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4 Fights We Have to See After UFC on ESPN 57

4 Fights We Need to See After UFC on ESPN 57 0 of 4 Jared Cannonier and Nassourdine Imavov prepare to face off. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 57 card marked the promotion’s long-awaited return to Louisville, and by the time it was over, the stage was set for some

4 Fights We Have to See After UFC on ESPN 57

4 Fights We Have to See After UFC on ESPN 57

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    Jared Cannonier and Nassourdine Imavov prepare to face off.

    Jared Cannonier and Nassourdine Imavov put together to face off.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs

    Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 57 card marked the promotion’s long-awaited return to Louisville, and by the point it was over, the stage was set for some massive fights within the middleweight, mild heavyweight and bantamweight divisions.

    The present was headlined by a conflict of middleweight contenders, with Nassourdine Imavov seeking to take an enormous step up the rankings in opposition to the fourth-ranked Jared Cannonier.

    Imavov succeeded on his mission with a fourth-round TKO, and whereas the referee’s stoppage was the topic of rapid debate, the win made the Frenchman one of many prime contenders within the weight class.

    Within the penultimate bout of the night time, former mild heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes aimed to right a four-fight skid reverse former kickboxer Dustin Jacoby.

    Regardless of being extensively counted out, Reyes gained in fashion with a first-round knockout that nearly definitely saved his spot on the UFC roster.

    Earlier on the invoice, 19-year-old bantamweight prospect Raul Rosas Jr. took one other massive step towards the rankings with a second-round submission of Ricky Turcios, whereas rising middleweight Brunno Ferreira additionally made a splash with a highlight-reel knockout of Dustin Stoltzfus within the first spherical.

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    Hold scrolling for the fights we would prefer to see subsequent for Imavov, Reyes, Rosas and Ferreira.

Nassourdine Imavov vs. Sean Strickland II

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    Nassourdine Imavov strikes Jared Cannonier.

    Nassourdine Imavov strikes Jared Cannonier.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs

    As questionable as Imavov’s fourth-round stoppage of Cannonier was, it’s going to fully change his fortune within the middleweight division.

    When the rankings are up to date this week, he’ll virtually definitely land within the division’s prime 5, from which level he’ll doubtless be not more than a win away from a title shot.

    Given the circumstances of Imavov’s win in Louisville, there’s an argument for a sequel with Cannonier, but when the Frenchman will get his approach, will probably be a combat with former champion Sean Strickland in Paris subsequent.

    “My aim is the belt, so I would prefer to combat Sean Strickland in Paris,” he mentioned in his post-fight interview. “Sean Strickland, if you wish to do it, come to Paris and we will combat collectively.”

    Imavov has met Strickland as soon as earlier than, struggling a unanimous-decision loss in a short-notice bout early final 12 months. That final result may discourage the American from accepting a rematch, however the former champion is not ready to be calling his pictures proper now.

    After shedding his belt to Dricus Du Plessis in January, he appeared to get again on monitor in opposition to Paulo Costa at UFC 302 earlier this month. Whereas he gained that combat by resolution, it was a completely stinker, opposite to his many guarantees that it could be an exciting battle. It did virtually nothing to strengthen his declare to a title shot.

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    Since his win over Costa, Strickland has said he intends to attend for a crack on the belt, however with the likes of Israel Adesanya, and the winner of an upcoming combat between Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev almost definitely forward of him within the queue, he’ll most likely be ready a while.

    He’ll almost definitely must take one other combat within the meantime, and can certainly notice this earlier than too lengthy. If that is the way in which it occurs, Imavov looks as if the precise opponent.

Dominick Reyes vs. Anthony Smith

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    Dominick Reyes knocks out Dustin Jacoby.

    Dominick Reyes knocks out Dustin Jacoby.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs

    Had Reyes misplaced to Jacoby within the weekend’s co-headliner, he most likely would have been despatched packing by the UFC. Fortunately for the previous title challenger and his followers, he corrected his course in classic style, knocking out his foe with punches in Spherical 1.

    With 4 losses nonetheless seen within the rearview, Reyes nonetheless has a variety of work to do earlier than he will get again into title rivalry, however the win over Jacoby was proof that he’s nonetheless a harmful mild heavyweight, and it ought to set him up for a combat with a ranked opponent subsequent day trip.

    Our decide for his subsequent opponent is Anthony Smith.

    Smith, additionally a former title challenger, was not too long ago in the same spot to Reyes, with a string a tricky losses behind him. Nonetheless, very similar to Reyes, he rebounded in his final combat, submitting the extremely regarded Vitor Petrino inside a spherical.

    Smith is a bit forward of Reyes within the mild heavyweight pecking order, at present ranked No. 10. Nonetheless, he has already fought most of the contenders ranked above him, and has but to fulfill Reyes within the Octagon, even if they’ve each been ranked for years.

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    This one makes a kot if sense, and it’ll inform us so much about which of those two former title challengers has extra left within the tank.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Brad Katona

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    Raul Rosas Jr. reacts after his victory against Ricky Turcios

    Raul Rosas Jr. reacts after his victory in opposition to Ricky TurciosJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs

    19-year-old bantamweight Raul Rosas Jr. is among the hottest prospects within the UFC proper now, and he additional justified that fame in Louisville with a submission of Ricky Turcios. It was his second win in a row, and helped separate him from a hype-deflating resolution loss to Christian Rodriguez.

    Rosas has a ton of choices after his Louisville win, and will conceivably be quick tracked given his reputation amongst followers.

    Our decide for his subsequent combat is former Final Fighter winner Brad Katona.

    The Canadian, who trains alongside Conor McGregor at SBG Eire, was additionally in motion in Louisville, defeating Jesse Butler by unanimous resolution on the undercard.

    Presently on his second stint with the UFC, he is rather more skilled than Rosas, however has by no means been a severe contender, and appears like an acceptable step up for the 19-year-old.

    If Rosas did win this one, he’d most likely be solely be a win or two away from a combat with a ranked opponent. He might simply make it occur earlier than he is sufficiently old to order a drink within the U.S.

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Brunno Ferreira vs. Pyfer-Barriault winner

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    Brunno Ferreira knocks out Dustin Stoltzfus

    Brunno Ferreira knocks out Dustin StoltzfusJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs

    Bruno Ferreira’s spinning again elbow KO of Dustin Stoltzfus in Louisville was solely the eighth such end in UFC historical past. It was additionally his ninth knockout in 11 victories, and his seventh within the first spherical. Suffice it to say he’s extraordinarily harmful, and having gained two straight, he is now obtained some momentum on his facet.

    Our decide for his subsequent opponent is the winner of a UFC 303 combat between Joe Pyfer and Marc-Andre Barriault.

    Pyfer, a knockout artist lower from the identical material as Ferreira, began this 12 months with a ton of hype behind him, however he had his momentum stopped by a call loss to Jack Hermansson in his first UFC most important occasion.

    Barriault, in the meantime, is a strong finisher himself, with sturdiness in addition, however not too long ago misplaced a call to Chris Curtis in one of many hardest checks of his UFC profession up to now.

    Whoever wins their UFC 303 combat could be an ideal check for the rising Ferreira, and both matchup appears to be like like a sure-fire thriller on paper. The truth is, it is onerous to think about both combat going the gap—not to mention leaving the primary spherical.

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