Angela Hill def. Ashley Yoder via Unanimous Decision
Angela Hill – Amanda Lemos
Angela Hill has made a career of fighting in razor-thin fights. It doesn’t matter where her opponent falls in the ranking, Hill would make sure it was close. Saturday night was an exception. Hill looked as good as she has ever looked by defeating Yoder across all three rounds. The two women have now fought for six rounds with Hill winning all six. Hill is deserving of a ranked opponent in her next fight. If it were not for some questionable scorecards, Hill could be on a six-fight winning streak. Hill has fought most of the women ranked in the 115lb division. One of the few exceptions is Amanda Lemos. Lemos is on a three-fight win streak and is becoming a dark horse at strawweight. A win for either woman would get them into the Top 10 of the division.
Ashley Yoder – Mizuki Inoue
Despite the loss, Ashley Yoder is one of the toughest opponents for any woman at 115lbs. All nine of her UFC appearances have gone to decision. She BJJ blackbelt has now lost three of her last four fights and is in need of a win in her next fight. At 33-years-old, Yoder is in her prime so will likely be looking to get back in there sooner rather than later. She will likely find herself in a gatekeeper role for her next few fights. Mizuki Inoue underwent an ACL surgery back in November so may be out for a few more months. Assuming both women are looking for a return around the same time, this could be a fun fight between two blackbelts of different martial arts.
Charles Jourdain def. Marcelo Rojo via TKO (Punches)
Charles Jourdain – Darrick Minner
Charles Jourdain once again showed why he is one of the most exciting prospects to watch in the 145lb division. Heading into the fight he surprisingly only had one victory in the promotion. The Canadian had a lot riding on this fight and performed like his life depended on it. With the bout tied heading into the third on all scorecards, Jourdain turned up the pace and finished the fight with seconds left. Jourdain has been primarily competing against strikers so far in his UFC tenure. It would be interesting to see how he does in a matchup with a high-level grappler. Darrick Minner just earned a big win over Charles Rosa. A matchup between the two would determine who is ready for a step up in competition next time out.
Marcelo Rojo – Khalid Taha
Marcelo Rojo is the definition of a warrior. He was signed a few weeks prior to compete against Raoni Barcelos. Barcelos was later forced out of the bout due to a positive COVID-19 test result. It was unsure whether Rojo would continue with the promotion as a result. A few weeks later it was announced he would accept a fight with Jourdain up a weight class. Rojo had some bright moments early in the fight before getting overwhelmed late in the contest. Many felt the fight was deserving of ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. Regardless, the Argentine proved he is UFC caliber and has an entertaining style the fans love. He will likely make the drop down to 135lbs in his next fight. A fight with someone with a similar style could be in order for Rojo. Khalid Taha recently earned FOTN honors in his last fight against Barcelos. Taha and Rojo would surely put on a show for the fans and the UFC.
Rani Yahya def. Ray Rodriguez via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke)
Rani Yahya – Song Yadong
When discussing some of the most decorated fighters to never receive a title shot, Rani Yahya is almost always left out. The 2007 ADCC submission wrestling World Champion earned his 16th UFC victory this past Saturday. In fact, in his ten years with the promotion Yahya has never been finished. The 36-year-old called for Dominick Cruz after the fight which will likely not be booked. However, the veteran does deserve a big name in his next performance. Song Yadong is looked at as the future of Asian MMA. The 23-year-old recently suffered his first UFC defeat at the hands of Kyler Phillips. With a win over Yadong, Yahya could take a massive stride toward the rankings.
Ray Rodriguez – Guido Cannetti
Ray Rodriguez deserves a ton of praise despite losing his first two UFC bouts. In his debut, he was matched up with Brian Kelleher on less than a day’s notice. In his second appearance, he faced Rani Yahya. Rodriguez will surely be given another opportunity within the promotion. He will however find his back against the wall in his next fight. Another fighter who finds himself in a similar position is Guido Cannetti. The Argentine has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career. A fight between the two would surely be a crowd-pleasing striking affair.
Nasrat Haqparast def. Rafa Garcia via Unanimous Decision
Nasrat Haqparast – Guram Kutateladze
Nasrat Haqparast has quietly become one of the go-to call outs for fighters in the division. He is continuing to show that he is one of the most promising fighters in the division. In addition, his resemblance to UFC Middleweight Kelvin Gastelum makes him recognizable in a talent-heavy division. The German may be a couple of wins away from a spot in the rankings but if matched correctly could see himself there within the year. His striking is one of the best in the division and a fight with another striker would compliment it. Guram Kutateladze is one of the fighters fans are dying to see back in the Octagon. His debut against Mateusz Gamrot was incredible and I would love to see a fight between him and Haqparast.
Rafa Garcia – Matt Frevola
Rafa Garcia is going to be a problem at 155lbs. The former Combate Lightweight Champion accepted the fight on a week’s notice against one of the brightest prospects in the division. In the early going, he seemed to hurt Haqparast on a few different occasions. As the fight continued, the tide shifted and, Garcia proceeded the taste defeat for the first time. Regardless, it was a very promising debut for Garcia. The UFC is in need of more Mexican talent and Garcia could help bring in more. His fight style is very fitting for fighters of Mexico and the UFC will love that. Don’t be surprised if he gets another promising up and comer in his next fight. The UFC tends to reward fighters with entertaining styles. Another entertaining lightweight is Matt Frevola. He will be looking to bounce back from a January loss to Arman Tsarukyan.
JJ Aldrich def. Cortney Casey via Split Decision
JJ Aldrich – Mayra Bueno Silva
JJ Aldrich found a way to get it done once again. In her last performance, many felt she was denied a victory against Sabina Mazo. In this outing, many felt she was given a win against Aldrich. It was very highly contested, but the third round ultimately decided the result. Aldrich has now won five of her last seven and finds herself in a very good position. Mayra Bueno Silva recently fought to a draw against Montana De La Rosa. Silva finds herself one win away from entering the rankings. For Aldrich, a victory will also likely get her into the flyweight rankings.
Cortney Casey – Diana Belbiţă
This fight is going to be a hard one for Cortney Casey to watch back. It was a super close fight, but the majority of fans and media had it going her way. To add insult to injury, her record has now fallen to 9-9. Very few fighters remain with the organization if they drop below .500. Casey will find herself in a must-win scenario in her next fight. Despite being 1-2 at flyweight, I believe this is the right weight class for her. A fight with Romania’s Diana Belbiţă could be the fight she needs to get back to her winning ways. The 24-year-old Romanian is 0-2 so far in her UFC career but is still young in the sport. A loss for either woman could find them on the verge of being released from the promotion.
Jinh Yu Frey def. Gloria de Paula via Unanimous Decision
Jinh Yu Frey – Polyana Viana
Jinh Yu Frey was fighting arguably the biggest fight of her career on Saturday night. The former Invicta FC atomweight title holder was 0-2 under the UFC banner and was in desperate need of a victory. It was fair to say that had 35-years-old suffered a third defeat, she could have been released from the promotion. The move to Fortis MMA paid off for Frey as she used her superior grappling to control the Brazilian en route to victory. With the first victory under her belt, Frey can begin to look forward at bigger names in the division. Polyana Viana has had an incredible 2020 and 2021 with two submission victories. Prior to those fights, she had suffered three-straight defeats. A fight between Viana and Frey would see one of the two get closer to the rankings.
Gloria de Paula – Mallory Martin
There were a lot of unknowns surrounding the 5-2 de Paula heading into Saturday night. She was remembered for her performance on the Contender Series where she earned a decision victory over Pauline Macias. However, all her performances prior to that took place on the Brazilian regional scene. She had her moments throughout the fight, especially on the feet. That being said, the American was too much for her on the evening and de Paula fell to 5-3. Fortunately for her, the lack of depth in the division likely means we will see her compete once more at least. Mallory Martin is 1-2 in her first three bouts for the UFC and needs a victory. A fight between the two would be a must-win for both women.
Matthew Semelsberger def. Jason Witt via KO (Punch)
Matthew Semelsberger – Gabriel Green
When Matthew Semelsberger was signed at 6-2, many were left scratching their heads. He was signed to one of the most talent rich divisions in the promotion and didn’t have the best record. In addition, both of his losses had come to people with less wins on their record than losses. Less than five-months later, he has cemented two wins in the promotion. Semelsberger’s KO of Witt to start the night was exactly what the UFC needed. It was one of the few bright moments of the evening that was filled with controversy and disappointment for fans. Semelsberger is now 2-0 in the UFC which will get him a little bit closer to the Top 15. Gabriel green earned his first UFC win in a closely contested bout with Philip Rowe on February 13. A bout between the two could make sense for the summer.
Jason Witt – Niklas Stolze
Jason Witt never had the opportunity to get going in the contest. The Glory MMA product is now 1-2 in the promotion and will likely need a win in his next appearance. Four of Witt’s seven defeats have come within the opening minute of a round. Two of those are in the UFC. I am hoping Witt takes some time off after this one and tries to patch that up. IT seems to be the one thing holding Witt back from being very successful. His victory over Cole Williams in his sophmore appearance displayed what he is capable of. Germany’s Niklas Stolze hasn’t been able to return to the cage since July when he lost to Ramazan Emeev. He will be looking to pick up his first victory for the promotion.