clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Fight Night 61 results recap: Next matches to make for 'Bigfoot vs Mir' main card winners in Brazil

After a historic UFC Fight Night 61: "Bigfoot vs Mir" event, ponders what is next for the main card winners who picked up victories last Sunday night (Feb. 22, 2015) on FOX Sports 1 inside the Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its debut in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with the UFC Fight Night 61: "Bigfoot vs Mir" event, which took place last evening (Sun., Feb. 22, 2015) from inside the Gigantinho Gymnasium, live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir returned to the Octagon in impressive fashion, knocking out former No. 1 contender Antonio Silva in just under two minutes into the main event of the evening (highlights here). After a year-long layoff, Mir snapped a four-fight losing streak in devastating fashion, sending a message to the mixed martial arts (MMA) community that he is not going anywhere.

The co-main event provided UFC's lightweight division with yet another top contender in Michael Johnson. "The Menace" had been out of action for about a year, but after being reinstated by UFC brass following an investigation into a "domestic dispute," the Blackzilian product put on a career-best performance in defeating Edson Barboza via unanimous decision.

Check out the highlights here.

With that quick recap of last night's marquee bouts, it's now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."

Winner: Santiago Ponzinibbio

Who Should He Fight Next: John Hathaway or Omari Akhmedov

Santiago Ponzinibbio is certainly a fun fighter to watch -- as he provided a number of highlights during his unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Sean Strickland -- but I am not ready to see the Argentinian take a huge step up in competition just yet.

While I certainly was impressed by Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 61, his striking defense leaves much to be desired as he relies heavily on his impressive chin. Ultimately, once "Gente Boa" fights a strong wrestler or a pressure fighter, he will have a difficult time running with his aggressive attack.

In order to provide another exciting affair while taking a small step up in competition, I would love to see The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil product take on John Hathaway, but considering the Englishman has not fought since his brutal knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim, I would settle for a scrap with Omari Akhmedov.

Winner: Frankie Saenz

Who Should He Fight Next: Bryan Caraway

In a historic night for underdogs in Brazil, no victory was as sweet as Frankie Saenz's decision win over Iuri Alcantara. With a huge opportunity to face off against a top 10 bantamweight in only his second UFC fight, Saenz grabbed the bull by the horns and put a beating on "Marajo" for 15 minutes straight.

The American was thrown to the wolves in Brazil, and he came out as the victor and a new contender in the UFC's 135-pound division.

Considering Saenz has already beaten a top-10 opponent, I don't see how he could take a step back at this point. Hopefully, UFC brass will continue to give Saenz bigger opportunities because he certainly deserves it after his performance in Porto Alegre.

In my opinion, a bout with submission ace Bryan Caraway would likely turn into a captivating affair that will have fans on the edge of their seats.

Winner: Adriano Martins

Who Should He Fight Next: Winner of Jim Miller vs Paul Felder

In a fight that I expected to be an enthralling back-and-forth affair, I found myself screaming at the television for both men to be more active. Regardless of the quality, Martins picked up a big victory over No. 14-ranked Rustam Khabilov.

The Brazilian is now 3-1 in his UFC career, and I expect him to be ranked very soon. Considering most of his fights have been exciting, I will give him a pass for the snoozefest he put on at UFC Fight Night 61.

As for his next opponent? I would like to see Martins fight a pressure fighter, so I think the winner of the Jim Miller vs Paul Felder bout at UFC on FOX 15 would be intriguing.

Winner: Sam Alvey

Who Should He Fight Next: CB Dollaway

How can you not love Sam Alvey?

The Wisconsin native is simply unlike any other fighter I have ever seen. With a smile that never fades, and power to shut the lights out on nearly anyone in the 185-pound division, "Smile'n" is quickly becoming a fan-favorite for UFC faithful.

While I appreciate Alvey's grit -- alongside an impressive chin -- there is no way he can compete against high-level competition the middleweight division offers, but that does not mean he should not get the opportunity.

If "Mutante" did not have a glass jaw, I suspect Alvey would have gotten beat up for the remainder of the fight before dropping a decision, but that was not the case. In the end, Alvey threw four significant strikes in three minutes of work, and that is all he needed (highlights here).

Why not give him a quick turnaround against a ranked opponent that has a similar victory?

That's right, I am talking about CB Dollaway.

Winner: Michael Johnson

Who Should He Fight Next: Benson Henderson

Let's run down a quick checklist for Michael Johnson's performance at UFC Fight Night 61:

1. Beat dangerous hometown fighter in enemy territory: Check!

2. Show absolutely no signs of ring rust following a year-long layoff by putting on career performance aided by a perfect game plan: Check!

3. Win third straight UFC bout: Check!

4. Call out former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson as stepping stone to a UFC title shot: Check!

"The Menace" did everything right in Porto Alegre last night, and UFC brass should reward him for his due diligence. Plus, who wouldn't want to see Johnson vs Henderson?!

Winner: Frank Mir

Who Should He Fight Next: Retire (or Brock Lesnar)

What else does Frank Mir have to prove?

After annihilating "Bigfoot" Silva last night in just under two minutes, Mir sent a message that he still has what it takes to fight at an elite level, but let's not kid ourselves into believing he is still a top-five fighter.

Mir is one of the most decorated fighters in UFC history, having earned 15 Octagon victories -- including a UFC heavyweight record for 12 finishes -- a two-time champion, alongside a plethora of other accolades.

It would have certainly been unfortunate to see the former champ hang up his gloves following five straight losses (had he been defeated by "Bigfoot" last evening), but Mir now has the opportunity to retire with a sensational victory -- which almost no UFC legend had the opportunity to do.

While it's hard to say Mir should retire following such a ferocious knockout victory, recall that "Bigfoot" has been knocked out in three of his last four fights, and six times in seven career losses.

Now that is not to take anything away from Mir, but I am simply pointing out the facts at hand. I'd rather watch a UFC Hall of Famer hang them up on his own terms, rather than being knocked out and retiring on his "shield."

Not shockingly, Mir wants to get back inside the cage, and if he really believes he has a late career title run in him (just look at Robbie Lawler winning the title after 13 years) I don't see why UFC would not book the "phenomenal" trilogy bout with Brock Lesnar, if the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star is really determined on returning later this year.

Stranger things have happened.

For complete UFC Fight Night 61 results and coverage of all the night's action click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania