October 21, 2020

Post-UFC 238 Matchmaking

UFC 238 in Chicago proved to be one of the year’s best cards so far. There were FIVE women’s fights throughout the night– and each of them delivered.

Now that the dust has settled, we’re left wondering– what’s next for the fighters of UFC 238?

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Katlyn Chookagian def. Joanne Calderwood

JoJo 2.0 ended up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision– losing for the first time since moving to flyweight in what was likely a number one contender fight. The bout was close though, and shouldn’t effect Calderwood’s spot in the rankings too much. If Joanna Jedrzejczyk was fighting at flyweight, I think they’d make a great matchup. Instead, Calderwood should face the winner of Andrea “KGB” Lee and Montana De La Rosa, which is scheduled to happen on June 22. Both fighters are slightly behind her in the rankings and provide interesting matchups– could JoJo get the stand up war she has been bargaining for against Lee? How will Calderwood’s grappling holdup versus an up and coming De La Rosa?

Though Dana White was reluctant to name a next challenger for Valentina Shevchenko at the UFC 238 post-fight press conference, “Blonde Fighter” likely earned herself the title opportunity with her win over Calderwood. While Valentina seems to have a firm grasp on the flyweight crown, a rightful challenger like Chookagian provides a different style matchup than we’ve seen “Bullet” face in the past.

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Yan Xiaonan def. Angela Hill

At UFC 238, Hill became the first fighter to fight three times in 2019. While her Octagon record stands at 3-5, Hill has built a reputation for being a fun fighter who is willing to step in anytime and anywhere. Someone who would be more than willing to stand and trade with Hill is former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Despite riding a three-fight skid, the “Polish Princess” has faced the best in the world and always comes to fight.

One of China’s breakout WMMA stars scored her third straight promotional victory on Saturday. Yan lives up to her nickname, “Fury”– she is an aggressive striker who sets grueling pace. After 238, she is asking for a top ten opponent. A fight with Mexico’s Alexa Grasso would be a perfect addition to UFC’s upcoming card in Mexico. It is a clash of striking styles that has FOTN potential. If not Grasso, Cynthia Calvillo is currently ranked number ten and makes for an interesting styles clash with Xiaonan when she returns from injury.

Alexa Grasso def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

In an emotional Instagram post after the fight, KK vowed to continue fighting because she loves it, even though she feels she is “past prime”. “The Polish Princess” has a wealth of experience versus the division’s top fighters. She sets a relentless pace and pushes forward no matter what the opponent throws at her. A fight with Angela Hill is a fun striking affair as both fighters throw heavy volume and engage frequently. Cortney Casey is another fan friendly fighter who always comes to throw down and is ranked only two spots lower than Kowalkiewicz in the top fifteen.

After battling a string of injuries, Alexa Grasso returned to the cage for the first time in over a year. Grasso showed up in her best form to date– she looked more mature physically and seemed completely zoned in all fight week. After 238, Grasso is ranked number ten. Right ahead of her at number nine and number eight are Carla Esparza and Tecia Torres respectively. At just 25-years-old, If Grasso can make her way past one of those two, she’ll find herself closing in on the division’s top five.

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Tatiana Suarez def. Nina Ansaroff

“The Strina” has been one of the most underrated fighters in the division for some time. Though she dropped a decision to Suarez, Nina’s stock doesn’t drop much as she looked to only be getting stronger as the fight went on. After the fight, Nina took to Twitter to thank fans for the support in what was the biggest fight of her career so far. Nina should face the fighter on the losing end of Jessica Andrade vs. Weili Zhang. She is sandwiched between the two of them in the rankings and they both provide high profile bouts that remain in the top five of the division.

Suarez was admittedly not pleased with her performance on Saturday, however, she still scored the win and kept her undefeated record intact. Suarez has had a history of neck injuries in the past and after re-injuring her neck in the first round of the fight, she is taking the proper steps and time toward making sure she is healed up. With Andrade-Zhang being all but finalized for UFC China, that leaves two names that make sense as opponents for Suarez– it’s either Joanna Jedrzejczyk or Michelle Waterson. Both of these fights could headline a Fight Night card and would truly determine the division’s next challenger for the belt.

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Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Eye

It was hard not to feel a little scared/sorry for “Evil” on Saturday when she suffered a brutal second round knockout to Shevchenko. Eye came prepared off of a great camp, but as of now Valentina truly is in a league of her own. Perhaps when Eye is ready to return, a fight with Joanne Calderwood who also lost on Saturday is a good matchup. If not JoJo, Eye could defend her place in the rankings against the former Invicta flyweight champion Jennifer Maia.

“Bullet” further solidified herself as one of the pound-for-pound greats when she viciously dispatched of the division’s number one ranked contender in Jessica Eye. Liz Carmouche‘s name has been circulating as a possible next opponent for Shevchenko for an event on July 20 in San Anotnio (per Ariel Hewlani). The bout makes some sense as Carmouche handed Shevchenko the first loss of her mixed martial arts career in 2010– though the did so due to a cut on Shevchenko caused by an illegal upkick (Keep in mind if Carmouche is booked to face Shevchenko, this would mean her scheduled bout with Roxanne Modafferi would be cancelled). However, Katlyn Chookagian is coming off a win at UFC 238 as well and is my first choice to be Valentina’s next challenger.

What do you think of these matchups fight fans? Did I get them right or did I miss the mark? Let me know your post-UFC 238 matches to make in the comments below or on Twitter!

NICK on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Post-UFC 238 Matchmaking

  1. I think I’m okay with most of these. I envisage JoJo not being too keen on KGB or DLR as there’s less division importance to fighting either of them; sure, DLR has a three-fight streak, but few seem to care, myself included. Kowalkiewicz vs Hill is very much a ‘loser leaves town’ pairing. Xiaonan vs Grasso could be fuggin’ fantastic, holy crap! Suarez should get the next shot whenever she’s healthy/whoever is champ then, unless Rose wants next; Waterson should fight Ansaroff after that “I wasn’t impressed” nonsense on Helwani recently… okay bish, go “dominate” Nina better than Tatiana did, hotshot. 🙂

    1. I had trouble coming up with a fight for Jessica! I’m sure she’ll want to take some time off after the KO so I guess it depends on time a little. Also, you are probably right about JoJo– though I think if KGB can get past de la Rosa, Lee vs JoJo could be an exciting addition to any card!

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