Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business this past weekend (Sat., Aug. 25, 2018) with UFC Fight Night 135, which went down inside Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. The FOX Sports 1-televised event saw Justin Gaethje melt James Vick in the first round with a vicious right hand to put him out for the count (video).
In the co-main event, Michael Johnson scored his first win for the first time in a long time after edging out Andre Fili in Featherweight action (recap here) via split decision. It was a close decision that has “Touchy“ mad as hell.
Winner: Justin Gaethje
Who He Should Fight Next: Kevin Lee
Originally I thought of Al Iaquinta, but since he’s making much more money selling houses and has no plans to return to face-punching action anytime soon, I went with Lee. “Motown Phenom” hasn’t competed since dominating Edson Barboza earlier this year. The two have had a bit of a history through the media, so it’s a fight that would sell itself. Both men like to stand-and-bang, and a win for either over the other would help them increase their stock in a stacked 155-pound weight class.
Winner: Michael Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: Ricardo Lamas
After breaking his three-fight skid, Johnson has some new-found confidence and will be a tough match up for anyone in the 145-pound weight class. Before he starts eyeing the top contenders in the division, though, a showdown against Lamas sounds good. “The Bully” is trying to break out of his own funk after dropping his last two. Ranked No. 12, Lamas can provide Johnson a stiff test, all while giving himself the chance to get back on the winning track against a seasoned opponent.
Winner: Cortney Casey
Who She Should Fight Next: Alexa Grasso
It’s only fitting, as Casey stepped in to fill the void left behind after Grasso was forced out of the Hill fight with an injury. And when you look at the landscape in the women’s Strawweight division, pairing Casey up with someone else in front of her doesn’t make a lot of sense. Grasso, meanwhile, carries a bit of a name and can be a good measuring stick for Casey. For Grasso, it’s an opportunity to right her ship against ta tough opponent on the rise. Assuming Alexa is healthy, of course.
Winner: Bryan Barberena
Who He Should Fight Next: Dong Hyun Kim
Kim hasn’t stepped foot inside the cage since getting worked over by Colby Covington more than one year ago. There aren’t a whole lot of options that makes sense for someone like Barberena, who can’t seem to put it all together to rack up consecutive wins. He has the potential to do it, and a fight against Kim — an experienced foe — can let us know if Barberena will have a future as a contender in UFC, or if he’ll be content with just racking up a few wins here and there. I like the match up.
Winner: Deiveson Figueiredo
Who He Should Fight Next: Dustin Ortiz
That is now four straight wins for the undefeated (15-0, 4-0 UFC) the 30-year old Brazilian bomber. After taking out the No. 6-ranked fighter in the division, matching him up is quite chore. On one hand, pitting him against someone ranked below the Top 10 doesn’t make sense now, especially since he will take a huge leap once the new rankings come out. The best option I can see is Ortiz, who is currently riding a three-fight win streak, ranked No. 8 and on the rise. It should be a good test for both men, a win would allow them to inch themselves closer to the Top 5.
Winner: Eryk Anders:
Who He Should Fight Next: Uriah Hall
Anders bounced back in a big way after suffering his first-ever loss to Lyoto Machida, taking out Tim Williams with a devastating head kick knockout. Anders is slowly starting to build a following for himself, as the hard-hitting bruiser can turn it up and turn out lights in the blink of an eye. Hall, meanwhile, was last seen getting lit up by Paulo Costa at UFC 226, and is in dire need of a good, quality win after drooping four of his last five bouts.
For complete UFC Fight Night 135 results and coverage click here.