Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Fri., June 1, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 131 from inside Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, N.Y., which was headlined by a Bantamweight bout which saw Marlon Moraes run right through Jimmie Rivera with a 33-second knockout thanks to a well-timed switch kick (see it again here). In the co-main event, Gregor Gillespie continued his ascension after submitting Vinc Pichel in the second round via arm triangle (see it again here).
Winner: Marlon Moraes
Who He Should Face Next: Dominick Cruz
Marlon called for a shot at the title following his knockout win over Rivera. While many would agree with it, I wouldn’t be too quick to pull the trigger on a title fight just yet. And it’s all because of Raphael Assuncao. The Brazilian bomber is ranked No. 3, two spots ahead of Moraes. And like Moraes, he is on a three-fight win streak.
The kicker, however, is that Assuncao defeated Moraes just last year, so if anyone is going to get a shot at the strap, it should be Assuncao. I really don’t see how the promotion could give one to Moraes over Assuncao based on all those facts. As it stands, Raphael is scheduled to face off against Rob Font at UFC 226, and if he wins, he could have a case for a shot at the strap. For Marlon, I’d like to see him face Dominick Cruz next. Cruz was set to face Rivera at UFC 219 before suffering yet another injury, so having him face Marlon makes sense.
Winner: Gregor Gillespie
Who She Should Face Next: Mairbek Taisumov
Gregor continues to impress, and he did just that after taking out Vince Pichel via second-round submission. With the win, Gregor moves to 12-0, 5-0 UFC. With the win streak comes bigger challenges, and Mairbek will offer just that. Currently riding a five-fight win streak, Mairbel was se to fight at UFC 223 but visa issues forced him out of his fight against Evan Dunham. Hopefully he’s straightened everything out by now.
Winner: Walt Harris
Who He Should Face Next: Junior Albini
Harris picked up a big win over Daniel Spitz via second round knockout. And it came just in time, as he had dropped his previous two. Up next, I like a fight between he and Albini.
After impressing in his UFC debut, Junior has lost two in a row. A win over Harris could be what he needs to get a new lease on his UFC life. A loss, though, could spell the end of his short-lived UFC career.
Winner: Ben Saunders
Who He Should Face Next: Bryan Barberena
Why not? Bryan was set to face Jake Ellenberger at this event before he pulled out with an injury. So after Saunders went in and took out “Juggernaut,” and ended his two-fight skid in the process, I’d like to see the promotion book this bout.
Winner: Julio Arce
Who He Should Fight Next: Shane Burgos
After earning his spot in the Octagon on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Arce has looked impressive win his first two official fights inside the Octagon. A fight against Burgos I like very much. Shane is coming off a tough loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC 220 and should be gearing up for a return to action. The loss was Shanne’s first after starting his career 10-0.
Winner: Sam Alvey
Who He Should Fight Next: Darren Stewart
He called for a fight against Corey Anderson, but unfortunately, answering a call out was the last thing on Corey’s mind as he revealed his uncle had just passed away. Our condolences go out to him and his family.
It’s still a fight that makes sense, but if doesn’t happen, maybe a fight against Darren Stewart — who was victorious against Eric Spicely at UFC Liverpool last week, will do the trick.
For complete UFC Fight Night 131: “Rivera vs Moraes” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.