As detailed in our recap of this weekend’s UFC fights, Ronaldo “Jacare” Silva is back and looking in good form.
Jacare faced Derek Brunson in a rematch following their 2012 Strikeforce scrap. On that occasion, the Brazilian emerged victorious with a first-round knockout inside 41 seconds. This time around, history repeated itself as Jacare scored another knockout win over Brunson in the fight’s opening round.
Jacare now has four knockout wins to his credit during his illustrious fighting career and half of those have come courtesy of Brunson.
Now that the dust has settled from Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 27 card in Charlotte, North Carolina, it’s time to play fantasy matchmaker with Saturday’s results in mind.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Having not fought for over nine months, Jacare looked in fine form against Brunson on Saturday night – a fighter who can often pose big problems for his opponents.
Jacare was ranked third in the UFC middleweight rankings ahead of Saturday. As it’s unlikely that ranking position will change as a result of beating Brunson, Jacare should face one of the division’s highly-touted talents.
Kelvin Gastelum fits that bill. Ranked sixth by the UFC, Gastelum is fresh off an impressive knockout win over recently-dethroned middleweight king Michael Bisping.
Gastelum’s last five fights have seen him post three wins, a loss, and a win against Vitor Belfort overturned to a No Contest after a failed drug test for marijuana. While his fight before Bisping was a defeat to Chris Weidman, Gastelum has long been clamouring for a big-name match-up and has proven his ability to hang with the very best of that division.
It’s an interesting styles clash and a win for either man could do wonders for their status as title contender. Book it.
Andre Fili vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
It was a close fight and a hotly-disputed decision by the judges, but Andre Fili’s win over Dennis Bermudez was nonetheless impressive.
Fili’s evasive footwork and ability to take down a tough wrestler in Bermudez certainly raised some eyebrows in the MMA world, especially given the caliber of opponent Bermudez has faced in the past. Don’t forget that Bermudez has a win over current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway under his belt.
Fili has long been considered a young talent to look out for as the featherweight division matures. With a five-year anniversary of being a UFC fighter fast approaching in 2018, it’s time Fili’s promise becomes realised potential.
He may have flown under the radar so far in his UFC career, but Zabit Magomedsharipov is the latest fighter to emerge from Dagestan with endless ability. At 26, Magomedsharipov is younger than Fili and the former ACB champion is considered among the brightest talents to hail from the South Caucasus.
Magomedsharipov has only fought in the UFC twice so far, winning both fights by submission and adding to his record of 14-1. On top of that, the Dagestani fighter is unbeaten in nearly five years.
Fili vs. Magomedsharipov would be a tough fight for either competitor, while establishing one of two things in the process: whether Fili has turned a corner and is ready to make a run up the UFC rankings, or if Magomedsharipov is the real deal and we have yet another scarily-good Russian to watch out for in the UFC.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Evan Dunham – Mairbek Taisumov winner
Gregor Gillespie is looking increasingly impressive each time he sets foot in the Octagon. The Long Islander has only been fighting since 2012, but he is a four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and has developed his MMA skils alongside his existing wrestling credentials.
Unbeaten with a record of 11-0, Gillespie has five wins by knockout and four by submission to his name. His four-fight UFC run has seen him defeat Glaico Franca, Andrew Holbrook, Jason Gonzalez and, as of Saturday night, Jordan Rinaldi. Rinaldi was another fighter competing in front of a hometown crowd, but that counted for nothing this weekend as Gillespie forced a first-round TKO stoppage via a series of crushing punches on the ground.
Gillespie is on his way up the lightweight division and a fight against either Evan Dunham or Mairbek Taisumov, who both sit on the fringes of the UFC lightweight top 15 rankings, would be a good test to see what stage Gillespie’s MMA development is at this early into his career.
Dunham and Taisumov are expected to fight at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York, in April.