Rob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via Unanimous Decision
Rob Font – Aljamain Sterling / Petr Yan Loser
Tyson Chartier will be a front runner for coach of the year by the time the year is done. Rob Font continues to improve every time we see him inside the octagon. Everyone ranked ahead of him is either booked or will be fighting for the belt. At this point, it would be best for Font to take some time off and return against the loser of the title fight that takes place later this year.
Cody Garbrandt – Alexandre Pantoja / Brandon Royval Winner
Cody has been hinting at a potential move to 125lbs for a little while now. Despite the success he has had at bantamweight, after losing four of five it’s a long road to climb to a title. Like Dumont, a change in weight class would fast track him to a title. A fight with the winner of the Pantoja / Royval fight later this year could see him as the #1 Contender should he get his hand raised.
Carla Esparza def. Yan Xiaonan via TKO (Punches)
Carla Esparza – Rose Namajunas
There are two options available for strawweight champion Rose Namajunas at the moment. She could grant Weili Zhang a rematch of their UFC 261 fight where she defeated Zhang in the first round. Alternatively, she could offer Carla Esparza a rematch of their title fight in 2014 in which Esparza won. I would imagine avenging one of her losses would be more important for the Champion.
Yan Xiaonan – Tecia Torres
Yan Xiaonan was viewed as one of the women that could cause serious problems for the champion at 115lbs. Esparza found a hole in her game and exploited it on Saturday night. Xiaonan should look to get some grappling training in and look to get back on track with someone outside the Top 5. A fight with Tecia Torres could offer her a chance to do that. For Torres, a win would put her in title discussions for the first time in her career.
Jared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa via Unanimous Decision
Jared Vanderaa – Jarjis Danho
Jared Vanderaa displayed tremendous improvements in his stand-up on Saturday night. He stood and exchanged with one of the heaviest hitters in the heavyweight division. I would expect him to look to earn a couple more wins before challenging someone inside the Top 15. A bout with Jarjis Danho could make sense for Vanderaa in his next fight.
Justin Tafa – Harry Hunsucker
If you look up Justin Tafa in a thesaurus you will see a picture of Mark Hunt. Despite having around a .500 record both New Zealanders are fan favorites to watch. Tafa will likely remain part of the roster even though he has a 4-3 MMA record. A fight with Harry Hunsucker could be next to determine which man will remain on the UFC roster.
Norma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer via Split Decision
Norma Dumont – Amanda Nunes
Win or lose to Julianna Peña in August, Amanda Nunes will likely be defending her 145lb belt later this year. With a lack of contenders in the division, Norma Dumont’s victory on Saturday likely earned her a shot. She mentioned wanting to return to 135lbs, but when the opportunity to fight for a belt comes you have to take it.
Felicia Spencer – Danyelle Wolf
Felicia Spencer’s initial opponent Danyelle Wolf was forced out of their bout due to an undisclosed injury. Unfortunately there are only a handful of fighters in the division so a rebooking of the fight is what makes the most sense here.
Ricardo Ramos def. Bill Algeo via Unanimous Decision
Ricardo Ramos – Omar Morales
At 6-2 in the promotion, Ramos is becoming a serious threat for most men outside the Top 15. A fight with Venezuela’s Omar Morales would be a great test to see which of the two men is ready to move closer toward the Top 15 of the stacked featherweight division.
Bill Algeo – Damon Jackson
Bill Algeo has been given three tough opponents in his UFC career so far. In all three bouts he went to decision and only once did he manage to get his hand raised. Expect the UFC to book him with an opponent in a similar position as him in his next outing. A fight with Damon Jackson could be next and it would offer him a chance to get his second UFC win.
Jack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan via Unanimous Decision
Jack Hermansson – Sean Strickland / Uriah Hall Winner
Jack Hermansson and alternated wins and losses in his last four bouts. He asked for an opponent ranked above him, but that seems unlikely at this point given the fact they are all booked. Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland are scheduled to fight at UFC 265 with the winner likely to find themselves on the heels of Hermansson in the rankings.
Edmen Shahbazyan – Andreas Michailidis
After starting his career 11-0, Shahbazyan finds himself on a two-fight losing streak. At 23 years old, the future is still very bright for him. It might be time to look outside the rankings for his next opponent to give him an opportunity to get back in the win column. A fight with Andreas Michailidis would be one that suits his style well and could take place in the late summer.