UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos – Fights to make

All the best, most interesting, and unquestionably coolest fights that need booking after UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos.

By: Zane Simon | 1 month ago

The UFC very nearly had another ‘the cards you’re not excited for are the best ones’ kind of moment with UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos this last weekend. The prelims were an action packed smorgasbord of highlights. But, a main card that didn’t wow fans on paper still largely fizzled. Vicente Luque scraped out a win over RDA; Cub Swanson got a gift against Hakeem Dawodu; and Khalil Rountree stopped Chris Daukaus’ LHW dreams dead in their tracks.

UFC Fight Night headliner Rafael dos Anjos.
UFC Fight Night headliner Rafael dos Anjos. – Louis Grasse IMAGO/Zuma Wire

So, is Luque ready to get back into the welterweight mix? Is Rountree going to get that main event he wants? And can Terrance McKinney go two fights in the Octagon without a meltdown?

To answer those questions—but that’s it—I’ll be using the classic Silva/Shelby fight booking methodology from the UFC of years past. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent up against one another. Hopefully, by following that model, a few of these bout ideas will actually make it off the page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!

UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos – Fights to Make


Not a thriller, but every bit the kind of performance Vicente Luque needed coming off two losses where he looked indecisive and slow on the trigger. Throw in a frightening brain injury, and seeing the Kill Cliff FC fighter go through five solid rounds of back-and-forth action felt like a good sign for his career moving forward, even if he didn’t add another KO to his highlight reel. He spent a lot of time pressuring RDA, won a whole bunch of clinch battles, and generally landed the fight’s harder strikes minute to minute.

At the very least, that should mean that another ranked fight will be in Luque’s near future. We know he won’t fight Gilbert Burns; if Shavkat Rakhmonov wants to stay on the September 16th card, Luque almost certainly won’t be ready for that; he could rematch Stephen Thompson, but fights with Sean Brady, the Magny/Garry winner, or Jack Della Maddalena seem more likely. I would say book Luque against Kevin Holland, but Holland just said he was moving back to middleweight. If Garry wins at UFC 292, that might be the best choice, but for now I’ll say Luque vs. JDM is the most fun and likely fight to make for the Brazilian right now.

UFC 284 PERTH, Jack Della Maddalena of Australia celebrates his win against Randy Brown of Jamaica during their Welterweight bout at UFC 284 at RAC Arena in Perth, Sunday, February 12, 2023. ( !ACHTUNG: NUR REDAKTIONELLE NUTZUNG, KEINE ARCHIVIERUNG UND KEINE BUCHNUTZUNG! PERTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUSxNZLxPNGxFIJxVANxSOLxTGA Copyright: xRICHARDxWAINWRIGHTx 20230212001762801801
Guaranteed banger. – Richard Wainright IMAGO/AAP


Considering how well Vicente Luque fought, this wasn’t a bad performance for Rafael Dos Anjos. He’s never been at his best form in the welterweight division, but he did well here whenever he could get Luque moving backwards, to land solid strikes and stick him on the cage with takedown attempts. He couldn’t muscle Luque around the way he would fighters down at lightweight, but such is the way of things. For a 39-year-old in the twilight of his career, it wasn’t at all the work of a guy who can’t compete.

MMA: UFC 279-Jingliang vs Rodriguez, Sep 10, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights Daniel Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports, 10.09.2022 20:12:13, 19026141, T-Mobile Arena, NPStrans, Rodriguez, Daniel Rodriguez, MMA PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJoexCamporealex 19026141
The ‘Leech’ always makes for a fun scrap. – Joe Camporeale IMAGO/USA TODAY

The question still becomes, however, what’s left for RDA? Does he go back down to lightweight, does he stay at welterweight, does he take on more ranked fighters, or just find other veterans hanging on to those last few moments before retirement? If he wants to stay at 170 and they want to treat him like a ranked former champ, I could potentially see him taking on someone like Sean Brady or Jack Della Maddalena. Or if the UFC wants to go with an un-ranked option, there’s Matt Brown or Li Jingliang or even someone like Max Griffin or Muslim Salikhov.

Down at lightweight, a ranked opponent seems like much more of a necessity. Guys like Dan Hooker, Matt Frevola, Jalin Turner or even Grant Dawson are all hanging around in the top 15 looking for fights and RDA left with his #9 ranking still in place. Given the Brazilian’s past statements, about not dropping back to 155 unless a superfight is on offer, however, I guess I’ll have to pick a welterweight matchup. From those options? Book RDA against Li Jingliang, a meaningful feature fight for the China Top Team product and a bout that the former champ could still win if he can get his wrestling working.


Weird decision win for Cub Swanson here. I could have scored rounds 2 & 3 for him, but it would be a pretty thin, dubious read of the criteria. The big vote in Swanson’s favor in round 2 was that he rocked Dawodu right at the end of the round. For me, that was enough to take it. But he didn’t drop Dawodu and two judges didn’t even give him that.

Round 3, would have to give heavy weight to Swanson’s late takedowns without any meaningful damage or submission attempts. He had a couple nice transitions in there, but he also clearly got out-worked for the rest of the round. The idea of scoring round 1 for Swanson, though, just baffles the mind, and that’s what made the difference. Arguments aside, he got it, so he walks out with the win—and with a speech that very nearly made it sound like he was retiring without retiring.

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Quarantillo vs Jackson Aug 5, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Billy Quarantillo (red gloves) fights Damon Jackson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville Bridgestone Arena Tennessee USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xChristopherxHanewinckelx 20230805_ams_ah2_0085
All the action. – Christopher Hanewinckel IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

As such, let’s get Swanson back in a fight that can highlight his action-forward skills. It really sucks that Max Holloway is fighting Chan Sung Jung, because ‘Killer Cub’ vs. the ‘Korean Zombie’ is one of those ‘shoulda happened 10 years ago’ bouts. Billy Quarantillo just had a wild scrappy brawl of a fight, though. That’s the kind of competition I want to see Swanson in if he’s going to keep going. Billy Quarantillo vs. Cub Swanson would be a ton of fun.


To his credit, Chris Daukaus still looked fast handed at light heavyweight. The problem was that Khalil Rountree was just as fast and could hit just as hard. After a couple minutes of equal exchanges, Daukaus started to get rocked. Unfortunately for him, there was no other way he knew to fight but to jump back into the pocket. Rountree was waiting with a left hand bomb that sent him crashing to the mat. It’s Rountree’s third straight win, he’s got a spot in the rankings already locked down, and will probably move up at least one spot after this. As a result, his big ask was a Fight Night main event.

So what kind of bout would get him that? If Nikita Krylov is willing to fight down the division, then Krylov vs. Rountree would be the kind of contest the UFC might headline a fight night card with. Or maybe he could meet Aleksandar Rakic in his return to the Octagon? Otherwise, Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann have a rematch coming up. The winner of that would be perfect for Rountree, but also probably would have both men’s eyes set on something more high profile if they won. If he can convince the man to take it, I’ll say that Khalil Rountree vs. Nikita Krylov is a rock solid booking and would be a solid small card main event.


The expected result for Terrance McKinney in a fight he’s going to win. As always, he started like a house on fire, blitzing Breeden with heavy shots out of the gate. Once Breeden started to get hurt, it was only a matter of time before McKinney landed enough to get the bout waved off. A badly needed bounceback for ‘T-Wrecks’, but one that doesn’t really answer any of the long term questions he needs to address. Can McKinney win a fight he doesn’t finish in the first round? Can he keep his aggression in check enough to not gas? Can he handle adversity without losing confidence? We still don’t know.

Bouts with Chase Hooper, Rafa Garcia, L’udovit Klein, Mike Davis, or Joel Alvarez would all be decent options that could force more of a fight than Breeden could. I’ll say the UFC should book McKinney against Davis. ‘Beast Boy”s combination of huge power and surprising toughness and durability seem like the challenge McKinney still needs to solve, while Davis’ lack of defense should leave him open to the kind of high octane offense the 28-year-old does so well. McKinney vs. Davis would be an action filled battle.


I wasn’t all that ready to crown Isaac Dulgarian as a top prospect heading into this fight, just because of the absolute dearth of meaningful competition on his record to date. The fact that he’d done exactly what he should have against poor competition was great, but not necessarily meaningful. His UFC debut against Francis Marshall was a chance to show people that he was the real deal. He did that 100%.

Dulgarian went in and got a fantastic takedown early, fought his way to strong positions on the mat after, kept Marshall locked down, and then absolutely crushed him with ground-n-pound. If he can keep that momentum rolling, we might just be looking at a future featherweight contender one day.

For now, Dulgarian just needs a solid step forward. Someone who has the durability to test his cardio over multiple rounds. Someone like Melquizael Costa, David Onama, or Blake Bilder would all be good options. I like the idea of the Onama fight. He’s not a clean technician anywhere, but he is relentless in his aggression and amazingly durable. David Onama vs. Isaac Dulgarian is a strong step forward for the ‘Midwest Choppa.’


At this point, for these smaller cards, I’ve taken to skipping matchups for most of the undercard fighters. If someone hasn’t already got 3-4 wins in the UFC, finding their next fight is more a case of just getting them in the cage with whoever happens to be free in a couple months time, rather than specific fantasy booking. But, I really loved what I’ve been seeing out of Da’Mon Blackshear lately, so I wanted to give him a little extra booking love after pulling off one of MMA’s rarest submission feats.

Now 2-1-1 in the Octagon, and at 29-years-old, Blackshear is likely just hitting his prime. Fights with Daniel Santos, John Castaneda, Heili Alateng, or Aimann Zahabi would all be solid ideas. Castaneda’s a whole hell of a lot of fun, and always good for a war. John Castaneda vs. Da’Mon Blackshear would be a great chance to see if Blackshear can start building real momentum.

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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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