Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Feb. 3, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 125 inside Mangueirinho Gymnasium in Belem, Brazil, live on FOX Sports 1, which featured a Middleweight fight that saw Lyoto Machida break his three-fight skid to outscore Eryk Anders to earn his first win in three years (see it).
Winner: Lyoto Machida
Who He Should Fight Next: Michael Bisping
After getting back on the winning track, “The Dragon” took to the mic to call out “The Count” in what would be his retirement fight. And I like this fight, a lot, and not just due to the challenge drawn by Machida, it was a fight I called for three months ago after Bisping got creamed by Kelvin Gastelum. It simply makes sense on all levels, two longtime veterans seemingly at the tail-end of their careers whose name carries value due to longevity and championship pedigree. While it won’t be happening in London, this fight can carry a Fight Night event down the road. Machida can continue his resurgence with a win over a former champion, while “The Count” can attempt to go out on a win over a former champion.
Winner: Valentina Shevchenko
Who She Should Fight Next: ???
I’m a little lost on this one. This fight was Valentina’s first-ever at 125 pounds, a division she is currently not ranked in. And it was a complete massacre. Meanwhile, “Bullet” is the No. 1 ranked women’s bantamweight, which will be interesting to see where she lands in her new division come next week. Until then, I can not, with confidence, pit Valentina against anyone, hypothetically. That said, since the division is still new, Shevchenko could very well find herself having her way with the field, as she is the most-experienced and technical fighter in that weight class.
Winner: Thiago Santos
Who He Should Fight Next: Paulo Costa
I get it, Brazilian’s aren’t too keen on fighting one another, but this fight is a good one to make. Both are on win streaks and slow climbing the rankings, with Santos holding down the No. 15 spot, while Costa is sitting cozy at No. 14. Giving them another higher-ranked foe right now just doesn’t make sense. Someone’s streak has to end, and it could come swiftly and violently when these two start swinging leather.
Winner: Timothy Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: Aleksei Oleinik
Tim picked up a nice win over Marcelo Golm, continuing his win, loss pattern he’s had going since 2015. A fight against Aleksei Oleinik I like very much. The hard-hitting Russian is coming off a loss to Curtis Blaydes, but he can bring it. There really aren’t too many other options for the heavy’s at the bottom of the rankings, but this matchup is good for both, and a win will be huge for their climb up the ladder.
Winner: Michel Prazeres
Who He Should Fight Next: Polo Reyes
Don’t look now, but Prazeres has now won six in a row, but it’s still not good enough to earn him a spot in a very-stacked Lightweight division. Polo, meanwhile, is coming off a one-punch knockout win over Matt Frevola that took all of 60 seconds. Polo has done fairly well inside the eight-walled cage, winning four of five, and has proven to have the potential to make some noise in the division. The winner of this matchup can very well find himself owning a coveted spot on the rankings, and could set themselves up for bigger matchups down the road. Book it.
For complete UFC Fight Night 125: “Machida vs Anders” results and play-by-play updates click here.