After all the major changes to the card, UFC 177 turned out to be a great night of fights. The night included a few knockouts, a couple of slick submissions, and the retaining of a UFC Bantamweight Championship. Now it was time to play matchmaker and see who was next for the UFC 177 main card winners.
TJ Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao 2
The change of opponent in twenty-four hours did not affect TJ Dillashaw (11-2) as he retained his UFC Bantamweight Championship against promotional newcomer, Joe Soto. In what was a more competitive bout than expected, Soto put up a great fight before Dillashaw dazed him with a headkick and pounded him out. Dillashaw is on a 3-fight winning streak and 7-2 since making his official UFC debut after TUF 14.
Only two men have defeated Dillashaw in his young MMA career: John Dodson – who fights at Flyweight – and Raphael Assuncao (22-4). Originally, Assuncao was asked to challenge then-UFC Bantamweight Champion, Renan Barao at UFC 173. However, due to an injury, Dillashaw took his place and the rest is history. Assuncao is unbeaten since moving down to Bantamweight in 2011. He’s on a 6-fight winning streak and is scheduled to face Bryan Caraway next in the UFC’s debut in Halifax.
A win over Caraway should earn Assuncao the title shot. There’s no better time to do the rematch. While Assuncao has the chance to become the UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dillashaw has the opportunity to avenge a loss. However, if Assuncao loses, the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki should get the next shot.
Tony Ferguson vs. Rustam Khabilov
In a razor-thin Split Decision, Tony Ferguson (16-3) edged out the hometown hero, Danny Castillo for the biggest win of his professional MMA career. As a result, he extended his winning streak to three. “El Cucuy” has been on a tear since winning the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s 6-1 since making his promotional debut, defeating Ramsey Nijem and Katsunori Kikuno, as well as veterans Yves Edwards and Aaron Riley.
Despite his first loss in the UFC, Rustam Khabilov (17-2) remains on the Top 15 UFC Lightweight Rankings. After all, the loss was to former UFC and WEC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, who submitted “The Tiger” with a fourth-round Rear Naked Choke. Prior to the loss, Khabilov defeated Vinc Pinchel, Yancy Medeiros, and fellow ranked UFC Lightweight, Jorge Masvidal.
Although he’s coming off a loss, Khabilov would be a great test for Ferguson to see if the TUF 13 Winner can hang with a Top 15 UFC Lightweight. The two almost have identical records with the same amount of fights and it would be a fight for the fans to enjoy with Khabilov’s suplexes and Ferguson’s flashy technique.
Bethe Correia vs. Miesha Tate/Rin Nakai
With most of her fights ending by decisions and her lack of experience compared to Shayna Baszler, Bethe Correia (9-0) silenced the critics with a second-round TKO of “The Queen of Spades”. She made her UFC debut in December, edging out Julie Kedzie with a Split Decision before earning a Unanimous Decision over Baszler’s teammate, Jessamyn Duke at UFC 172. This was turning into a pro wrestling storyline with Correia defeating two of the Four Horsewomen. With Marina Shafir fighting outside of the UFC at Featherweight, Ronda Rousey is expected to be next.
Not so fast.
“The Pitbull” has yet to face a Top 10 UFC Women’s Bantamweight. A good test for Correia would be the winner of Miesha Tate (14-5) vs. Rin Nakai (16-0) at UFC Fight Night 52. Tate won her first UFC fight, defeating Liz Carmouche via Unanimous Decision. As for, Nakai, she is undefeated, holding wins over Sarah D’Alelio and Tara LaRosa.
If Correia can beat a Top 10 Women’s Bantamweight, she should be next in line for Rousey. For now, there are others that are closer to a title shot.
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Elias Silverio
In the Fight of the Night, Carlos Diego Ferreira (11-0) improves his already perfect record with a second-round TKO over Ramsey Nijem. In just two fights in the UFC, he has displayed a well-diverse MMA game. In his last fight, it only took Ferreira thirty-eight seconds to submit TUF 16 Winner, Colton Smith in his UFC debut. He also earned a bonus in that bout, earning the Performance of the Night. He fought for Legacy FC, where he was the promotion’s Lightweight Champion and showed why in the UFC.
Fellow undefeated Brazilian, Elias Silverio (11-0), is coming off a third-round Rear Naked Choke over Ernest Chavez at TUF: Brazil 3 Finale in May. Before his first finish in the UFC, “Xuxu” made his Lightweight debut, defeating Isaac Valle-Flagg via Unanimous Decision. In his UFC debut, he earned yet another Unanimous Decision over Joao Zeferino. Prior to entering the UFC, he won the Jungle Fights Welterweight Championship.
With Ferreira and Silverio having identical records, it would be entertaining to see these two get matched up.
Yancy Medeiros vs. Joe Ellenberger
If the UFC 177 drug tests come out clean, Yancy Medeiros (10-2, 1 NC) got his first win in the promotion, submitting Damon Jackson with a Reverse Bulldog Choke. As a result, he earned the Performance of the Night. He lost two of his first three fights to Rustam Khabilov and Jim Miller. He earned a knockout over Yves Edwards but tested positive for Marijuana, turning the win into a No Contest. However, after a slick submission like that, Medeiros has plenty of momentum on his side.
No one has had worse luck than Joe Ellenberger (15-1). He was set to make his promotional debut at UFC 172 against Yancy Medeiros. However, Medeiros moved up to face Jim Miller and was replaced by Vagner Rocha, who pulled out with an injury. As a result, Ellenberger was off UFC 172.
Two months later, Ellenberger had three opponents withdraw on him before facing James Moontasri. “Excalibur” won his UFC debut via Split Decision.
With Medeiros and Ellenberger coming off their first UFC wins, these two should be rescheduled to fight again.
Don’t agree with the matchmaking? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below the article or tweet to @CagePagesFS.