Matches to Make After UFC 200

By Brian Knapp Jul 10, 2016

Her brilliance was blinding.

Amanda Nunes became the fourth women’s bantamweight titleholder in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, as she shredded Miesha Tate with punches and then submitted her with a first-round rear-naked choke in the UFC 200 headliner on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Tate tapped to the choke 3:16 into round one, her reign at the top over after four short months.

Once Nunes trapped “Cupcake” on the feet, the fight was essentially over. She sent a series of straight punches crashing into Tate’s face, blood pouring from what appeared to be a broken nose. The Xtreme Couture rep retreated to the cage but found no refuge there, as Nunes continued the onslaught until Tate collapsed. The Brazilian then pounced with punches, slid to the back and cinched the choke.

According to preliminary FightMetric data, Nunes connected with 40 strikes. Tate landed three. It was a rout in every sense of the word.

In wake of UFC 200 “Tate vs. Nunes,” here are seven matches that ought to be considered:

Related » UFC 200 By the Numbers

Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey: Nunes’ star shined brightest on the sport’s biggest stage. The “Lioness” dissected Tate in a little more than three minutes, reaching the top of the 135-pound mountain in spectacular fashion. During her current four-fight winning streak, the American Top Team-trained Nunes has cut a swathe through Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler. Rousey has not fought since being knocked out by Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November. She remains one of MMA’s most dependable box-office draws and the only fighter to successfully defend the UFC women’s bantamweight championship. Might a spot opposite Nunes in the UFC 205 main event at Madison Square Garden be in order?

Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson-Glover Teixeira winner: Cormier made the best of an impossible situation, as the reigning light heavyweight champion secured a unanimous verdict over Anderson Silva in a non-title bout at 205 pounds. The shadow of a disgraced Jon Jones loomed large over their impromptu matchup. Cormier turned to takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound against the 41-year-old Silva, who filled in on short notice after a positive drug test forced Jones from the card’s original headliner just days before the event. Johnson and Teixeira have been booked for duty at UFC 202 in August.

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor: Whatever questions there were regarding Aldo’s mental state following his 13-second knockout loss to McGregor in December were answered. The Brazilian walked away from his rematch against Frankie Edgar with a unanimous decision on his ledger and the interim UFC featherweight title around his waist. Aldo tagged “The Answer” with vicious combinations, crushing knees to the body and crisp counters over the course of their five-round battle, opening multiple cuts on the Toms River, New Jersey, native’s face. McGregor will square off with Nate Diaz in the UFC 202 headliner on Aug. 20, after which he will make a determination on the direction his career. Should the Irishman forego a unification bout with Aldo, Max Holloway will be waiting in the wings.

Cain Velasquez vs. Andrei Arlovski-Josh Barnett winner: In his first appearance in more than a year, the oft-injured Velasquez made his way back into the inner circle of heavyweight contenders with a dominant performance against Travis Browne. The former champion cut down Browne with punches before finishing the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian with vicious ground-and-pound in the closing seconds of round one. Velasquez still sits behind Fabricio Werdum, the man who dethroned him in June 2015, in the heavyweight pecking order. However, if “Vai Cavalo” stumbles against Ben Rothwell in few months, the American Kickboxing Academy ace could conceivably move to the front of the line for a title shot. Arlovski and Barnett will headline a UFC Fight Night event on Sept. 3.

Julianna Pena vs. Holly Holm-Valentina Shevchenko winner: Pena has graduated from “Ultimate Fighter” winner to legitimate title contender at 135 pounds. “The Venezuelan Vixen” took care of business against the returning Cat Zingano, as she overcame a slow start to earn a unanimous verdict against the former two-division Ring of Fire champion. Pena, 26, has won all four of her bouts in the UFC and should be in line for high-stakes fights in the near future. Holm on July 23 will face Shevchenko in the UFC on Fox 20 main event in Chicago.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Demian Maia-Carlos Condit winner: Perhaps Gastelum has begun to realize the potential everyone saw in him. The 24-year-old Arizona native overwhelmed Johny Hendricks with merciless forward pressure and battered the former champion with two- and three-punch combinations, posting a unanimous decision over a man once considered the consensus No. 1 welterweight in the world. Gastelum has compiled a 7-2 record since arriving in the UFC in 2013, slowly but surely climbing the ladder at 170 pounds. The resurgent Maia will lock horns with Condit at UFC 202 on Aug. 20.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz: Dillashaw avenged one of his three career losses, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Raphael Assuncao on the undercard. The Elevation Fight Team cornerstone carved up Assuncao from the outside, chipping away with punches and kicks that eventually left the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt bleeding heavily from the mouth and nose. Dillashaw, 30, figures to have cleared the last remaining hurdle standing between himself and a rematch with Cruz, the reigning bantamweight champion and the man who dethroned him in January.


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