UFC Fight Night 107’s main card, which streamedSaturday on UFC Fight Pass from The O2 in London, featured stoppages in three of four bouts.Jimi Manuwa’s (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) light-heavyweight clash with Corey Anderson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) was the main attraction, and “Poster Boy” picked up another highlight-reel knockout when he caught his opponent with a left hook thatended the fight in the first round.Three other fighters picked up wins on the main card. Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) submitted yet another opponent, Marlon Vera (9-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) earned the biggest win of his career on just nine days’ notice, and Arnold Allen (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) gained further validation to his top-prospect status with an exciting performance.
After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, its time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 107’s winning fighters.
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Arnold AllenBrian OrtegaShould fight: Brian OrtegaWhy they should fight: After a layoff of more than 13 months,Allen returned to the octagon in top form with a split-decision victory over Makwan Amirkhani to improve to 3-0 under the UFC banner.
Allen has shown a little bit of everything during his UFC career and continues to evolve with every fight. He has massive potential at just 23 and is backed by the support of a strong training camp in Montreal’s Tristar Gym.
Although he’s still young, Allen has shown maturity throughout his 13-fight career and has experienced only one setback thus far. He could be ready to face off with more difficult competition, and in the featherweight division, there’s no shortage.Ortega (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has been out of action since June after going through a reconstructive knee surgery but is targeting a return in the summer. Ortega isunbeaten in12 fights, and it’d be interesting to see if another bright up-and-comer in Allen could take the wind out of his sails.
Marlon VeraJoe SotoShould fight: Joe SotoWhy they should fight: It all came together on very short notice, but Vera got a chance to play spoiler in Brad Pickett’s retirement fight, and he made the most of itwith a third-round TKO victory over the hometown hero.
Vera accepted the fight with Pickett on just nine days’ notice after Henry Briones fell off the card due to an injury. That’s a precarious position considering the stage, but “Chito” took it all in stride and came out on top after rallying from a two-round deficit to stop Pickett with a head kick and punches in the final minute of the fight.
He may have caught Pickett at the final stage of his career, but beating “One Punch” is still a meaningful accomplishment and does a lot for Vera’s career. He was also close to stepping in for a short notice fight against top contender Jimmie Rivera in January, which shows the Ecuadorian isn’t easily intimidated.Soto (18-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has proven over his UFC career that he’s not going to be a pushover for anyone. From challenging T.J. Dillashaw for the UFC title on one day’s notice to the utter bloodbath he endured to defeat Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night 106 earlier this month, “One Bad Mofo” truly lives up to his nickname.
Vera has said he wants a tough fight on the heels of beating Pickett. He would surely get one if matched up with Soto.
Gunnar NelsonRafael dos AnjosShould fight: Rafael dos AnjosWhy they should fight: A break of more than 10 months between fights didn’t appear to have much impact on Nelson as he earned a second-round submission victory over Jouban in the welterweight co-main event.
Nelson has won two straight fights after a notable setback against Demian Maia at UFC 194 in December 2015. At just 28, he still has a lot of time to achieve the potential many saw after starting his career on a 14-fight unbeaten streak.
“Gunni” wants to keep his momentum going and is seeking bigger challenges. Welcoming former UFC lightweight champion dos Anjos (25-9 MMA, 14-7 UFC) to the welterweight ranks would be a fascinating matchup.Dos Anjos announced his decision to move up a division earlier this year and is targeting a debut at June’s UFC 212 event in his native Brazil. Although dos Anjos has called out some of the higher-ranked names, a matchup with Nelson would be a solid introductory fight.