written by: Cam Bennett
Casey O’Neill vs Tracy Cortez
Casey O’Neill makes it three for three in the UFC with three straight fights finishing before the full 15 minutes are up. O’Neill finished Antonina Shevchenko by tko in the second round. O’Neill is a rising prospect at 8-0 now and it’s much needed in a division that is seemingly completed dominated by Valentina Shevchenko. The challenge for “the King” needs to keep increasing and there are some other rising prospects that could offer said challenge. One option is Tracy Cortez, a fighter that is also a Contender Series graduate and also a young up-and-comer. This would be a barn burner of a fight between two young, rising stars and a fight that could easily be placed on a big PayPerView card. This could be a fight that could take place years later in a rematch as I feel like these two have a big part to play in the future of the division.
Jared Gordon vs Paddy Pimblett
Jared Gordon secured the decision win against a game Joe Solecki. Gordon looked solid for his return to the lightweight division. Afterwards, Gordon did what the kids call “shooting your shot,” and called for a dance with the one they call “the Baddy.” Gordon said that he has already beaten one of Paddy’s teammates and also another Cage Warriors fellow fighter. Gordon said that if he beats Paddy that he would then be the Cage Warriors champ. Paddy replied with a simple, “Let’s do this.” We all thought the firestorm of media surrounding Pimblett before was big, a fight with someone as gritty as Gordon could ramp it up even more. That’s a fight that I want to see and one that the fighters both want, so sign us up.
Alex Hernandez vs Renato Carneiro
Alex Hernandez was back in a big way after his last fight by turning the lights out on his opponent. Hernandez has had an up and down career ever since his fight with Donald Cerrone. Hernandez looked solid and secured the finish in the first round. He is someone that definitely has shown streaks of brilliance and potential of being a staple in the division when he is on his A game. I think a matchup with Renato Carneiro would be a solid one between two veterans who are trying to get back to where they once were in being ranked. This would be a great fight filled with fireworks by two fighters that never seem to lack action.
Kevin Holland vs Kyle Daukaus 2
Well, that fight didn’t go the way anyone wanted to see. The matchup between Holland and Daukaus ended in the first round in a no contest due to an absolutely brutal accidental headbutt by Daukaus on Holland. We did see an improve takedown defense by Holland after his trip to “Hendrickstan,” but it’s rough we didn’t get very far into the fight. This fight can be rescheduled on a later card or be turned into a main event fight night if needed.
Thiago Santos vs Dominick Reyes
Thiago Santos was able to snap his three-fight losing streak and get back to the winning ways by outpointing Johnny Walker. Santos is one of the main guys now in the light heavyweight division and even has a win over the champ. It’s been a long journey for Thiago Santos, and he wants to get back to another title shot, and what better way to fight someone ranked above you and a former title challenger. Just as Santos was, Dominick Reyes is on a three-fight losing streak, two of those coming in title fights to Jon Jones and Jan Blachowicz. Reyes at this point is also a staple in the division and is craving a win. It’s a tall task to beat Santos, but in the UFC, there are no easy fights and you have to scrap to keep your spot. This is a logical next step for both men.