Finally! After three weeks away and having to do an Aftermath on a boxing match, we finally have some UFC action to speculate on. No wasting time, no pomp and circumstance, let’s get into it.
UFC DC Aftermath: Twisters, Hail Marys, Groin Strikes, Oh My!Tweet Our Post, Baby
Bryce Mitchell Is That Dude
Next opponent for Bryce Mitchell: Kron Gracie, Ryan Hall
I absolutely cannot get enough of Bryce Mitchell. He has the personality to be a giant star in a different way for the UFC. He’s a pure bred, coon ass, strangling mofo who is incredibly fun to watch fight.
From the get go, Mitchell was in control of his fight with Matt Sayles. He got his takedown exactly when he wanted it and was all over Sayles like a spider monkey. In a beautiful grappling display, Mitchell transitioned looking for sub after sub. He never committed to any one submission, not happy with where he was to sub Sayles. Then after a scramble he decided to do something only one man had done before in the UFC: a twister. Mitchell got the twister, having Sayles tap almost immediately.
While I’m a huge Bryce Mitchell fan, I still think he has some growing to do. I’d like to see him take another 2-3 fights before taking a crack at the top 15. First fight I think would be fun is a glorified grappling match. Let’s see Thug Nasty and Kron Gracie go at it. Gracie is a better Jiu Jitsu player than Mitchell, but Mitchell is crazy enough to try and go to the ground with him. If his coaches are smart, they’d force the fight to stay standing. Seeing Mitchell on his feet, getting more experience, is where I’d like to see him first. A Gracie is the perfect way to force that, unless Bryce Mitchell wants to flex and try to sub a Gracie.
Since were doing crazy grappling matches with punching for Bryce Mitchell, let’s also do Ryan Hall next. Hall takes peoples legs home when they fight. And I’m trying to see Mitchell be forced to stand more. Again, though, Bryce Mitchell is the special kind of crazy that he might say, “Let me get on the ground.” Either way, it’s exciting and I want it. You guys know you do too.
Aspen Ladd Batters Yana Kunitskaya
Next opponent for Yana Kunitskaya: Vieira/Aldana loser, Tonya Evinger
Yana Kunitskaya came into the UFC and took on a tall task, she fought Cris Cyborg in her UFC debut. It was simply the UFC finding a fight for their champ in a non-existent division. Now, Kunitskaya had her foot in the door and she needs to execute. Since the Cyborg fight, she won two in a row, both decisions, and took on Ladd for a step up in competition.
Unfortunately for Kunitskaya, Ladd was too much of a step up in competition. Ladd, who has had weight cut issues, was too quick, and too powerful for the former Invicta champion. She was never really in the fight. Kunitskaya looked to be off put by Ladd’s power at UFC DC and never had an answer to her stand up.
Kunitskaya needs to work on fighting under pressure. With the women’s bantamweight division being somewhat full of good to decent fighters, she will not have a hard time finding that test and still be able to succeed. Irene Aldana and Ketlen Vieira are fighting this week at UFC 245. Yana Kunitskaya will do well to take on the loser of that matchup with the winner likely getting the winner of Nunes-de Randamie.
Tonya Evinger is looking for a fight and her toughness would be a good test for Kunitskaya. She can bring heat and allow Yana Kunitskaya to counter and fight under pressure that isn’t as bad as what Ladd brings.
Next opponent for Aspen Ladd: Pennington/Holm winner, Juliana Peña
Aspen Ladd absolutely showed up in every way possible at UFC DC. She dominated Yana Kunitskaya from the first bell. Ladd has been plagued with weight cut issues. This time, she made weight this time, something she should not be applauded for, and she came in and looked good. In the de Randamie fight, Ladd drained herself and it showed as de Randamie put her away in 16 seconds. Now, Ladd is back on the up trajectory and will be fighting for a title with a couple more wins.
While a win over Kunitskaya is a good thing, Ladd needs to be some people more notable in the women’s bantamweight division. Raquel Pennington and Holly Holm are booked to fight in January. The winner of that fight is the ideal opponent for Aspen Ladd. Both are former title challengers, and Holly Holm has fought 12,382 times for a title. A former title challenger win would work wonders for Ladd’s resume (Yana Kunitskaya doesn’t count).
If that fight doesn’t come to fruition, Juliana Peña is another option. Peña may not have the former title challenger experience Holm or Pennington has, but she’s fought Cat Zingano, Valentina Shevchenko, and Nicco Montaño. Two champions and a challenger. A win over Peña would put her right in line for a shot at the title, given that she keeps her weight cut issues in order.
Ben Rothwell and Stefan Struve Have a Nuts Fight
Next opponent for Stefan Struve: re-retirement, Anderi Arlovski
Sorry, I couldn’t pass on the pun. Stefan Struve came out of retirement because he felt he wasn’t done in his career. Sadly, the fight went about as bad as it could for Stefan Struve. UFC DC had two very bad groin strikes and a knockout in store for Struve. While he was standing, he fought well. His striking was much improved and it was apparent that Struve was not out of training for long. He used his length to keep Ben Rothwell at distance for the fight.
Struve might want to reconsider retirement, especially being knocked out by Rothwell. Taking extra brain damage is not what anyone wants to see. Although he did fight well, he still took unnecessary damage.
If after such a bad defeat Struve wants to fight still, a rematch with Andrei Arlovski would be a fun rematch. The two fought to a decision at UFC 222 in 2018. At this point in both of their careers, the fight would be entirely different, especially with Struve’s new found distance management.
Next opponent for Ben Rothwell: Augusto Sakai, Blagoy Ivanov
I’ve seen some people get mad at Ben Rothwell for going all out once he got a point deducted for two groin strikes on Stefan Struve. What else was he supposed to do? Take a dive? Asserting that Ben Rothwell is a bad guy for trying to win a fight he knew without a doubt he was losing is an absurdity. Rothwell didn’t feel glad about the illegal strikes. But he did what he had to do.
Now, Rothwell is finally in the win column for the first time since 2016 when he beat Josh Barnett. A two year USADA suspension really was at the worst time for Rothwell. Luckily, while Rothwell is 38, heavyweight career spans can extend midway through their 40s.
If Rothwell wants to fight for a title, he needs to win and win well. Rothwell, while not on a tear, would do well with a ranked opponent. Augusto Sakai is one bout that would be beneficial for both fighters if victorious. Sakai is a Contender Series alum and is in need of a test. With Sakai being ranked 12th, Rothwell would be right on track with a win.
The second option for Ben Rothwell would be the Bulgarian version of himself, Blagoy Ivanov. Ivanov is almost indestructible, having survived the best shots from Derrick Lewis, Junior Dos Santos, and Tai Tuivasa. The two fought in March and it was a decent fight. Now that Rothwell has brushed a little more dust off, the fight might go a different way.
Jairzinho Rozenstruick Obliterates Alistair Overeem With A Hail Mary
Next opponent for Alistair Overeem: Andrei Arlovski, Augusto Sakai
Alistair Overeem fought a 99.7% perfect fight. That 0.3% was the reason he lost. Overeem kept his hands high and didn’t get too wild with his power shots. He wrestled, something that the K-1 champion isn’t known for. For all intents and purposes, Overeem won the fight, until he didn’t. Jairzinho Rozenstruick blasted Reem and knocked him out for the 14th time in his MMA career. I am of the opinion that Overeem should seriously consider retirement.
If Overeem wants a swan song, that is all fine and dandy. We can make a dual retirement out of it and have Andrei Arlovski and Overeem rematch. Reem won the first fight by knockout easily, but having two legends fight is always entertaining. Both can lay their gloves down in the cage after an epic fight, preferably three rounds.
Another way Overeem can go out is against a young gun. I mentioned Augusto Sakai as a suggestion for our last heavyweight fight, but one with Overeem makes sense as well. Overeem and Sakai will undoubtably put on an exciting fight for fans and a good swan song for Overeem to close his hall-of-fame career with.
Next opponent for Jairzinho Rozenstruick: Alexey Oleynik, Shamil Abdurakhimov
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly happy Rozenstruick won his fight, even though he beat one of my favorite heavyweight fighters, but he did not look that good. It was apparent he was out of his league and survived on his power alone. He did prove that he had power late in the fight. But he seemed to be hunting for a counter and Overeem did not give him any but one option. Luckily, Rozenstruick was able to capitalize and split Overeem’s lip, getting the knockout.
Rozenstruick isn’t the same as Francis N’Gannou. N’Gannou actually sets up his shots and makes openings. He’s faster as well. Rozenstruick has a lot of improvement to make to get to the top of the division, regardless of his top ten win. He just doesn’t pass the eye test yet.
If Alistair Overeem is able to take down Rozenstruick at UFC DC, he needs to work on his takedown defense if he is serious about challenging the top of the division. I say we throw him into the deep water and see if he sinks or swims. Alexey Oleynik is a wizard on the ground. Rozenstruick seemed helpless against Reem on the ground. Let’s have him work on his takedown defense and see what happens against Oleynik, regardless if he wins or not against Maurice Green.
Any Russian is dangerous on the ground. Shamil Abdurakhimov is no exception. He may not have the longevity that Oleynik has, but he will be another grappling test for Rozenstruick. Having these two hungry newcomers to the UFC’s heavyweight division would be a good fight to make for a skill test for both fighters to see if they are truly ready for the top of the division.
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