Once again, we saw some shuffling at the top of a UFC card from the Apex in Las Vegas. After losing Curtis Blaydes to a positive COVID-19 test, both Anthony Smith and Devin Clark stepped up to keep the UFC Vegas 15 main event five rounds, or less. Smith would ultimately land the submission victory in far shorter a time than that, so today we look at what is next for him and some of the other winners from this past weekend.
In classic Anthony Smith fashion, he did precisely what nobody expected. He was the one to shoot the takedown on Devin Clark this past Saturday, and then instead of winning with his hands or his top game, he picked up a submission off of his back. While it’s great to see “Lionheart” back in the win column, this was a large step down for him in terms of competition. He went from fighting top contenders and Jon Jones to Clark, who was unranked. As he indicated in his post-fight speech, there’s no rush to get back to the top. Let’s ease that transition with someone else he can test his finishing skills with. Nikita Krylov has gone to the judges two fights in a row, which gives him precisely two decisions (one win, one loss) in his career. A match-up between the two would for sure bring the fun for however long it lasts.
Anthony Smith’s Next Fight: Nikita Krylov
If you had any doubts about the potential of Miguel Baeza, he likely erased them this past weekend. Not only did he go out and stop another tough fighter in Takashi Sato, but he did so with his first submission victory. With a win over Matt Brown already helping to build his resume, Baeza is looking at a fight on the cusp of the top 15. Jake Matthews is definitely more traveled in the UFC; he’s 6-1 at welterweight with as many fights at lightweight prior. It may seem like a big ask for the MMA Masters product, but with as much a he’s showed us in three fights, the logical next step is for us to see if Baeza is ready for this level.
Miguel Baeza’s Next Fight: Jake Matthews
It took Porter 13 years to make it to the UFC, but the wait in between his first and second fight may have felt longer. After a disappointing first go, Porter not only got his second chance, but made the best of it. In a clear 3-round decision over Josh Parisian, Porter not only showed different facets of his skillset, but clearly showed he has a gas tank is far beyond what we’d expect for a man of his size. For his next step, the UFC should figure out just how far that tank can take him with a bout against Don’Tale Mayes. Like most heavyweights, Mayes will have a big size advantage over Porter, but like most heavyweights, Mayes has also shown some cardio issues in the past. Although it ultimately didn’t cost Mayes against Roque Martinez, he did appear to slow the last round. Porter just might be the person to exploit that further.
Parker Porter’s Next Fight: Don’Tale Mayes
Algeo had a lot of names on his tongue after taking a unanimous decision upset victory over Spike Carlyle. Although I don’t hate his own personal matchmaking, there was a name that intrigues me even more. Johnathan Pearce won earlier on in the night over Kai Kamaka as one of the bigger underdogs. There’s a lot of parallels between the two. Both come off the Contender Series, both bit off a little more than they could chew with a seasoned veteran in their debut, and of course both looked sensational Saturday. A bout between the two would not disappoint no matter where it took place.
Bill Algeo’s Next Fight: Jonathan Pearce
In her debut, Dumont didn’t get much of a chance to show off what she can do. After scoring a takedown on Megan Anderson, she promptly was KOed by the Aussie. The subsequent drop to bantamweight went better in the cage, although not great on the scale. Dumont looked better than Ashlee Evans-Smith almost everywhere and there was a noticeable strength disparity. It’d make sense to pair her with someone a little more her size. Bea Malecki has fought at 145lbs herself (and even 155lbs while an amateur). Both fighters are also two of the lesser experienced fighters on the bantamweight roster. A bout for the two would be good experience for the fighters and be a great test to see who’s ready for that next level.
Norma Dumont’s Next Fight: Bea Malecki