Jared Gordon def. Danny Chavez via Decision (Unanimous)
Jared Gordon – Lerone Murphy
Jared Gordon may be the hardest person to find an opponent for on the entire evening. He has had three fights scheduled for featherweight in his UFC tenure but has never competed at the weight. He has missed the weight twice, and the other took place at a catchweight. I would expect that he will give it another go at 145lbs so we will lean that way while matching him up. He has now won back-to-back fights which is likely going to launch him towards the Top 15. England’s Lerone Murphy has been looking more impressive every time we see him compete. Both men are riding two-fight win streaks so the matchup would be a nice addition to a PPV event.
Danny Chavez – Mike Trizano
First thing is first, Chavez deserves massive credit for accepting the fight after his opponent missed weight. Despite losing the fight, he was the better of the two when the fight was standing. MMA Masters is putting out high-level fighters who are UFC ready, and Chavez is no different. Knowing Chavez, he will likely not need much time before being ready to go again. Mike Trizano was forced out of his fight scheduled for the same night due to an ankle injury. If their timelines matchup, a matchup with the Ultimate Fighter winner could be next for Chavez.
John Castañeda def. Eddie Wineland via TKO (Punches)
John Castañeda – Said Nurmagomedov
John Castañeda has not been given the easy road into the UFC. The former Combate fighter was handed Nathaniel Wood and Eddie Wineland to start his UFC career. After falling short in his debut, he picked up an emphatic victory over Wineland in his second appearance. The 23-fight veteran is only 29-years of age so is a few years away from his prime. That being said, don’t look for the UFC to build him up. He will likely be given a big-name opponent next time out, and Said Nurmagomedov is that name. Nurmagomedov is coming off a knockout victory in less than a minute.
Eddie Wineland – Luke Sanders
One of the main storylines of the evening was the ‘passing of the torch’ matchups the UFC put together. Eddie Wineland is one of the few men who have been around since the WEC merger ten years ago. He has only had one victory in the past four years, so the UFC may be looking to have the retirement talk with the veteran. If Wineland sticks around, he will need a victory after losing four of five. Back in November, Luke Sanders suffered defeat at the hands of Nate Maness. Both Sanders and Wineland are in their mid-30s so they will both be in need of a win.
Julian Erosa def. Nate Landwehr via TKO (Flying Knee)
Julian Erosa – Darren Elkins
Every MMA fighter envisions the day that they can compete for the UFC. More often than not you only get the one opportunity. It is very rare that you get three chances to earn a win in the promotion. Erosa went winless in his first two UFC stints, and is now 2-0 in his third. The early going of the round was chaos with both fighters landing shots successfully. Erosa landed a flying knee that dropped Landwehr before the ref jumped in and stopped the fight. A fight with Team Alpha Male’s Darren Elkins would make for another fan-friendly scrap.
Nate Landwehr – Jamey Simmons
Nate Landwehr is always must-see television no matter how long the fight lasts. Unfortunately for Landwehr, this one did not play out how he anticipated. Landwehr is 1-2 within the promotion with both losses coming via knee. Despite his exciting style, don’t be surprised if he finds himself in a must-win situation in his next outing. Jamey Simmons made his debut in 2020 losing to the surging Giga Chikadze. A bout between Simmons and Landwehr will give both men the chance at redemption.
Casey O’Neill def. Shana Dobson via TKO (Punches)
Casey O’Neill – Liliya Shakirova
Casey O’Neill becomes the second Scottish born female fighter to earn a victory inside the octagon after Joanne Calderwood. She dominated the fight on the mat start to finish over the always dangerous Shana Dobson. She is now 6-0 as a professional and 5-0 as an amateur which is rare in the women’s divisions. She is only 23-years-old so look for the UFC to build her up gradually. Liliya Shakirova was brought in on short notice to face Lauren Murphy in her UFC debut. A fight between the two would be a fun on a Fight Island card.
Shana Dobson – Cortney Casey
Very few fighters can have more losses than wins on their record and stay within the promotion. Shana Dobson could be the exception to that rule. She was once again matched up with a young prospect, and this time it did not go her way. The UFC seems to like Dobson, and that will likely see her in the promotion a little longer. Cortney Casey has been alternating wins and losses since her debut, and will need a win next time out. The two would be in a must-win scenario but the fight could determine who gets to stay in the UFC.
Aiemann Zahabi def. Drako Rodriguez via KO (Punch)
Aiemann Zahabi – Alejandro Perez
Aiemann Zahabi will be in the UFC’s good graces after that performance. He entered the bout without a win in four years, and on the heels of back-to-back losses. With all the pressure, he still accepted the fight despite his opponent’s weight miss. The Tristar product was hesitant in the early going of the fight while trying to shake off some ring rust. A little over halfway through the first round, he landed an overhand right that knocked out his opponent. After the fight, the Canadian mentioned he would like to return in three months. Like Zahabi, Perez is coming off a long layoff so a matchup between the two could make a ton of sense if the stars align.
Drako Rodriguez – Aaron Phillips
Drako Rodriguez was one of the must watch Contender Series signees for 2021. He had a remarkable performance on the show when he submitted Mana Martinez. Although he missed weight in his debut, you’d imagine he will be granted another shot at redemption. Rodriguez will likely need to both make weight and win his next fight if he wants to stay in the promotion. Aaron Phillips returned to the promotion when he stepped in to face Jack Shore in his return. He will be looking to pick up his victory in the UFC after going 0-2 in his first stint.
Sergey Spivak def. Jared Vanderaa via TKO (Punches)
Sergey Spivak – Carlos Felipe
Sergey Spivak put together arguably his best performance to date inside the octagon along with the Tuivasa fight. As soon as the fight ended up on the floor, Spivak showed he was on another level in the grappling department. He used high level ground and pound to open up a cut on the head of the American. Despite Vanderaa’s toughness, the ref was eventually forced to stop the contest. Spivak will be on the verge of the rankings after this win and a matchup with Carlos Felipe who has also won back-to-back fights could make sense for Moldovan.
Jared Vanderaa – Roque Martinez
Jared Vanderaa may have bitten off more than he can chew when he called out the Moldovan, Sergey Spivak. It was a tough debut, but he showed tremendous heart and will be given another shot. A fight where he could display his striking would be beneficial for the Dan Henderson product. Roque Martinez is now 0-2 in the organization and may have his back against the wall in his next fight. A matchup between the two is likely to play out on the feet which could favor Vanderaa.