winning streak to three. Ion Cutelaba and Ariane Lipski came up with hard-fought victories after three rounds.

Joaquin Buckley, Nate Maness, and Arman Tsarukyan produced brilliant knockouts to finish off their opponents. Now, the lucky six look to carry on and conquer with the potential matchups looking extremely exciting for UFC fans.

Who’s Next for the Winners of UFC Vegas 37?

Anthony Smith

With the adrenaline still pumping after submitting Spann, Smith had one name and one name only on the end of his tongue. His last defeat came against Aleksandar Rakic back in August 2020, who was victorious via the judges’ scorecards. Now, the “Lionheart” is back in fine form and wants to make the rematch happen sooner rather than later, with Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira fighting for the title in October.

“I want Aleksander Rakic” Smith stated following his submission. “He’s just sitting around. He’s not next for the title. Either I get that fight or I’m going to skip it. That’s what I want. I want someone ahead of me and I earned that.”

It didn’t take long for Rakic to respond via his tweet moments after the fight.

Ion Cutelaba

Moldovan menace Cutelaba finally got back to winning ways on Saturday night in a dominant performance over Devin Clark. His previous victory came against Khalil Rountree Jr at UFC Fight Night 160 in September 2019. A draw against Dustin Jacoby at UFC Vegas 25, wouldn’t go a miss a second time around if the two were to clash again in the octagon.

Cutelaba mentioned the main event winner Smith’s name as a next opponent, but Smith laughed the proposition off in his post-fight conference. It’s unlikely Cutelaba will even get a ranked opponent next, with only one win in his last four bouts.

With several light-heavyweight matchups sealed for the future, a certain “Atomic” bomb could land in the Moldovan’s path. Alonzo Menifield outclassed Ed Herman at UFC 265 to earn his fourth win in the promotion via unanimous decision. The American is on a two-fight win-streak, and the punching power this fight could bring is next level. A staggering 20 TKO/KO’s between the pair, as we all lick our lips at the idea of these two going to war.

Ariane Lipski

After a torrid two-fight losing streak, Lipski’s desperation to get back to winning ways was over on Saturday night. A hard-fought 15 minutes saw Lipski outclass UFC debutant Mandy Bohm via unanimous decision. Lipski was dangerous as ever on the feet, with two knockdowns, but no finish for the Brazilian.

Back in June, Lipski was on the receiving end of Montana De La Rosa’s wrath, who finished her via TKO in the second round. With De La Rosa filling the final position in the flyweight rankings, realistically, Lipski will need at least one more win under her belt to face someone ranked.

One of the most dangerous prospects in the flyweight division also participated at UFC Vegas 37 and put in the most fierce performance of the night. Erin Blanchfield destroyed Sarah Alpar with two judges scoring the bout 30-25 and the other 30-26. Blanchfield is only 22-years-old, and it will be a perfect fight for her to face some experience inside the octagon.

Arman Tsarukyan

Now, this is tough. It’s clear to see how dangerous of a fighter Tsarukyan is, with his fourth win in the promotion on Saturday night. It’s time for him to face someone higher ranked than himself, but who’s going to want it?

In the post-fight conference, he mentioned names such as Dan Hooker and Tony Ferguson. Hooker seems to be unlikely with him facing Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 this weekend. If Hooker loses on the weekend, the fight becomes a lot more likely, with Hooker potentially looking to bounce back with a strong win over a prospect like Tsarukyan.

Ferguson being ranked sixth seems possible, but can he handle the wrath of young talent like Tsarukyan. We know how game Ferguson is, and I’m sure he’ll take the challenge anyway to prove he can beat these young fighters. Personally, with Diego Ferreira pulling out of his bout with Grant Dawson, when he’s back fighting fit, it would be one of the biggest challenges of Tsarukyan’s career.

Nathan Maness

Maness pulled off the comeback of the night to knock out Tony Gravely in the second round. Maness was inches from being finished himself by Gravely, but he was determined to battle through and eventually knocked down Gravely and found the TKO finish.

Maness is a battler, and on his return to bantamweight on Saturday night, he made it 3-0 in the UFC. Someone who fits the profile perfectly would be Raulian Paiva. He loves to stand and fight, and he’s also on a three-fight win-streak in the promotion. Both are on the edge of the rankings, and with one more win to their names, they’ll be competing for a ranked position soon enough.

Another possibility could be the man who loves to fight anybody, and that’s Casey Kenney. With Kenney, you are promised a scrap and a half, with these two inside the octagon, a fight of the night could be on the cards.

Joaquin Buckley

With Buckley back showing his class once again, a couple of tough opponents could be on the cards for him in the middleweight division. Hard-hitter Punahele Soriano would be an ideal opponent for Buckley, as the final striking stats could end up off the charts. Soriano faced the first defeat of his career against Brendan Allen at UFC Vegas 32.

Despite the two eye pokes, Wellington Turman was seriously impressive with his striking ability against Sam Alvey last month. The 25-year-old won via split decision, but only due to him being deducted points on two occasions. Buckley has just knocked out a Brazilian in Antonio Arroyo, don’t rule out another Brazilian being next.

Who were you most impressed at UFC Vegas 37? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @JakeBroderick98 for more combat sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Don’t forget OTHeroicsMMA for all things MMA.

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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