Cub Swanson def. Daniel Pineda via KO (Punches)
Cub Swanson – Giga Chikadze
Cub Swanson returned from a long layoff and a knee injury with an emphatic knockout of 40-fight veteran Daniel Pineda. Swanson has played gate-keeper for the past few years and a matchup with another rising prospect could be on the horizon for the California native. One of the contenders for Fighter of The Year, Giga Chikadze would be a perfect fit. The two strikers would be heavy favorites for fight of the night.
Daniel Pineda – Ricardo Ramos
After a huge upset of Herbert Burns in his return to the UFC after six years competing elsewhere, Pineda came up short against Swanson. Despite hurting Cub with leg kicks, he couldn’t get past the veteran and suffered his first loss in over three years. One of the most remarkable statistics surrounding Pineda is all of his 27 wins have come by way of stoppage. A matchup with another finisher would be make for a crowd-pleasing showcase. Ricardo Ramos fits that description beautifully and holds ten stoppage victories of his own.
Rafael Fiziev def. Renato Moicano via KO (Punches)
Rafael Fiziev – Alexander Hernandez
Rafael Fiziev put on a striking masterclass against a very experienced Renato Moicano. A beautiful three-piece combination closed out the show late in the first round. The Tiger Muay Thai striking coach demonstrated why they are the elite training facility at the moment for striking. He called for a bout with Al Iaquinta following the fight, but due to the depth of the lightweight division it seems unlikely he will get it. A matchup with former Top-15 lightweight Alexander Hernandez would be a solid test for 27-year-old to see where he stands amongst the best of the division.
Renato Moicano – Luigi Vendramini
At one point in time Moicano was a legitimate title challenger at 145 and has now found himself in a little slump. After losing his third fight in four appearances, it will be interesting to see what he chooses to do from here. The lightweight division is much deeper than his old home at featherweight and the road to the top may be too far away for the 31-year-old. If he chooses to stay at 155, a fight with ‘The Italian Stallion’ would give him an opportunity to get back in the win column.
Gavin Tucker def. Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision
Gavin Tucker – Jeremy Stephens
Canadian MMA is in need of contenders and Tucker reminded everyone of how talented Canadian fighters are. Misha Cirkunov is currently the only ranked male from the Great White North. If Tucker can string together a couple more wins, we could likely see him in the rankings as well by 2021. Tucker has quietly had one of the better second halves on 2020 with back to back wins, and now rides a three fight win streak into the new year. Tucker’s quickest road to the Top 15 is by squaring off a struggling veteran in Jeremy Stephens. It would also be a compelling clash between two of the scariest guys in the division.
Billy Quarantillo – Julian Erosa
Billy Q’s 12-fight win streak has come to a halt, but he showed his heart in a grueling 15-minute affair. Expect him to take some time off after a busy 2020, and we could see him return in April or May. He is still only four fights into his UFC career, and he should be matched with someone who is in a similar position in terms of rankings. Julian Erosa, who recently picked up his first UFC victory would make a ton of sense for both guys.
Tecia Torres def. Sam Hughes via TKO (Doctor Stoppage)
Tecia Torres – Claudia Gadelha
Tecia Torres is finally back to her winning ways. After a four-fight losing streak, she finds herself near the top of the 115lb division after back-to-back wins. After a change of opponents the week of the fight, Torres took a gamble accepting the late notice replacement and it paid off. With the rest of the division matched up or awaiting title fights, the only fight that appears available right now for the #10 ranked Torres is Claudia Gadelha. Considering the two have been ranked at 115 since the division was created, it’s surprising they have never crossed paths before.
Sam Hughes – Kay Hansen
Similar to Torres, a ton of respect to Hughes for accepting the short notice fight. Despite her efforts, the doctor and her corner ultimately chose to stop the contest. She came in and made weight professionally and will be awarded with another fight inside the cage. At 5-2, she is still young in the game and will likely be matched up with an opponent with similar amounts of experience. Kay Hansen, who is the third youngest fighter on the roster would make sense for Hughes.
Chase Hooper def. Peter Barrett via Submission (Heel Hook)
Chase Hooper – Matt Sayles
In what many have as their comeback of the year, Chase Hooper overcame adversity to pick up a heel hook submission with only two minutes left of the fight. The final stats showed the strikes landed were a lot closer than they appeared live, however Barrett was much more dominant throughout the fight. Speaking of young fighters, Hooper is the youngest male fighter on the UFC roster and will likely be built up slowly. We could see a matchup with Matt Sayles next for the 21-year-old as he will look to bounce back from a loss to Bryce Mitchell.
Peter Barrett – Natan Levy
Despite going 0-2 to start his UFC debut, expect to see Barrett one more time under the promotion. He faced two highly touted prospects in Zalal and Hooper, so should be given another opportunity. At 0-2, there is a good chance the UFC will have Barrett welcome a Contender Series product to the organization. Natan Levy was one of the standout performers of the entire season despite only having six pro fights. Levy would enter the contest seeking to remain undefeated, and Barrett would have the advantage in terms of experience.