Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for 'OSP,' Andrade and UFC Fight Night 117's other winning fighters?


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The UFC’s latest event in Japan was arguably the weakest of all on paper, but in practice, it produced some solid action, with four of six fights on the FXX-televised main card ending inside the distance.

Ovince Saint Preux (21-10 MMA, 9-5 UFC) once again pulled off his signature submission in the light heavyweight main event, which took place at Saitama Super Arena. “OSP” put away late-notice replacement Yushin Okami (34-11 MMA, 13-6 UFC) with a Von Flue choke submission in the first round to give him consecutive wins for the first time in more than two years.

The remainder of the lineup included a statement performance from former strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) as well as victories by ”Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC), Gokhan Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) and Jussier Formiga (20-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC).

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, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 117’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Ben Nguyen

Jussier Formiga

Should fight: Ben Nguyen
Why they should fight: Formiga put on one of the finest performances of his UFC career when he went into Ulka Sasaki’s home country and earned a submission in the opening round of the flyweight fight.

Formiga has been part of the UFC’s 125-pound since its inception, and despite being ranked in or around the top-five for the entire time, he’s one of the few contenders that’s yet to get a shot at champion Demetrious Johnson.

The win over Sasaki isn’t going to get the Brazilian his long-awaited title shot, but it moves him in the right direction. Formiga needs to string together a few in a row against relevant names. A matchup with Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who is on a nice run of his own, would be a perfect next step.

Godofredo Pepey

Teruto Ishihara

Should fight: Godofredo Pepey
Why they should fight: After losing back-to-back fights, Ishihara got back on track with a solid unanimous decision win against lesser-known Ronaldo Dy.

Ishihara’s personality has gained him a lot of traction, but his past two performances, which were close decision losses to Gray Maynard and Artem Lobov, took some of his luster away. The step back in competition was just what he needed, and it led Ishihara to a win.

At this point Ishihara hasn’t proven himself as much more than an action fighter in the featherweight division. Fortunately for him there’s many others in his weight class who fit the same role. Pepey (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) may be coming off a loss, but there’s no doubt the feisty Brazilian would give Ishihara a scrap.

Steve Bosse

Gokhan Saki

Should fight: Steve Bosse
Why they should fight: The much-anticipated debut of former kickboxing champion Saki went about as good as possible when he styled out on Henrique da Silva for a first-round knockout courtesy of his left hand.

Saki competed in one MMA fight back in 2004, but since then has gone through an extraordinary combat sports journey. After a decorated career in kickboxing, he decided to test his chops in the UFC light heavyweight division with minimal MMA experience. He passed his first test, but it’s not going to get any easier going forward.

“The Rebel” clearly has terrifying striking, but the big test will be when someone can put him in a compromising position on the ground. It would be best to avoid that as long as possible, though, so he should get another matchup with a striking-based opponent. Bosse (12-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), the former hockey enforcer turned MMA slugger, would almost certainly be willing to stand toe-to-toe with “The Rebel.”

Scott Holtzman

“Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim

Should fight: Scott Holtzman
Why they should fight: Although Takanori Gomi is a diminished version of what he once was, “Maestro” Kim added the most noteworthy victory of his career so far to his resume when he defeated the former PRIDE FC lightweight champion by TKO in just 90 seconds.

Kim handed Gomi his fifth consecutive loss, and likely ended his UFC career, with a solid performance which put him back on even ground when it comes to his UFC record (2-2). He may lack the skills of a top 155-pound fighter, but, the South Korean has proven to be an exciting competitor each time he steps in the octagon. The UFC embraces that, and a matchup with Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) would bring out the best in Kim’s skillset.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Jessica Andrade

Should fight: Winner of Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jodie Esquibel at UFC Fight Night 118
Why they should fight: Andrade rebounded from her title-fight loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk earlier this year with arguably the biggest victory of her career against Claudia Gadelha.

Andrade became the first fighter outside of Jedrzejczyk to defeat her fellow Brazilian, scoring a one-sided unanimous decision win in the crucial women’s strawweight co-headliner. She put herself right back near the top of the totem pole in the 115-pound pecking order, but considering the recent and, more importantly, lopsided nature of her defeat to Jedrzejczyk, she’s going to need to do more before another crack at the gold comes her way.

It’s clear Andrade isn’t going to be an easy out for anyone in her weight class. Her primary goal is to take out any contender willing to sign a contract to face her, and her wish for the winner of the UFC Fight Night 118 between Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Esquibel (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who meet on Oct. 21 in Poland, is quite realistic.

Ovince Saint Preux

Should fight: Mauricio Rua
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Saint Preux should rebook his rematch with Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 25 results: Shane Burgos unfazed by Godofredo Pepey, wins easy unanimous decision

Shane Burgos dropped Godofredo Pepey at the beginning and the end, but couldn’t shut him all the way down.

The result was a clear unanimous decision win for Burgos (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who brought the crowd to its feet in a toe-to-toe battle with the wild but resilient Pepey (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC).

The featherweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FOX 25 event at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of the rest of the card on FOX.

As he is known to do, Pepey started this by planting his feet and throwing one wild haymaker after another, whether it came in the form of looping overhands or spinning backfists. That didn’t seem to surprise Burgos, who stayed calm and fired back with pinpoint counters, dropping Pepey with a well-timed knee to the head in the first round and nearly finishing him with strikes moments later.

Pepey would use his grappling skill to recover in the clinch, though he couldn’t quite bait Burgos into joining him on the mat. Instead, Burgos repeatedly motioned him back to his feet so he could continue hammering him in the stand-up department.

That trend continued into the final round, where an increasingly desperate Pepey windmilled frantic attacks at Burgos to start the frame, only to fade late as Burgos came on. A late body shot from Burgos put Pepey down again and Burgos went all out with ground-and-pound inside his guard, looking for the finish as the last few seconds ticked away.

Pepey managed to survive, but all three judges saw the fight for Burgos, giving him the decision with scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 29-28.

With the win, Burgos remains perfect as a professional. Pepey has lost two of his last three.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 25 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in New York.)

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

On 4-1 run with 3 bonuses, overlooked Godofredo Pepey to 'give fans a show' at UFC on FOX 25

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Godofredo Pepey isn’t sure why his recent success hasn’t translated into better opportunities, but tonight at UFC on FOX 25, he said he’s ready to prove he’s ready for them.

Pepey (13-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) meets fellow featherweight Shane Burgos (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 25. The bout is the second of the fight card and streams on UFC Fight Pass from NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

It’s not part of the network-televised main card – or even the FOX prelims. While UFC Fight Pass has become more familiar to fight fans over the past couple years, the digital streaming service still doesn’t have the clout that comes with fighting on the TV portion of an event. However, thanks to his current run, he thinks it’s only a matter of time before he gets his wish.

“Soon I’ll be headlining my own event,” the 30-year-old Brazilian told MMAjunkie. “I’ve been in the UFC for five-and-a-half years. I deserve to be in the main event. I am sure I can beat anyone they put in front of me.”

Despite his confidence, the sports books feel otherwise. Pepey, who was the runner-up on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” is a massive underdog heading into his bout with 5-1 favorite Burgos.

On paper, the lopsided line may seem confusing; after all, Pepey is on a 4-1 run that included consecutive “Performance of the Night” wins over Noad Lahat, Dashon Johnson and Andre Fili – all via stoppage. The lone loss during his recent run came to notoriously tough Darren Elkins.

“My team already let me know what I need to do against Shane Burgos,” he said. “He is someone who looks to fight at distance, at boxing range. He’s versatile, but I don’t think his jiu-jitsu measures up to mine. I’m training in every facet. I’m working on my boxing. I’m sharpening my muay Thai in Curitiba at Evolucao Thai. I’m sparring with various partners who can emulate his style. Nothing he brings can surprise me.

“I hope no one blinks. You’ll see a Godofredo Pepey who’s completely ready, with top conditioning. It will be an honor to face him on his home turf. I’ll get to know New York, and fight in the United States one more time. I’ll give the fans a show. Don’t blink. I’ll be like a joker in a deck of cards.”

Training with the likes of Joaquim Silva, Francisco Trinaldo, Sergio Moraes, Bellator champion Rafael Carvalho and MMA vet Wanderlei Silva under master Andre Dida, Pepey looks to continue his penchant for finishes; in 13 career wins, he has 12 stoppages.

And despite Burgos being the clear favorite heading into the fight, Pepey plans on a finish, a busier fight schedule and higher-profile opportunities.

“I believe that going forward, there will be even more bonuses and more spectacular fights,” he said. “I’m prepared. I’m ready. I’m in a great team. I sought to improve my mindset, my body, my muay Thai, my jiu-jitsu and my wrestling. I’m a complete athlete now. As I’ve said in past interviews, I can finish anyone in my weight class. It would be no surprise to me or my coaches.”

For more on UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie