UFC Fight Night 83 marked the promotion’s first appearance in Steel City since July 2011.  The card had its share of questionable decisions and cringe-worthy officiating, but a trio of first round finishes by main card fighters Donald Cerrone, Derek Brunson, and Cody Garbrandt managed to end the night on a high note. Cerrone earned a $50 000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his quick triangle submission over fellow “Cowboy”, Alex Oliveira, while both Brunson and Garbrandt ended their opponents’ night with good old fashioned punches to the head.

With Fight Night 83 in the books, it’s time to take a look into The MMA Corner’s crystal ball and see what the future may hold for the card’s notable winners.

Cerrone wins fight, earns undisputed “Cowboy” street cred
Potential Opponents: Conor McGregor, Any Top 15 Welterweight or Top 10 Lightweight

After winning his welterweight debut in less than three minutes via triangle choke, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was asked by UFC commentator Jon Anik, “Any idea what your immediate future holds?”

In true Cerrone fashion, he replied, “I’m gonna do [155] and 170 now. So, everybody, if you wanna get hurt, I know a guy,”.

With today’s news that RDA has broken his foot and pulled out of his UFC 196 lightweight title fight against Conor McGregor, Cerrone wasted no time throwing his name into the mix. The two have traded words on social media and at UFC press conferences, so with RDA out of the mix, this would be a great time for the UFC to cash in on McGregor and Cerrone’s heat. Since Cerrone just fought at welterweight and UFC 196 being McGregor’s debut at lightweight, a 160lbs catchweight might be the best option, as it would give both fighters some leeway on the scales.

Cerrone’s willingness to fight at the drop of a hat (cowboy or otherwise) keeps him forever at the forefront of both UFC fans’ and matchmakers’ minds. Given his abnormally active fight schedule, it would be reasonable to assume he’ll be walking to the octagon again sooner rather than later, whether he’s given two months’ or two days’ notice. That makes his fighting future very exciting, but also incredibly difficult to predict with any accuracy.

Although McGregor-Cerrone is a fight fan’s wet dream, if the UFC has other plans for McGregor and UFC 196, Cerrone will still have plenty of options at 155lbs. A rematch with Nate Diaz would give Cerrone an opportunity to avenge his 2011 loss to the Stockton slugger, while re-establishing himself as a top five threat. However, with Diaz campaigning for a fight with Eddie Alvarez, Cerrone may have to rain on the parade of up-and-coming lightweight Al Iaquinta, who has won four straight and is eager to break into top five territory with a marquee win.

If Cerrone stays at welterweight, he’s likely to get an opponent in the top 15 or bordering on the top 10. Whether he takes on a vicious striker like Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, grappling stand-out like Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson, durable veteran Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine, or any top 15 competition, “Cowboy” will relish in the opportunity to put the welterweight division on notice.

Brunson goes beast mode on “Jucao”, wins by TKO in round one
Potential Opponents: Uriah “Primetime” Hall, Chris Camozzi

Derek Brunson made quick work of his Fight Night 83 opponent, Roan “Jucao” Carneiro, pummeling the Brazilian en route to a TKO stoppage at 2:38 in the first round of their co-main event fight. The win makes it four straight for Brunson (including three first round finishes) and puts him at 6-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming to top contender Yoel Romero.

When asked what was next in his post-fight interview, Brunson’s response was straightforward: “Whoever wants to get TKO’d.”
By Monday, Brunson had made a more focused decision, calling out Uriah Hall on Twitter with, of all things, a Carly Rae Jepsen quote, “Yo [Uriah Hall] how does UFC 197 sound. April 23? Here’s my number call me maybe?”  The post also tagged UFC President Dana White and MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz.

Hall is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 193, but prior to that “Primetime” had notched impressive TKO wins over Gegard Mousasi and Oluwale Bamgbose. Matching Hall’s creative and varied repertoire of strikes against Brunson’s power punches and wrestling prowess would be a stiff test for both fighters.

If the Hall match-up doesn’t materialize, Brunson may find a dance partner in fellow Fight Night 83 contender Chris Camozzi, who demolished Joe Riggs with a barrage of standing knees to the head in just 26 seconds of their main card fight. The “Performance of the Night” finish gives Camozzi his second straight win after losing a short-notice fight against “Jacare” Souza back in April 2015. The well-rounded middleweight is eager to prove he can hang with top competition, and Brunson would be all-too-happy to spoil those plans.

Garbrandt shows “No Love” for late-replacement, finishes Mendes in the first
Potential Opponents: John Lineker, Jimmie Rivera

Cody Garbrandt fought smart at Fight Night 83, opting to stay the hell away from late-replacement Augusto Mendes’ terrifying ground game. Instead, he kept the fight standing, landed a beautiful three-punch combo, and sent the Brazilian packing with — potentially unnecessary, thanks to referee Mario Yamasaki — a couple of hammer fists to Mendes’ skull.

The first round stoppage marks the third straight UFC win for “No Love”, putting him at a perfect 8-0 in his professional career.

Next, ideally, Garbrandt should face off against his original Fight Night 83 opponent, John Lineker, who was forced out of their fight due to a case of dengue fever. If Lineker recovers on a reasonable timeline, this fight needs to happen.

If the illness puts Lineker on the sidelines for an extended period of time, Garbrandt will have to fight again, meaning that the UFC should reward him with another top 15 opponent. Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera recently picked up a unanimous decision win over Iuri Alcantara at UFC on FOX 18 in January. The win moved Rivera into the 13-spot on the UFC’s official bantamweight rankings. A fight between the two young prospects would give fans and the UFC a good sense of which fighter is prepared to make the jump into top 10 competition.

Murphy batters Faszholz for TKO finish, earns FOTN bonus
Potential Opponents: Sarah Moras, Ashlee Evans-Smith

Lauren Murphy got back on the winning track after two disappointing UFC losses, beating up Kelly Faszholz en route to a third-round TKO finish. The fight earned both bantamweights a $50 000 “Fight of the Night” bonus, as Faszholz proved to be no slouch, going toe-to-toe with Murphy for almost the entirety of the three round fight, after coming in on less than a week’s notice.

Prior to the 0-2 skid, Murphy was the undefeated Invicta FC bantamweight champ. She’s no doubt eager to prove she belongs among the UFC’s elite female fighters, but still has some work to do to crack the top 10. The most obvious choice would be for her to face her original Fight Night 83 opponent, Sarah Moras, who pulled out last minute due to injury. However, with Moras on the sidelines, the UFC might consider pairing Murphy up with another fighter who earned a gritty, if not a little controversial, win at Fight Night 83: Ashlee Evans-Smith. She’s a much greener fighter than Murphy, but showed improved striking in her win over Reneau.

That’s it for now! Be sure to check in again next week, as we will be digging through the fallout from the upcoming UFC Fight Night 84: Silva vs Bisping, which takes place on Saturday, February 27, and airs on Fight Pass.

About The Author

Jonny Hodds

Jonny Hodds geeks out over MMA, RPGs, comic books, board games, documentaries, and all things horror/sci-fi/fantasy related. When he was 10 years old, he was shown a karate video of a “master sensei” getting kicked in the junk repeatedly without flinching. To this day, he still believes this is the only true form of mixed martial arts. He also spends far too much time online for his own good.