Both Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson took a step in the right direction this weekend, and Richard Mann is back to break down their victories by the numbers.
Fantasy AnalysisEvinger was beaten by Kunitskaya back in November 2016, but the fight was ultimately ruled a no-contest due to an error made by the referee, who forced Evinger to move from a legal position -- which likely lead to her submission. Now, the Invicta bantamweight division has an unquestioned champion again, as Evinger was able to hold off multiple early submission attempts from Kunitskaya en route to eventually finishing the fight in the second. Overall, it was an exciting, back-and-forth fight where Evinger warded off guillotine, heel hook and kneebar attempts. The tide started to turn for her towards the end of the first round, where Evinger was able to earn a positional advantage and began to pour on ground and pound. From there, she went into Round 2 in the driver's seat before eventually earning the submission. Evinger is now 7-0 (1 NC) under the Invicta banner.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg hasn't competed under the Invicta banner since January 2016, though she's taken two "catchweight" fights at 140 pounds with the UFC since then. No matter the opponent, Cyborg has completely dominated, racking up seven straight stoppage victories -- only two of those have made it out of the first round. The UFC had their inaugural 145-pound championship fight without her, as Cyborg was dealing with a potential anti-doping violation, though she has just been cleared of any wrongdoing. Naturally, she wants to face GDR for a shot at UFC gold, but de Randamie's health and willingness to fight Cyborg have both come into question of late. If Cyborg is granted her wish, the two would fight at UFC 214 in Anaheim on July 29.
Fantasy AnalysisPico is a 20-year-old prospect that is most highly regarded for his wrestling abilities, as he came up one victory short of making the U.S. Olympic team in the 143-pound weight class. That, mixed with a boxing background, are the skills he'll use to seek a win in his first professional bout. Pico as also picked a quality camp, as he currently trains at American Kickboxing Academy.
Fantasy AnalysisMcDonald wass a quality UFC bantamweight, who at 26 years old, likely still has some untapped potential. He's 3-3 in his last six UFC bouts, but the Last Stand Fight Team product will now put his skills to the test under the banner of another promotion.
Fantasy AnalysisBenevidez was hoping for another shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, but will instead have to settle for a bout with the 28-year-old Ben Nguyen. Currently riding a steak of six straight wins, Benavidez is coming off a split decision win over Henry Cejudo and has plenty of experience over the younger Nguyen, which could give him an advantage as June approaches.
Fantasy AnalysisNguyen has started off his UFC career with a solid 3-1 mark and will get the chance to up his competition in June against Joseph Benavidez, who represents a very tough matchup. Benavidez is the more experienced fighter and is coming off six straight wins, so Nguyen should have his hands full. That said, Nguyen is coming off a win of his own, a unanimous decision over Geane Herrera, and will look to keep the momentum going with one of the bigger fights of his early UFC career.
Fighters Who May Be Returning Soon