Who’s Next… Unified MMA 45

Unified MMA was back home this past weekend with a stacked Unified MMA 45 card that included three title fights.

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.

Ryan Ford (24-6) vs. Ben Saunders (23-13-2)

At 40 years old and coming off a seven-year layoff from MMA, Ford has rekindled the old spark and picked up a pair of finishes and a championship in 2022. Ford was explosive and dominant last weekend, dismantling Robert Hale inside the first round. It’s more likely that Unified will bring in American opposition for Ford rather than a Canadian like Scott Hudson or Adam Assenza. One fight I’d love to see for Ford is the UFC veteran Saunders who was rarely in a boring fight during his multiple stints in the UFC and Bellator. Saunders picked up a win over fellow UFC veteran Ramsey Nijem in his last outing and would likely pair well with Ford to put on an exciting fight.

Christian Larsen (7-2) vs. Anthony Hamilton (18-11)

Larsen was set to face Rashad Coulter this weekend, however he was forced out of the bout and Wells gallantly stepped up on a week’s notice. Larsen finished him in impressive fashion in under one minute to defend his Unified MMA heavyweight title. Larsen stated after the fight that the UFC veteran Hamilton was in talks to challenge Larsen for the title before losing his most recent bout via quick submission. Larsen stated that he’d be interested in the matchup still as Hamilton has claimed that he’s been ducking him. Larsen has also been in talks with ONE Championship, but hopefully we’ll see him inside the Unified cage at least once more.

Maged Hammo (11-6-1) vs. Tom O’Connor (10-2)

Hammo has been the underdog in both of his bouts against Neal Anderson and has proved his doubters wrong with a fourth round submission and now a fourth round TKO. It seems that Hammo has Anderson’s number and it’s time to line up the next contender. O’Connor cemented himself as the number one contender earlier this month with his third round submission victory over John Nguyen in Calgary. O’Connor would serve as another stiff test and likely make Hammo the underdog once more. Can Hammo keep proving the oddsmakers wrong?

Eli Aronov (6-0) vs. Dana White’s Contender Series Opponent

Word on the street is that Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz was offered another DWCS bout after his impressive finish of Alessandro Gambulino last month but opted to continue plying his trade on the regional scene and attempt to earn a full UFC contract. Ksiazkiewicz stepped in to replace KB Bhullar against the largely unknown but unbeaten Israeli prospect, Aronov at Unified 45. Aronov was in full control from the opening bell and had a couple of opportunities to finish the bout before securing the arm-triangle choke, as well as the biggest win of his career late in round two. It’s only logical that Aronov has earned an opportunity to fight for a contract on DWCS. If not, I for one hope to see him back in the Unified cage this fall.

Mac Laursen (2-1) vs. Chris Chapman (5-3)

Laursen and Phil Engeroff had a knock-down, drag-out fight of the night this past weekend. It was the second straight rear-naked choke finish for Laursen. In fact, despite Laursen’s decorated striking background, his finishes have all come by rear-naked choke. Chapman is finally getting consistent fights and is at a weight class he’s most suited for. A fight between these exciting finishers would definitely be a treat for the fans.

Jett Grande (3-0-1) vs. Kyran Cameron (5-2)

Grande remained undefeated with a decision win over Colton Boxell, using a smothering wrestling attack. Grande is in a unique position because likely not too many guys will step to the plate to fight him. Nevertheless, he is due for a step up in competition now and Cameron would definitely provide that.

Harley King (2-1) vs. Albaraa Atmeh (2-0)

King was not expected to have such an easy time with Izzudeen Atmeh this past weekend, but made a massive statement with the knockout victory in under two minutes. The Atmeh family is all over the regional scene right now with Izzudeen’s brother, Albaraa, currently set to face Vinny Dias in the finals of the BTC $10k bantamweight tournament at BTC 15. Oddly enough, Dias’ last victory was over Izzudeen, therefore if Albaraa can get the win there and then face and beat King he can get revenge for his brother twice and a nice little payday. Sometimes these things write themselves.

Tyrell Giselbrecht (2-1) vs. Oren Hanscombe (1-0)

Giselbrecht rebounded from his first pro loss with a first round, buzzer-beating arm bar against Caleb Ermine. Giselbrecht has not been able to string wins together since his first two amateur fights and looks to change that in his next outing. Hanscombe had a solid amateur career and then took nearly eight years off. Hanscombe returned to action and made his pro debut with a win over Dylan McIlvenny last summer and has faced stiff competition throughout his amateur career.

On the Rebound:

Grayson Wells (5-5) vs. Justin Doege (3-2)

Neal Anderson (11-5) vs. John Nguyen (4-3)

Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz (10-2) vs. Teddy Ash (14-5)

Phil Engeroff (2-1) vs. Andrew Mavridis (1-1)

Colton Boxell (1-3) vs. Chris Robinson (1-2)

Izzudeen Atmeh (2-3) vs. Blake Sigvaldason (3-3)

Caleb Ermine (0-2) vs. Jeremy Grieve (0-1)

Who’s Next brought to you by Lisa McInnes – Verico Paragon Mortgage Inc.