Fight Night 86: What’s next for the winners

After a great afternoon of fights and some fantastic individual performances it is that time again. Time to step into Joe Silva’s shoes and discuss what could or should be next for the winners of Fight Night 86.

Junior Dos Santos vs. the loser of Alistair Overeem/Andrei Arlovski

Dos Santos put on an absolute clinic at UFC Fight Night 86 against fringe contender Ben Rothwell. The aforementioned Dos Santos, fighting for the first time since joining American Top Team, used a heavy dose of footwork and elusive hand-speed to dismantle the rising Rothwell. A potential matchup against the loser of the Overeem/Arlovksi bout could catapult ‘Cigano’ back into the title picture.

Derrick Lewis vs. Roy Nelson

Derrick Lewis made quick work of UFC vet Gabriel Gonzaga, finishing him via strikes within one frame of action. Lewis, riding a three fight win streak, used sheer brute force and athletic explosiveness to dismantle the Team Link standout. After the fight Lewis wasn’t shy about asking for his next opponent, calling out the heavy-handed Roy Nelson. Nelson responded almost immediately on Twitter, accepting the challenge. This has performance of the night written all over it.

Francis Ngannou vs Todd Duffee

MMA Factory representative Francis Ngannou looked absolutely terrifying Sunday afternoon, utilizing explosive strikes and a developing wrestling game to cruise to a third round victory. Ngannou, previously matched with hometown fighter Bojan Mihajlović, battered last minute replacement Curtis Blaydes to an eventual doctor stoppage between the second and third frame due Blaydes eye being swollen shut. A win over another physically imposing fighter in Todd Duffee could catapult Ngannou into a potential top 15 matchup.

Jan Blachowicz vs Tom Lawlor

It wasn’t easy, but MMA vet Jan Blachowicz came out victorious in his main event match-up against hometown favorite Igor Pokrajac. Blachowicz, a native of Poznan Poland, was often forced into uncomfortable exchanges but ultimately maintained his composure and utilized a well-rounded approach to help seal the victory. A match-up with UFC vet Tom Lawlor would be another stiff test for the Blachowicz. Both fighters have tasted defeat at the hands of Corey Anderson and Lawlor’s wrestling pedigree could be a staunch test for Blachowixz.

Timothy Johnson vs. Shawn Jordan

Timothy Johnson’s victory over UFC newcomer Marcin Tybura wasn’t the prettiest performance of the night, but it was efficient nonetheless. Johnson used his bread and butter, utilizing a strong clinch game to slow the fight down and help secure the victory. A match-up with the physically explosive Shawn Jordan would be a logical step up in competition for the Fargo North Dakota standout.

Maryna Moroz vs. Jessica Aguilar

Super prospect Maryna Moroz came out victorious Sunday against UFC newcomer Cristina Stanciu – her first fight after tasting defeat for the first time at the hands of contender Valerei Letourneau. Stanciu came like a bat out of hell, throwing a wide variety of wild strikes, often throwing caution to the wind in the grappling exchanges. However, Moroz’s calculated and pragmatic demeanor helped lead her to victory. Moroz capitalized on her opponent’s mistakes, taking her opponents back on several occasions throughout the fight. A win over former Invicta champ Jessica Aguilar could verify her legitimacy in the division, or just prove she’s another contender that’s all smoke and mirrors.

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