After sensational performance at UFC Vegas 37, what’s next for Ion Cutelaba?

Ion Cutelaba

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 37, we saw a light heavyweight showdown between Ion Cutelaba (16-6-1, 1 NC) and Devin Clark (12-6). Both of these light heavyweight contenders were looking to bounce back after recent losses.

Cutelaba was actually coming off of a draw heading into UFC Vegas 37. The last time we had seen Cutelaba prior to Saturday night was back in May when he fought to a draw with Dustin Jacoby.

That night, Cutelaba started out extremely fast and scored a 10-8 first round. However, he completely gassed and lost the final two rounds leading to the judges calling the fight a draw.

I was very worried about Cutelaba’s cardio heading into his fight with Devin Clark. In fact, the cardio issues are why I picked Clark to squeak by and get a decision win at UFC Vegas 37, however, I was dead wrong.

In the opening round, Cutelaba nearly finished Clark after dropping him with a big shot. The rest of the fight, Cutelaba continued pushing forward and taking Clark to the ground. In the end, Cutelaba won a lopsided decision win to get back on track.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 37?

This was a big win for Cutelaba as he hadn’t won a fight since September of 2019 in the UFC. He was finished twice by Magomed Ankalaev and then had the draw against Jacoby a few months ago.

He looked incredibly impressive on Saturday and he looked like the contender we thought he could be. The question now becomes, who should the UFC pair him with next after that victory?

Well, we have to remember that Cutelaba was in the top fifteen not too long ago. He looked like a top fifteen fighter on Saturday night. I think the UFC should look at top fifteen guys for “The Hulk’s” next fight.

A few guys to keep in mind are Paul Craig (15-4-1), Jimmy Crute (12-2), and Jamahal Hill (8-1, 1 NC). Hill and Crute are set to fight each other in December. Both are in the rankings and coming off losses. Whoever wins could be a good opponent for Cutelaba.

Craig is also around the same spot in the rankings and he needs a new opponent. He was originally supposed to fight Alexander Gustafsson next, but that fight fell through. A fight between Cutelaba and Craig would be interesting for the UFC fans who love grappling. This could be a potential matchup to watch out for.

UFC booking Jimmy Crute – Jamahal Hill

The UFC has finalized a fun matchup in the light heavyweight division that will pit two top fifteen contenders against each other. Top up and coming prospects Jimmy Crute (12-2) and Jamahal Hill (8-1, 1 NC) are set to battle it out.

The matchup was first reported by ESPN and it will take place at a UFC Fight Night on October 2nd. Jimmy Crute will be looking to bounce back after he suffered his second loss inside the octagon in his last time out.

Crute was on the main card at UFC 261 in a massive spot against former title challenger Anthony Smith. Unfortunately for Crute, he couldn’t pull out the win. Late in the first round Smith landed a brutal leg kick that damaged Crute’s knee.

The doctor called a stop to the action in between rounds after Crute couldn’t walk without his leg giving out. That loss dropped Crute to 4-2 inside the octagon. While he did lose at UFC 261, people should still be very high on Jimmy Crute.

Quick UFC turnaround for Hill

Much like Jimmy Crute, Jamahal Hill suffered an injury in his last fight. At UFC 263, Hill took on the jiu jitsu ace Paul Craig. Craig pulled guard in the first round and locked in an armbar that dislocated the arm of Hill.

The dislocation along with a barrage of elbows caused the referee to call a stop to the action and Hill suffered the first loss of his career. Prior to that loss, Hill had gone 2-0, 1 NC in three trips inside the octagon.

Hill was coming off of a TKO win over Ovince St. Preux which really showed UFC fans just how good he is. This is a quick turnaround for Hill and I’ll be very curious to see how he looks when he makes the walk in October.

This is an extremely important fight for the division. These are arguably the two best prospects in the division and whoever wins will start marching back up the ladder.

After knockout loss at UFC Vegas 21, what’s next for Misha Cirkunov?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, we saw a matchup of top fifteen light heavyweights in the co-main event of the evening. Veteran, Misha Cirkunov (15-6), was taking on the rising contender, Ryan Spann (19-6).

Going into this matchup, I really liked Cirkunov’s chances. I figured we would see these two primarily exchange in a grappling affair. Considering the track record of both men, I figured we’d see the two wrestle early on in the fight.

However, both seemed content with standing early in the first. The one knock on Cirkunov is that he’s been finished a few times by strikes in the first round. He needed to get this fight into a grappling exchange early and he didn’t do that.

Spann was able to catch Cirkunov with a huge right hand that sat him down. Cirkunov was able to get up, however, he didn’t stay there for long. Spann followed up with some big shots to get the TKO victory at UFC Vegas 21.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

This was a tough loss for Misha Cirkunov and a crucial one considering where he stands in the UFC. While Cirkunov remains in the top 15, he’s now just 2-4 in his last six fights inside the octagon.

It’s not just the four losses, but it’s four losses by first round knockout. That’s not a great look for a guy who was looked at as a potential UFC title challenger just a few years ago. In 2016, Cirkunov was 13-2 after defeating Nikita Krylov.

He looked like he was surging towards a title shot before hitting this rough patch. So what should the UFC do with him next? Personally, I think he should be matched up with the loser of the eventual matchup between Paul Craig (14-4-1) and Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC).

Both of these guys rank just below Cirkunov in the UFC rankings. They were supposed to fight recently, however, Hill came down with COVID and the fight is being rescheduled. The winner should move up and the loser should take on Cirkunov next.

UFC booking Paul Craig – Jamahal Hill

The UFC is finalizing a fantastic matchup in the light heavyweight division. MMA Junkie was first to report that the promotion is booking a matchup between Paul Craig (14-4-1) and Jamahal Hill (8-0, 1 NC).

The matchup between the two top fifteen contenders is expected to take place on March 20th. Craig will enter the octagon looking to pick up his third straight victory in the UFC. He hasn’t tasted defeat in his last four fights.

During that span, Craig has gone 3-0-1 with the draw coming against Shogun Rua. Craig was able to get that fight back at UFC 255 when he forced Shogun to tap out due to strikes.

Paul Craig has only tasted defeat twice since 2018 and those losses came to Alonzo Menifield and Jimmy Crute. Craig has some impressive wins including a last second triangle choke over rising contender, Magomed Ankalaev.

Craig has some decent overall skills, but he’s really known for his grappling ability. His triangle chokes are sensational especially considering he’s a light heavyweight. Half of his professional wins have come via triangle choke.

UFC Light Heavyweight Battle

Standing across from Craig on March 20th is one of the more exciting prospects in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. There are many people in the promotion that are excited about Sweet Dreams, Jamahal Hill.

Hill will come into the contest on March 20th riding a ton of momentum. He would be coming into this fight on a two-fight knockout streak, however his knockout win over Klidson Abreu was overturned to a No Contest due to a positive drug test for marijuana.

However, I’m wondering if that might change. The UFC just announced that they will no longer punish fighters for positive tests for marijuana finally. Nevertheless, it stands as a No Contest for now.

Hill took on Ovince St. Preux back in December and he completely destroyed him. He picked up the second round TKO and put the light heavyweight division on notice. Paul Craig will be another big test for Hill. Should Hill win this one, the UFC’s light heavyweight division has a new and shiny contender.