Could the loss at UFC Vegas 86 be a blessing for Joe Pyfer?

MMA: UFC 287 - Meerschaert vs Pyfer
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC Vegas 86, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division. Jack Hermansson (24-8) was looking to defend his spot in the rankings against rising star Joe Pyfer (12-3).

Pyfer came into the UFC like a bat out of hell. After earning a contract on The Contender Series in July 2022, he won his first three fights all by stoppage. The competition improved along the way and then on Saturday, he got his first main event spot against a guy who has been in there with some of the best middleweights in the world.

Pyfer hadn’t faced really any resistance during his time in the octagon. Through a round and a half on Saturday, Pyfer was completely dominating the fight. However, it was clear that Hermansson wasn’t going to fold like the rest of Pyfer’s opponents in the past. That was going to be a problem.

For Pyfer, he was too reliant on his ability to get guys out of there early. He hadn’t faced anyone in the UFC that was going to be there for the full fight and this was a five-round war. Had this been a three-round fight, Pyfer would’ve won a decision. However, after being up 2-1 on the scorecards after three, Pyfer was gassed and Hermansson completely took over.

Hermansson won the final three rounds to win a 48-47 decision on all three scorecards completely stopping the hype train of Joe Pyfer.

UFC Vegas 86 Fallout

However, to go back to the title of this article, could this loss be a blessing? I think it could be. Some contenders rise all the way to the top and face really no resistance at all until they get into the title picture. Guys like Alex Pereira, Israel Adesanya, and Robert Whittaker come to mind. All former champions.

Then you have a guy like Sean Strickland. Strickland was on a roll entering the top of the middleweight division then he was knocked out by Alex Pereira and lost a decision to Jared Cannonier. However, he didn’t fold. Instead, he came back strong and went on to become UFC middleweight champion.

Then you have someone like Edmen Shahbazyan. The Golden Boy looked like he was going to become a UFC champion until he ran into Derek Brunson who humbled him. After that fight, he’s never seemed like the same guy and the mystique is gone from him completely.

Who will Joe Pyfer be? I think this loss is going to be a good thing for Pyfer in the long run. He’s so talented and has great skills wherever the fight goes. I think this fight will ultimately be a lesson for him on conserving those big shots a little so he has the stamina to go those five rounds against the best guys in the world.

In terms of what’s next for him, I think the UFC should look at a guy like Gregory Rodrigues. Robocop had a big win over Brad Tavares on Saturday night to win his second fight in a row. That seems like a good next fight for Pyfer who is coming off his first loss inside the octagon.

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