UFC Monday Morning Matchmaker 7.18.21
Monday Morning Matchmaker

Islam Makhachev dominated Thiago Moises Saturday night, handing the Brazilian his first career loss by submission in the fourth round.  Makhachev has won eight fights in a row and his second consecutive fight by submission.  The Dagestani wrestler is the darkhorse of the lightweight division and it’s time for a top contender to face him.  Makhachev’s next fight should be against Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler or Beneil Dariush.  If that doesn’t happen, they’ll probably try to match him up with Rafael dos Anjos again because dos Anjos will fight anyone.
     The loss snapped a three fight winning streak for Moises.  He’s still only 26 years old, but he’ll need to work his way back up to a top 15 ranking. A matchup with Drew Dober interests me.  
     Miesha Tate returned from a five year layoff and didn’t look like she missed a beat.  She put on a dominant performance and became the first fighter to stop Marion Reneau when she finished her with strikes in the third round.  The talent in the women’s bantamweight division is pretty shallow and you could make the argument that Tate is still a top five fighter.  Tate mentioned a rematch with Holly Holm and that’s a fight that makes sense.
     Reneau announced before the fight that this would be her retirement match and I agree with that decision.  She’s 44 years old and has lost five fights in a row.
     Mateusz Gamrot scored his second straight stoppage in the UFC with a first round submission of Jeremy Stephens.  He took Stephens down early and forced the tap with a kimura just over a minute into the fight.  Gamrot is 19-1 and his lone loss is a close split decision to Guram Kutateladze in his UFC debut.  I’d like to see him face Brad Riddell next, who is 4-0 since joining the UFC and coming off a unanimous decision win over Drew Dober.
     Stephens has now lost five fights in a row and his job in the UFC could be in jeopardy.  He’s been finished in three of those fights and it’s going to be hard justifying his salary.  If he gets another fight, he’s nothing more than a test for a young prospect or Contender Series winner.
     Rodolfo Vieira bounced from his first career loss with a third round submission of Dustin Stoltzfus.  After a disappointing performance against Anthony Hernandez, Vieira proved that he can fight hard later in fights and put Stoltzfus away with a beautiful rear naked choke.  Vieira is an elite Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and deserves a step up in competition.  I’d like to see him test his skills against a tough veteran like Brad Tavares.
     Stoltzfus has lost back to back fights since joining the UFC.  He’s a solid fighter and should face another Contender Series level opponent in his next fight.
     Billy Quarantillo dominated Gabriel Benitez in the best performance of his UFC career to date.  He dropped Benitez in the first round, kept the pressure on and eventually stopped Benitez in the third round.  Quarantillo is an all action fighter and I just want to see him in those types of matchups.  He was originally supposed to face Herbert Burns here so they could rebook that fight or give Quarantillo a guy like Nate Landwehr.  
     Benitez has now lost three of his last four fights. He’s a tough veteran and still a solid test for featherweight prospects.