Potential Matches Following UFC Fight Night 232

The recent Ultimate Fighting Championship event was somewhat lean, but there were a few noteworthy matches. One of the most significant bouts was the main event, a middleweight fight between Paul Craig and Brendan Allen. Craig, a well-established light heavyweight contender, was known for his stunning victories, including a literal last-second win against Magomed Ankalaev during the latter’s UFC debut and a two-minute stoppage of future light heavyweight champion, Jamahal Hill, in 2021. Despite a few setbacks, Craig made the decision at 35 years old to drop to 185 pounds. This proved successful in his first fight at the new weight, where he overcame Andre Muniz in the second round, despite being a considerable underdog.

However, Craig faced a much tougher challenge in Brendan Allen. At 27 years old, Allen, one of the most skilled middleweights in the world, seemed to be coming into his own. After an unexpected loss against Chris Curtis in late 2021, Allen went on to win five straight victories, four of them by submission. Furthermore, his wrestling and striking abilities outpaced Craig’s, making Allen a clear favorite. True to the expectations set for him, Allen held his own during the match, outdoing Craig with superior striking and grappling techniques, repeated take-downs, and ascendancy in ground-and-pound. He opened up a significant cut on Craig with an elbow, eventually took him out with a rear-naked choke in the third round.

Another noteworthy match was the co-main event between 23-year-old Michael Morales, who had gone 15-0 professionally, and Jake Matthews, a former young prospect who didn’t quite meet the expectations set for him when he debuted in UFC at age 19. Despite a less than stellar track record, Matthews was a well-rounded fighter, offering Morales, a lightning-fast striker, a stiff challenge. In what turned out to be a competitive kickboxing match with a few timely power punches from Matthews, Morales came out on top, winning the unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Amanda Ribas, a one-time title challenger who switched back to strawweight, beat fellow Brazilian Luana Pinheiro. It took Ribas a while to find her footing, but she ultimately persevered, knocking out her exhausted opponent with a spinning wheel kick and follow-up punches.

After the fights at UFC Fight Night 232, several other encounters are suggested for 2024. Brendan Allen could face former title challenger Marvin Vettori, rated No. 5, in a match to solidify Allen’s potential as a serious title contender. Michael Morales, a spectacular talent with some notable weaknesses, could face 36-year-old Carlston Harris, who is a strong striker and grappler. Lastly, despite some significant defeats, Amanda Ribas could face former championship-holder Jessica Andrade to see if she can break into the elite.

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