Matches to Make After UFC on ESPN 56

The Ultimate Fighting Championship traveled to St. Louis and gave fans a heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and Rodrigo Nascimento. While the UFC on ESPN 56 main event didn’t need five rounds, the 12-fight card will have plenty of ramifications moving forward with important fights in the welterweight, light heavyweight and featherweight divisions.

Here are five matches to make following UFC on ESPN 56:


Derrick Lewis vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Lewis (28-12, 1 NC) showed that he still has more left in the tank at the age of 39 by knocking out Nascimento. While the best days of “The Black Beast” still seem behind him, Lewis is still near the top of the division. A fan-friendly scrap against Rozenstruik would be a fun next step as both fighters have a penchant for delivering vicious knockouts and throwing their hands wildly. It would make for a solid Fight Night main event and would add another name to Lewis’ resume as he’s faced a who’s who of the division at this point.

Joaquin Buckley vs. Neil Magny

Buckley took care of business by defeating Nursulton Ruzivboev in the co-main event. Now 19-6, Buckley is riding an impressive four-fight win streak since losing back-to-back fights to Chris Curtis and Nassourdine Imavov. This means it is time for “New Mansa” to get another opportunity up the rankings. A fight against Magny makes sense, as the “Hatian Sensation” has served as middleweight’s gatekeeper for several years now. Great fighters like Ian Garry, Gilbert Burns and Shavkat Rakhmonov have passed the test in recent years, while Mike Malott, Phil Rowem Daniel Rodriguez and Max Griffin have not. What camp Buckley winds up in will determine if he’s a future contender or not.

Related » UFC St. Louis Round-by-Round Scoring

Carlos Ulberg vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Ulberg continued his winning ways at the expense of Alonzo Menifeld. Since a loss to Kennedy Nzechukwu in 2021, “Black Jag” has picked up six wins against the likes of Menifeld, Da Un Jung and Ihor Potieria. That’s an impressive streak that is worthy of a step up in competition, such as Rakic. “Rocket” is currently in need of a bounce-back fight after losses to former champions Jiri Prochazka and Jan Blachowicz. The fight would make sense for both men as Ulberg (10-1) is in search of a signature win, while Rakic needs a win in general as the Serbian fighter hasn’t had his hands raised since 2021.

Diego Ferreira vs. Drakkar Klose

Veteran lightweight Ferreira upset Mateusz Rebecki, who is no longer undefeated inside the promotion. Ferreira (19-5) has now won two straight after beating Michael Johnson last year. At 39, the Brazilian’s title hopes are in the past but he still has plenty of viability as a gatekeeper to the top contenders. A fight against the streaking Klose would be a good contest as both are experienced fighters that still have plenty left in the tank. Klose (15-2-1) is riding a four-bout win streak after beating Joaquim Silva, Joe Solecki, Rafa Garcia and Brandon Jenkins.

Sean Woodson vs. Bryce Mitchell

The ascent of Woodson continued in the night’s opening main card bout as “The Sniper” outpointed veteran featherweight Alex Caceres. Having now won five in a row, including key wins over Charles Jourdain and Dennis Buzukja, Woodson (12-1-1) is in a prime position for a bigger fight in his next outing. After the fight, Woodson called out Mitchell and that’s a fight that makes sense. "Thug Nasty" has struggled recently, losing to Ilia Topuria and Josh Emmett, but there's no shame in those losses. Mitchell (16-2) would get a chance to get back into the win column over a streaking opponent, while Woodson could vault into being a real contender at 145 with a victory.

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