UFC Vegas 32 was all about the return of T.J. Dillashaw, especially after it lost its originally scheduled co-main event between Aspen Ladd and Macy Chiasson. That said, the card was an overachiever, and produced plenty of exciting fights. It also produced a couple of questionable scorecards, and one or two that were simply very close. Our task today is to book who the losers of Saturday’s main card should fight next. Let’s get at it.
Simply put, this loss shouldn’t drop Sandhagen too far down the rankings. In a close fight, Sandhagen held his own against former champ T.J. Dillashaw, and had moments of brilliance. That knee! Dillashaw persevered, but the split decision could have gone either way. While not quite a robbery, it was close enough to keep Sandhagen right where he’s at, so let’s give him another top contender. Former champ Cody Garbrandt is coming off a recent loss to Rob Font. He’s ranked a few spots back of Sandhagen at #5 in the bantamweight division.
Cory Sandhagen’s next fight: Cody Garbrandt
This is where the scorecards got really interesting at UFC Vegas 32. Kyler Phillips absolutely dominated Raulian Paiva in the opening round of their co-main event bantamweight scrap. There was ample justification to score it a 10-8 round, and one judge did just that. The other two did not, however, and with Paiva taking over in the second and third, he took a majority decision win. Can you call it a robbery if the alternative is a draw? Maybe, maybe not, but Phillips still has lots of upside. Davey Grant is coming off a recent loss in his rematch with Marlon Vera, and that pairing sounds like fireworks.
Kyler Phillips’ next fight: Davey Grant
Like Phillips, Darrick Minner had a stellar opening round against Darren Elkins on Saturday. It wasn’t a 10-8, but he was in clear control. Then, Elkins did what Elkins does, withstood the onslaught, and turned things right around. Minner had been on a two-fight win streak; the loss drops him to 2-2 inside the octagon. A longtime veteran of the regional scene, he’s a fun fighter to watch, especially in the grappling department. The Glory MMA featherweight’s next match-up? How about Ryan Hall? Hall is coming off the first loss of his career. He’s a TUF winner, a grappling stud, but is no longer ranked. The transitions and scrambles would be brilliant, if it didn’t result in a stand-up showdown.
Minner’s next fight: Ryan Hall
The most questionable scorecards of the night came in Maycee Barber vs. Miranda Maverick. Two judges awarded the fight to Barber, though it’s unclear what fight they were actually watching. Maverick’s stock shouldn’t take much of a hit from the robbery, which had all 22 media outlets scoring the fight (including Cageside Press) awarding it to Barber. Let’s just pretend this result didn’t happen, and match Maverick up with Montana De La Rosa, who is coming off a win, but currently ranked two spots behind her.
Miranda Maverick’s next fight: Montana De La Rosa
Randy Costa fought a brilliant and entertaining fight against Adrian Yanez — in the opening round. Towards the end of the frame, Yanez began targeting the body. In round two, Yanez took over, and caught Costa with an uppercut, setting up the finish. The build-up to the fight was fantastic, and Costa is still a prospect at 135lbs. He’s now 6-2, which is wild considering half those fights came in the UFC. It might be a good idea to slow the roll just a little, and give Costa some time to grow. Jesse Strader, who sits at 5-2, has a fight coming up with Mana Martinez, who will be making his octagon debut sporting an 8-2 record of his own. That fight goes down in late August, and it would make sense to book Costa against the loser, preferably towards the end of the year.
Randy Costa’s next fight: Loser of Jesse Strader vs. Mana Martinez