The UFC’s annual pre-Super Bowl show has a special place. It has been home to some of the best UFC cards (UFC 156, UFC 183) and recently switched to a Fight Night format.
This year, the Super Bowl host city of Houston also got a UFC card the night prior with a slate of great fights. After the night of underdogs taking down the favorites, what the next step for the winning and losing fighters from Houston.
Chang Sung Jung vs. Cub Swanson
‘The Korean Zombie’ is back! After over three years off, the former UFC Featherweight title challenger came back with a bang against a top 10 fighter.
After leaving MMA to do his mandatory military sentence for his home country of Korea, Jung picked up a first round knockout of Dennis Bermudez in the main event. After a back and forth exchange for the first half of the first round, Jung landed the punch that put Bermudez away.
This fight was a marquee matchup that had Cub Swanson awaiting his next opponent. After his UFC 206 Fight of the Night victory over other Korean Featherweight Doo Ho Choi, Swanson said the winner of this fight would make sense for his next fight. With Swanson taking significant damage in his last fight and Jung not a very active fighter, a summer or fall matchup between these two could headline a card or pop-up on the main card of a PPV.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Charles Oliveira
Despite a loss, veteran Dennis Bermudez should keep his top 15 status and could be awaiting another top 10 fighter.
After 9 wins in his last 11 fights, Bermudez suffered just his fourth loss in the UFC on Saturday. After two straight wins 2016, Bermudez wanted to make a splash early in 2017 and make his case for a big opponent.
The Featherweight division has become one of the best in UFC with a lot of fighters in line for a shot at the title. Bermudez can stay right in that realm if the UFC wants to keep him happy with a fight against Charles Oliveira whose coming off of a loss to former Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Felice Herrig vs. Juliana Lima
In one of the bigger shockers of the night, Felice Herrig got the victory over heavy favorite and highly touted Alexa Grasso.
A veteran of 18 professional MMA fights, Herrig has quietly put together a 3-1 record in the UFC with two submission wins. Going into The Ultimate Fighter, Herrig was among the fighters looked at to win the season and be the champion. She was submitted in the quarterfinal by Randa Markos.
With two wins in a row, Herrig should squeak back into the top 15. Sitting at 14 is Juliana Lima with three wins in her last four fights.
James Vick vs. Mairbek Taisumov
The Lightweight division is the deepest in the UFC with dozens of fighters on win streaks and ready to make a move. James Vick is in that category,
Vick suffered his first UFC loss last June to Beneil Dariush after five straight wins. What was first expected to be a battle of young Lightweights between Vick and Johnny Case, the fight was changed to Vick and Abel Trujillo.
With the win, Vick has put himself right back in the same position as before. Another young stud at 155 is awaiting a fight. A Vick and Mairbek Taisumov bout would emerge a new contender at Lightweight.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jordan Johnson
With all respect to Felice Herrig, Volkan Oezdemir had the biggest upset of the night with his win over former Interim Light Heavyweight challenger Ovince St. Preux. This was Oezdemir’s UFC debut when he agreed to fill in for injured for Jan Blachowicz.
Before becoming a UFC fighter, Oezdemir had ten finishes in his first 12 MMA fights. The Switzerland-born Light Heavyweight trains down in Florida with the guys that used to make up the Blackzillians.
It’s a tough spot for matchmaker Mick Maynard as Oezdemir has a top 10 win already. Jordan Johnson made his debut last week with a decision win. A fight between these two would make for a great fight between two highly touted Light Heavyweights.
Marcel Fortuna vs. Khalil Rountree
Company men fight a weight class or two up from their normal weight class to help out the company. That’s what Marcel Fortuna did as he faced Anthony Hamilton.
Fortuna said he was looking to employ a different game plan than what got him his first round knockout win.
Normally a Light Heavyweight, Fortuna lost his first UFC bout to TUF alum Cory Hendricks. Upon going back down to 205, waiting for him should be Hendricks teammate Khalil Rountree, who also picked up a win at the event.
Jessica Andrade vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been hinting at her next fight and that she started her training camp. What was once reported as Michelle Waterson in May, Dana White said main card opener winner Jessica Andrade has earned a title shot.
Andrade moved down to 115 after a 4-3 stint as a Bantamweight. She has gone 3-0 after her victory over former Invicta Strawweight champion Angela Hill. The win could be the fight that earns Andrade a title shot at one of the most dominant champions to date.
Grasso vs. Ham
St. Preux vs. Latifi
Hamilton vs. Pesta
Hill vs. Suarez
Curtis Blaydes vs. Marcin Tybura
Adam Milstead vs. Cyril Asker
Chas Skelly vs. Renan Barao
Chris Greutzemacher vs. Kyle Bochniak
Ricardo Ramos vs. Anthony Birchak
Michinori Tanaka vs. Mitch Gagnon
Tecia Torres vs. Maryna Moroz
Bec Rawlings vs. Valerie Letourneau
Niko Price vs. Elizeu Zaleski
Alex Morono vs. Keita Nakamura
Khalil Rountree vs. Marcel Fortuna
Daniel Jolly vs. Bojan Mihaljovic