Demian Maia compounded Ben Askren’s ongoing misery, as he submitted the former Bellator MMA and One Championship titleholder with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 162 headliner on Saturday in Kallang, Singapore. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has recorded three straight wins, proving he still has more left in the tank.
Meanwhile, Steven Ray won a majority decision over Michael Johnson; Beneil Dariush continued his winning ways by tapping Frank Camacho; Ciryl Gane impressed onlookers after a dominant performance led to a heel hook submission of Don'Tale Mayes; and Muslim Salikhov outpointed Laureano Staropoli.
What becomes of the UFC Fight Night 162 losers? A few ideas:
Ben Askren vs. Neil Magny: Askren has suffered two losses in a row and taken a lot of damage all three of his UFC appearances. Should he continue to compete, he runs the risk of losing three straight fights, which would greatly damage his already-low stock. The welterweight rankings are currently stacked, so there is no easy fight for “Funky,” but one opponent that makes sense is Magny, who has not competed since his knockout loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio in 2018. He was recently cleared of his USADA struggles. Of course, Askren came to the UFC to face the best fighters in the world. If he wants a riskier fight, the No. 15-ranked Gilbert Burns has called him out for what would be another fascinating matchup.
Michael Johnson vs. Drakkar Klose: Johnson returned to lightweight but failed to return to the win column, as he suffered a majority decision loss to Ray. “The Menace” is now winless in his last two, while he has also lost in five of his last seven outings. There is no need for calls for retirement yet, especially if he can find success in his natural weight class again. Given his name value, Johnson could still land a fight with someone on a winning streak. Why not match him with the red-hot Klose, who has rattled off three consecutive victories?
Frank Camacho vs. Damir Hadzovic: Camacho was handily defeated by Dariush in their featured lightweight bout and has now lost three of his last four fights. His only win during that stretch came against Nick Hein, who is currently on a three-fight skid. Hadzovic also owns a victory over Hein but finds himself on the rebound after a decision loss to Christos Giagos. Camacho-Hadzovic seems appropriate.
Don'Tale Mayes vs. Justin Tafa: Mayes may have been outclassed by the impressive Gane, but he certainly displayed plenty of heart in his UFC debut. He was also on a four-fight winning streak leading up to the bout, and given that he is a Dana White’s Contender Series alum, he should get another opportunity. A scrap with the highly regarded Tafa -- a man who also suffered a defeat in his promotional debut at UFC 243 on Oct. 5 -- makes sense.
Laureano Staropoli vs. Dwight Grant: Staropoli suffered his first defeat in the UFC and his first setback anywhere since 2013 in a unanimous decision loss to Salikhov. However, it is not the end of the world for the Argentine, as he has been impressive during his promotional tenure thus far. Match him with Grant, who is also 2-1 in the UFC and coming off a decision win over Alan Jouban.