UFC Fight Night 183: Thompson vs Neal Prelim Matchmaking

PC: Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Anthony Pettis def. Alex Morono via Unanimous Decision

Anthony Pettis – Al Iaquinta

Anthony Pettis returned to his impressive ways cruising to a unanimous decision over veteran Alex Morono. In what was his last fight on his UFC contract, “Showtime” picked up back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. Many journalists were quick to hint a potential departure from the organization, but Pettis answered that by suggesting he is returning to 155. The former Lightweight Champion will likely be looking at names to help him enter title contention and Al Iaquinta is the man for the job. Despite back-to-back losses, Iaquinta currently holds the #10 spot in the division.

Alex Morono Alex Oliveira

Alex Morono faced the toughest opponent of his career on paper and even won a round. Pettis was just a little too much on the night, and Morono will likely be given a step-back in competition. With that being said, he did agree to the fight on short notice and his stock will likely not drop as a result. A matchup with fellow UFC veteran Alex Oliveira is the perfect matchup for the 30-year-old. It offers both competitors the opportunity to get back into the win column.

Pannie Kianzad def. Sijara Eubanks via Unanimous Decision

Pannie Kianzad – Sara McMann / Julianna Pena Loser

Pannie Kianzad is now riding a three-fight win streak and could break into the Top 10. The Swede hasn’t lost a fight since her UFC debut and should be calling for matchups with the division’s elites. A fight between former title challenger Sara McMann and Julianna Pena takes place on January 16. We could see the loser of that matchup square off with Kianzad.

Sijara Eubanks – Ashlee Evans-Smith

Sijara Eubanks has now lost back-to-back fights and four of her last six. She was matched up with a very dangerous Kianzad and returns to a .500 record of 6-6. It was only two years ago she was likely next in line for Valentina Shevchenko, and now is on the verge of being cut. Ashlee Evans-Smith finds herself in a very similar position now at 6-5 after her loss back in November. A bout between the two would be a nice addition to a fight night card and both would likely be fighting for their careers,

Deron Winn def. Antonio Arroyo via Unanimous Decision

Deron Winn – Bartosz Fabinski

Deron Winn is finally back in the win column. After suffering back-to-back losses, the NAIA all-American wrestler outclassed Arroyo utilizing his wrestling base. The 31-year-old will likely be pitted against another veteran looking for a way into the top 15. Bartosz Fabinski is the perfect matchup. The former welterweight has had mixed results since his move to 185 going 1-1. A matchup between the two would make for a nice grappling contest.

Antonio Arroyo – Jacob Malkoun

Antonio Arroyo has now dropped his two first UFC contests via decision. The 185lb division is in need of talent so we will likely see him in the Octagon at least one more time. The Brazilian has had a bad luck with finding fights with five different fights falling through in just over a year. An opponent like Jacob Malkoun would be the perfect opportunity for the Brazilian to get back into the win column.

Taila Santos def. Gillian Robertson via Unanimous Decision

Taila Santos – Antonina Shevchenko

Taila Santos is quietly developing one of the most impressive records on the entire UFC roster. After a split decision loss to Borella in her debut, she has defeated two of the most promising Flyweight prospects in the UFC. With a 17-1 record, there will not be many girls volunteering to face her in the octagon. We will likely see her in the Top 15 when the rankings come out this week, and a matchup with #14 ranked Antonina Shevchenko may be in store for the Brazilian.

Gillian Robertson – Mayra Bueno Silva

Gillian Robertson is one of the brightest prospects in the women’s divisions and took one step back on her quest to the top. At just 25 years of age, she already has multiple records in the Flyweight division including most wins, stoppages and submissions. That being said, she will likely drop outside of the Top 15 but will only need a win or two to re-enter. A matchup with Mayra Bueno Silva who is only one behind Robertson for the submission record would make for a fun grappling contest. It also gives Silva the opportunity to overtake one of the Top 15 spots.

Tafon Nchukwi def. Jamie Pickett via Unanimous Decision

Tafon Nchukwi – Nassourdine Imanov

Tafon Nchukwi fought smart and won a clear decision. Known for his immense power, he was forced to take the fight to the scorecards. Regardless, he was cool, calm and comllected and remains undefeated. At just 26 years of age, time is on the Cameroonian’s hands and will treated accordingly. The UFC will likely attempt to build him gradually. Nassourdine Imanov looked incredible in his debut and could make for a potential fight of the night. He is only five fights into his career, so we can expect to see him facing competition out of the top 15 for a few more fights.

Jamie Pickett – KB Bhullar

Jamie Pickett was capable of doing something no other opponents of Nchukwi was able to do. He was able to take the fight to the distance. Despite being dominated, he showed toughness and grit which will earn him another crack at the UFC. The Contender Series product will likely be matched up with an opponent near the bottom of the division. KB Bhullar is the perfect opponent after his devastating loss to Tom Breese.

Jimmy Flick def. Cody Durden via Submission (Flying Triangle Choke)

Jimmy Flick – Su Mudaerji

Jimmy Flick is a problem at 125lbs. Despite it being his debut, Flick looked composed early when on his back. In what will likely go down as submission of the year, Flick landed a flying triangle choke after landing a headkick. The finish earned him a performance of the night bonus, and quite possibly a spot in the Top 15. The Flyweight division is very shallow so we could see Jimmy Flick get thrown into deep water immediately. I would expect to see Flick versus Su Mudaerji next. Both fighters picked up early finishes, so we could expect a similar turn-around time for both Flyweights.

Cody Durden – Ode Osbourne

It wasn’t the flyweight debut Durden was hoping for but he had a very impressive start to the round. After a very impressive opening round for Durden last time out, he faded and drew a close fight to Chris Gutierrez. Unlike that performance, Flick landed a submission of the year candidate flying triangle to end the fight in the first. At 0-1-1 in the promotion, Durden will surely be given a couple more opportunities especially if he stays at 125. Ode Osbourne recently announced he’s planning a move down to flyweight and is one of the only flyweights not currently booked.

Christos Giagos def. Carlton Minus via Unanimous Decision

Christos Giagos – Gabriel Benitez

Christos Giagos was the arguably the biggest winner on the night. He accepted the fight on three days notice after being inactive since August of 2019. From the opening bell, Giagos took the fight to the ground and dominated. It was a very impressive victory and will surely not go unnoticed by the likes of Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby. A matchup with Gabriel Benitez who was equally impressive in his last victory over Justin Jaynes could be next for Giagos,

Carlton Minus – Chris Gruetzmacher

Carlton Minus was outclassed by a very experienced veteran in Giagos. He displayed tremendous heart and managed to survive the full fifteen. He accepted a short notice replacement and that will likely give him one more opportunity to impress the organization. The lightweight division is flooded with talent and there are countless options for Minus. Chris Grutzmacher is in a very similar position to Minus, and a matchup between the two would leave them fighting for their jobs.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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