UFC Oklahoma City: Chiesa vs. Lee – Fights to Make

The UFC got some divisional sorting done in the men’s lightweight and women’s strawweight divisions last night. Kevin Lee took out top 10 ranked…

By: Zane Simon | 6 years ago
UFC Oklahoma City: Chiesa vs. Lee – Fights to Make
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The UFC got some divisional sorting done in the men’s lightweight and women’s strawweight divisions last night. Kevin Lee took out top 10 ranked Michael Chiesa, while Carla Esparza and Felice Herrig both asserted their place in their division. Along with a few rising fighters taking solid steps forward, there’s plenty of need for bigger and better fights on the horizon.

Which is why I’m here, to deliver the best of the best when it comes to potential future UFC matchmaking. To do that, I’ll be following the classic Silva/Shelby model of winners vs. winners, losers vs. losers, and similarly tenured talent against one another. If you wish to pitch in with your own fantasy matchmaking, leave a comment below starting with, “I’m trying to give you advice. Right now, you’re playing the reporter role. You might want to do your job a little bit better, that’s all I’m saying.” I’ll pick one winner from the responses below.

Joining me this week is longtime BE reader kjjackson (also known as K.J. Jackson):

Hello, my friends! My name is K.J. Jackson, commonly known on BloodyElbow as… kjjackson. As you can tell from my username, I am extremely creative which is the main reason I was chosen to fight pick this week. I became a MMA fan because I went to a friend’s house to watch Silva/Sonnen 2. I was hooked instantly, but it took me a year or so to fully appreciate the technicalities of the ground game. Currently, I train MMA part time and hope to compete professionally within the next few years. I hope you all enjoy my opinions.


K.J. – This is an unfortunate speed bump in Kevin’s ride to the top. It’s not his fault the referee made a huge mistake. He was doing his job efficiently up until the bogus stoppage. A rematch is definitely the right way to go in this situation. But if the UFC decides to keep Lee moving along, I think another rematch would make sense. Al Laquinta. We get to see who’s progressed more. I’m gonna say Kevin Lee vs Michael Chiesa or Kevin Lee vs Al Laquinta

Zane – Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really think the UFC needs to book this rematch. The ref screwed up, but only in that it looked like he stopped the fight milliseconds before Michael Chiesa lost consciousness. Lee didn’t make any mistakes, he didn’t do anything against the rules, rerunning the fight immediately just punishes him for what otherwise looked to be a great upset win. Part of me says give Lee the Gaethje vs. Johnson winner, but since the Iaquinta fight is right there, I’ll agree with K.J. and say Lee vs. Iaquinta rematch next.


K.J. – It was a tough night for Chiesa, but I was surprised he won the few striking exchanges. Chiesa wasn’t out, but was getting thoroughly roughed up on the ground. A rematch is always the right way to go when a referee blunder occurs, but I could see the UFC keeping the Lee train moving on. In that case, coming off a loss, I think Evan Dunham is the next fight for Chiesa. I propose Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee or Michael Chiesa vs Evan Dunham

Zane – If it needs to be a ranked opponent, the Chiesa/Dunham is definitely a nice fight. But, provided the chips fall right, there’s another bout I’d really love to see. even though it’s winner vs. loser, and even though he might go back to featherweight instead, if the UFC could swing booking Michael Chiesa vs. Charles Oliveira out of this mess, they absolutely should give it a go. Chiesa vs. Oliveira would be a ton of fun.


K.J. – When someone that big can throw kicks to the body that fluidly, it really is a scary thought. Despite being in his mid 30’s, Tim Boetsch probably mauls the lower end of the middleweight division. I really enjoy watching him improve so much. His win over Hendricks was one-sided and ended with an exclamation point. I really do think he deserves to fight anyone in the top 15, and he’d be a perfect test for Uriah Hall who currently sits in the top 15 despite losing his last 3. I’m going with Tim Boetsch vs Uriah Hall

Zane – Uriah Hall vs. Tim Boetsch does have some curbside appeal, but I feel like Boetsch deserves another winner coming off a fight like this one. And, since the UFC continues to refuse my plans to match up Vitor Belfort with Nick Diaz or Rashad Evans, then maybe this just makes Boetsch the right fight at the right time. Vitor Belfort vs. Tim Boetsch is the fight to make.


K.J. – From being able to out-wrestle GSP, and out-strike Robbie Lawler; it truly breaks my heart to see Johny get beat so thoroughly. He didn’t even make weight in a higher weight class, which is completely unprofessional. He simply got shut down against the Barbarian, and I honestly think he should hang them up for good. But if he wants to continue his journey, why not put him up against an older guy who also recently lost? I think Johny Hendricks vs Daniel Kelly would be a fun scrap.

Zane – This is a tough one. On the one hand, there is no reason really that a fight between Johny Hendricks and Dan Kelly should make sense. On the other hand, the other option that springs to mind is… Nate Marquardt. And it’s not like Marquardt is a doing better in the cage than Dan Kelly these days. Pretty much everything else at MW for Hendricks right now feels a bit pointless, so yeah go with Johny Hendricks vs. Dan Kelly.


K.J. – A solid gameplan for a solid fighter. Alex Garcia isn’t top 15 material, and Tim didn’t impress. I think it makes sense for another solid, lower ranked fighter (who also recently won) to face Tim to see if either one can hit a stride. I’m going with Tim Means vs Omari Akhmedov

Zane – It’s really too bad that Alan Jouban is injured right now, because a Jouban vs. Means fight would be fantastic. Otherwise, Means has some name value in the welterweight division and is best suited to action fights. I’d really rather see him against someone looking to rise up the division and carve out a space in the top 15. To that end I say match Means up with Leon Edwards. Edwards has already picked up some good wins and if he could beat Means that would go a long way to really establishing him as a member of the welterweight elite. Leon Edwards vs. Tim Means.


K.J. – I’m about to write the same thing everyone writes after a BJ Penn fight nowadays; please retire BJ. Siver got hurt, but really punished BJ in the third. Siver is a known veteran who will never be champion, but I know of another featherweight that fits that description. In fact, he won Sunday night just like Siver. I propose Dennis Siver vs Clay Guida

Zane – If Guida ever drops back down to 145, or Siver goes back up to 155, then I’m all for it. Otherwise, the UFC is unfortunately short on aging veteran featherweights coming off a win. Hacran Dias and Mizuto Hirota would both be strong choices off a loss, as would Rony Jason. Part of me says the UFC should book him against Enrique Barzola, who looks Siver’s age despite only being 28. If the UFC can’t get Caceres in on short notice against Fili, then Caceres would be a good option as something of a young veteran. Eventually I’m going to say give Barzola the big fight, it’s a great opportunity for him to get a name win. Dennis Siver vs. Enrique Barzola.


K.J. – It’s just incredible to see Clay still giving flashy strikers a taste of reality in 2017. Guida is still game, but a long ways from earning a high profile fight. As I stated above, Clay Guida vs Dennis Siver makes a lot of sense for these two tough veterans.

Zane – Did you know that neither Joe Lauzon nor Jim Miller have ever fought Clay Guida? Neither has Charles Oliveira, nor Nik Lentz… Basically when it comes to 155 these days, Guida has options. Lauzon is coming off a loss, but how do you have that fight available and not book it. Clay Guida vs. Joe Lauzon all day every day.


K.J. – Carla won just the way everyone expected. I didn’t see any new additions to her game that makes me think she can dethrone the champ, but nonetheless, winning convincingly against talented competition earns you better fights. In that case, I’m booking Carla Esparza vs Tecia Torres

Zane – I like that Tecia Torres idea, but the ‘Tiny Tornado’ is stepping in against Juliana Lima at the TUF 25 Finale. And while Esparza has no single clear option, she does have a lot of decent matchups. Michelle Waterson is coming off a loss, but she’s probably the best fight out there. Otherwise, Esparza can campaign for a top contender bout with Claudia Gadelha or Jessica Andrade, or Karolina Kowalkiewicz. On the flip side, Cortney Casey is un-ranked, but coming off the highlight preformance of her career. Still, Waterson vs. Esparza is right there, no reason to pass on it.


K.J. – It is truly sad when a talented fighter can’t stop a fighter at their game. Carla went in there and did what she planned on doing, and there wasn’t much Moroz could do. I don’t know if Paige VanZant plans on returning, but that’d be the perfect fight for them. If not, Maryna Moroz vs Joanna Calderwood seems like a logical fight between two talented fighters coming off losses.

Zane – I really like the idea of Moroz vs. VanZant, as both women have looked good in flashes during their strawweight careers, but haven’t found near the consistency expected of them fighting against the divisional elite. I also think this would be a really good time to match Moroz up with Jessica Aguilar, if Aguilar is going to be back anytime soon after her loss to Cortney Casey. Otherwise, fights with Rawlings, Penne, or Kish would all be fine. Still, I think Moroz vs. VanZant makes the most sense and should be an interesting matchup for both women.

OTHER BOUTS: Herrig vs. Markos, Kish vs. Rawlings, Reyes vs. Clark, Garcia vs. Luque, Koch vs. Green, Vettori vs. Borrachinha, Miranda vs. Spicely, Horcher vs. Hadzovic, Powell vs. McBride, Gordon vs. Hall, Quinones vs. Buschkamp, Martin vs. Makhachev, Case vs. Martins, Kimball vs. Cutelaba, Stansbury vs. Wilson

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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