Cards that look slightly underwhelming on paper to some tend to be the ones that completely exceed expectations. This again was the case this past Saturday as UFC Vegas 62 turned out to be an extremely entertaining card despite being at the atmosphere starved Apex.
The problem with recent Fight Nights, highlighted by some, is that the bouts involved have had no relevance to their respective division rankings. Last night was different though. Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners on the night.
The women’s flyweight division is one that is constantly crying out for fresh contenders. Up steps the 29-year-old, Alexa Grasso. With the champ Valentina having already defeated the women occupying the top 4 rankings, Grasso arrives at rank 5 as someone Valentina is yet to share the cage with.
There were question marks before this bout on how both women’s cardio would hold up. The questions were buried, as in the main event rounds, both competitors looked as fresh as they did in the opening round.
Not only is Grasso fresh competition for Shevchenko, but she earned a title shot with a complete performance. Her willingness to stick behind a counter heavy game-plan, and execute it pristinely, has in my opinion outlined her as the next to challenge for the title.
The only stumbling block in making that Grasso’s next fight, is that Manon Fiorot is taking on rank 1 Katlyn Chookaigon at UFC 280. With a Fiorot win, it’d be pretty hard to deny her the title shot. If the aforementioned does in fact happen, a match-up between Grasso and Santos would suffice.
Alexa Grasso’s Next Fight: Valentina Shevchenko or Talia Santos
Martinez put on a performance that may well have been a career best at UFC Vegas 62. With Cub Swanson trying to reignite his career by moving down to bantamweight, there were far more favourable tests they could’ve given him than the surging Martinez.
The first round didn’t go completely against the veteran, but the “Dragon” began doing some nice work on the feet towards the end, and just before the bell landed a beautiful spinning back fist, dropping Swanson with the latter being saved by the bell. On the stool in between round 1 and 2, the 38-year-old looked to be wincing in pain grabbing at his rib as though he knew he’d broken one.
In round 2, Martinez exemplified his youthfulness with some more extremely slick striking. The Factory X product showcased his teams culture, and blitzed Swanson with 3 brutal leg kicks in the span of 2 minutes, with Swanson unable to take anymore.
Although Martinez used his mic time to call out a certain Dominick Cruz, i’m not sure that’s a move the UFC will make next for him. The reason being that Cruz currently occupies rank 7. Having said that, I would love to see him face either Cruz or Munhoz in his next outing.
Jonathon Martinez’ Next Fight: Dominick Cruz or Pedro Munhoz
Going into this bout, I don’t think there was a fan around the world that thought this fight would need the scorecards. Prior to this fight, Todorovic’s last 2 hadn’t seen the second round, and the same rang true for Wright’s last 3.
The theme of round 1 was relentless pressure from Wright, pressure that almost resulted in another first round finish for “The Beverly Hills Ninja”. But he was unable to get Todorovic out of there, and this would come back to bite him.
In round 2, the relentless pressure was switched, and it was the 28-year-old Serbian that was doing the damage. After a long barrage of punches, Todorovic got Wright to the ground and transitioned to full mount where he reigned down some fatigued shots. Chris Tognoni had seen enough and stepped in, seeing Todorovic get back into the win column.
Someone who is also coming off the back of an impressive victory is Abus Magomedov. To me, that is a match-up that could be extremely fun.
Dusko Todorovic’s Next Fight: Abus Magomedov
Raphael Assuncao rolled back the years this past Saturday with a glorious performance over the pressure fighter, Victor Henry. Looking at Assuncao’s past 4 performances, you could say a win here was imperative for his future based purely on his age.
Let’s not get it twisted though, the losses the 40-year-old has suffered in recent years have all come to extremely elite opponents. Henry was coming into this bout off the back of an impressive victory over Raoni Barcelos, who himself looked great in his last outing.
Assuncao went back to the style that he found so much success in early on in his career, counter striking. Every time Henry tried to close the distance with a combination of punches, he found himself getting blasted with a heavy Assuncao overhand. It was a performance that showed he still has a lot to give.
Having said that, let’s not get carried away with who we match him up with next. The aforementioned, Raoni Barcelos, would be a great match-up in my opinion.
Raphael Assuncao’s Next Fight: Raoni Barcelos
“Atomic” Alonzo Menifield was coming in off the back of a perfect win over the controversial Askar Mozharov. He replicated that victory this time out, with another flawless performance, this time over Misha Cirkunov at UFC Vegas 62.
He only needed 1:28 to get the job done, finishing the fight with a frightening uppercut that completely flatlined Cirkunov. With Menifield’s last 2 performances being so impressive, maybe it is time for a step up in competition for the 34-year-old.
Someone who is coming off a loss, but is always involved in entertaining fights, is Ion Cutelaba. A fight between those two men would guarantee fireworks.
Alonzo Menifield’s Next Fight: Ion Cutelaba