Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira vs. Nelson, which took place on April 11 from the DU Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Roy Nelson vs. Mark Hunt

After battering Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with heavy blows, Roy Nelson knocked the Brazilian legend out cold with a huge overhand right.

“Big Country” had been out of sync in his last two fights, both losses, but he has now regained his footing in the heavyweight division with a massive finish. Not only did Nelson earn “Performance of the Night,” but he also keeps his seat in the top 10 of the rankings in search of a title shot.

Up next for Nelson should be a clash with one of the most feared strikers on the planet, Mark Hunt. It makes perfect sense for both fighters. They currently sit at No. 8 and No. 9 in the rankings, and also match up to create an entertaining fight. We know how much of a warrior Hunt is and recall the memorable fights he has delivered. With the way Nelson looked on Friday, this bout has big potential.

Clay Guida vs. Chan Sung Jung

The trend of fighters returning to their old self remained a theme in the co-main event, where Clay Guida returned to the win column following losses in three of his last four bouts.

Guida was as impressive as ever against one of the top featherweights in the world, Tatsuya Kawajiri. He defeated the Japanese legend by unanimous decision. The bout was declared “Fight of the Night,” and rightfully so, as both men went to war on the mat and standing.

The next move for Guida is uncertain at this point. He expressed interest in fighting at lightweight again, although he could remain at 145 pounds. “The Carpenter” called out names such as Conor McGregor and Josh Thomson, but I’m looking in a different direction. I see him staying at 145 pounds, maybe taking on Chan Sung Jung next.

“The Korean Zombie” hasn’t stepped foot in the Octagon since his shoulder injury against Jose Aldo in 2013, but he is expected to return this summer. This sets up well for a match-up with Guida. A pairing of the two fan-favorites would be one of the most talked-about fights on any card.

Ryan LaFlare vs. Gunnar Nelson

All four wins of his UFC career have been courtesy of unanimous decisions, but no matter the method, Ryan LaFlare is getting the job done. The 30-year-old impressed once again on Friday by topping John Howard to keep his undefeated record alive. If you haven’t already, it’s time to take note of the New York native, who is now 11-0.

Up next for LaFlare should be a bout against Gunnar Nelson, who is coming off a first-round submission win on March 8. I wrote about the possibility of this fight in the UFC Fight Night 37 edition of Fight Destiny, and I’m standing by my choice.

LaFlare and Nelson are at identical points in their career. They are two of the top rising welterweights on the roster, but they aren’t household names just yet. However, with a couple more wins, either one of them could emerge as a new challenger to the top 15 of the division.

Ramsey Nijem vs. Takanori Gomi-Isaac Vallie-Flagg winner

Ramsey Nijem kicked off the main card in style, earning a TKO over Beneil Dariush in the first round. Nijem also took home “Performance of the Night” honors for his impressive finish. He has now put together back-to-back wins in 2014. It’s all about staying consistent from here on out, which determines his fate in the loaded lightweight division.

The 26-year-old deserves a quality opponent who will boost his stock, so why not give him the winner of the fight between Takanori Gomi and Isaac Vallie-Flagg, who are scheduled to meet at UFC 172 on April 26.

Gomi is coming off a split decision loss to Diego Sanchez in March 2013, and Vallie-Flagg is looking to bounce back following a loss to Elias Silverio.

Nijem still has a long way to go before becoming a true threat, but if he can duplicate his performance from Friday against veterans such Gomi or Vallie-Flagg, he’ll continue to turn heads.

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.