UFC Fight Night 37 was a breath of fresh air for fight fans. Not only was it aired at an acceptable time of the day but it was a card where over half of the bouts ended before the final bell. Alexander Gustafsson was easily the star of the entire event with his second round TKO over Jimi Manuwa, but many other competitors came to fight and made a name for themselves. What matches should be next for Gustafsson and the rest of the UFC Fight Night 37 cast? Take a look below to find out.
Alexander Gustafsson had a lot to live up after his five round war with UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. The Swede did not disappoint. After controlling Jimi Manuwa for the entire first round of their bout, Gustafsson followed a brutal knee with punches to turn Manuwa’s lights out in the second round. While Manuwa is far from a notable foe, Gustafsson looked as sharp as ever in this performance. I wasn’t much of a believer in Gustafsson before his first bout with Jones but after his past two performances, I think he has a legitimate shot to become champion. He deserves to face the winner of Jon Jones and Glover Texiera for the title.
While Michael Johnson’s performance against Melvin Guillard wasn’t as flashy as his past two wins, he still proved that he is a surging lightweight contender that deserves a ton of respect. Guillard, who has long been vaunted as the quickest striker in the lightweight division, looked a step behind Johnson in the stand-up department. Johnson’s vastly improved striking and strong wrestling base make him a tough out for anyone in the UFC. Johnson isn’t quite ready for the cream of the crop in the UFC’s lightweight division but he definitely deserves a step up. A fight with the winner of UFC 172’s Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green matchup makes perfect sense.
Brad Pickett had a highly successful flyweight debut against Neil Seery but still left a lot of room for growth. The usually sound striker Pickett found himself getting boxed up by late replacement Seery. Pickett was able to save himself with his far superior grappling skill. While many are calling for Pickett to get a number one contender’s bout I think he needs at least one more win to get there. A bout between him and his original opponent Ian McCall would be a great next step for both men.
To say Gunnar Nelson absolutely demolished Omari Akhmedov would be an understatement. Nelson dropped Akhmedov with a straight left, quickly moved to mount, elbowed Akhmedov to a bloody pulp, then locked up a guillotine choke to win it. Nelson’s impressive three fight win streak should gain him a step up in competition. A bout between Nelson and the winner of UFC 171’s Kelvin Gastelum vs. Rick Story bout should be booked next.
What’s next for Diabate? A boat, a few fishing poles, a beverage of his choice, and a comfortable folding chair. Enjoy retirement Mr. Diabate!
The Rest of the Card
Jimi Manuwa vs. Anthony Perosh
Melvin Guillard vs. Gray Maynard
Neil Seery vs. Richie Vaculik
Omari Akhmedov vs. Marcelo Guimarães
Ilir Latifi vs. Fabio Maldonaldo/Gian Vilante winner
Luke Barnatt vs. Nick Catone
Mats Nilsson vs. Andy Enz
Cláudio Henrique da Silva vs. Trevor Smith
Brad Scott vs. Tor Troeng
Igor Araujo vs. Zak Cummings
Danny Mitchell vs. Drew Dober
Louis Gaudinot vs. Jussier Formiga/Scott Jorgensen winner
Phil Harris vs. Ryan Benoit
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