MMA finally returned to Alberta for the first time in over 18 months this weekend. Unified MMA 40 was one of two events in Edmonton in less than 24 hours and it also marked their debut on UFC Fight Pass. In this article, we’ll be looking at who could be next for each professional fighter on the card.
Keep in mind, in most cases, the matchups listed here are hypothetical and have not been announced or rumoured to be taking place, unless otherwise noted.
Let us know your thoughts on who should be next for the big winners and the rest of the card, and who you think would win our hypothetical matchups.
Graham Park (8-2) vs. Steven MacDonald (4-0)
With the lack of depth in the light heavyweight division in Canada, there’s still at least one high-level fight that makes sense. Park is on a roll, but needs a big name to propel himself to a major promotion. MacDonald had a Bellator contract that was canceled due to medical issues. Now that it seems he’s gotten clearance he’s likely hungry to get back to the big show. This would be a hugely competitive fight and would likely get the winner the contract they desire.
Maged Hammo (10-5-1) vs. Tom O’Connor (9-2)
Hammo finally captured a featherweight title with his hard-fought, come-from-behind victory over Neal Anderson on Saturday night. Down three rounds to nothing, he sunk a beautiful rear-naked choke late in the fourth to capture the belt. A perfect first defence would be O’Connor who’s coming off his first loss in over six years this spring and would be hungry to start a new winning streak.
KB Bhullar (9-2) vs. Sheldon Doll (7-4)
After a pair of losses in the UFC, Bhullar returned to the local scene looking to get back on track. Although dominant in victory, it was not the performance we’ve come to expect. If Bhullar wants to get back to the UFC, he’s going to need a return to his pre-UFC form. Doll would be a solid next fight on the road back before stepping up to someone like Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz in the future.
Nick Hrabec (8-5) vs. Matt Krayco (8-8-1)
With his highlight reel knockout over Kolton Menzak this weekend, Hrabec’s now won four of his last five outings, all finishes. Krayco also picked up an impressive finish with a late first round stoppage of Tim Smith on Sunday and a bout between these two would be guaranteed fireworks.
Tyler VanKill (2-0) vs. Zackery Powell (4-1)
VanKill showcased his impressive submission game over a very bright prospect and previously unbeaten Andrew Mavridis. VanKill should be poised for a quick ascension up the ladder and a fight against fellow promising prospect Powell would be a good litmus test to see where he stands.
Ali Charkie (1-0) vs. James Foster (2-2-1)
Charkie has gotten rave reviews from people who have seen him train, and with a win over an experienced fighter like Lorenzo Celis in his MMA debut it seems well deserved. Foster may not have the shiniest record, but he’s a tough, durable and experienced fighter and would offer a decent test for a young prospect like Charkie.
Tyrell Giselbrecht (1-0) vs. Cole Campbell (3-3)
Giselbrecht has looked very promising against some newer fighters in his amateur career and took a big step forward with an impressive win against Jerico MacPhee, who boasted a 6-2 amateur record. Campbell would be a tough test with his wrestling and submission game and if Giselbrecht could get past him, it could be his ticket to some high-profile fights pretty quick.
Evan Piercey (1-0) vs. Sean Michael (1-0)
Piercey picked up a dominant decision win in his pro debut this weekend. Piercey is looking to build off a solid amateur career. Michael is in a similar position, recently winning his professional debut after a decent amateur run where he lost only to some of the top amateurs in the country. This matchup will give us a chance to see who can move up in the stacked lightweight division.