Another exciting bantamweight matchup is going down on December 18 at UFC Fight Night 200, as Ricky Simon is slated to face No. 11 ranked Raphael Assuncao, in a bout most likely to be a main card bout.
This is a good step up for Simon, and a great match up to tell us whether Assuncao still has it or not.
Raphael Assuncao has long been feared in the WEC & UFC’s featherweight, and more notably, bantamweight divisions. He won his first two bouts in the WEC, before losing to former multi-time champion Urijah Faber.
Prior to that he’d even beat Jorge Masvidal (UD) and Joe Lauzon (armbar), both at 155 lbs, about a year before Lauzon joined The Ultimate Fighter 5. That’s how long Raphael Assuncao has been around.
A split decision defeat would follow against Diego Nunes just after his defeat to Faber, before he’d defeat future Bellator talent LC Davis. Next came his UFC debut, where he was KO’d by a surging Erik Koch. The Brazilian then decided to move down to 135 lbs, where he’s had enormous amounts of success.
Assuncao went on a seven-fight win streak once dropping down to bantamweight, defeating the likes of Johnny Eduardo (UD), Issei Tamura (TKO), Mike Easton (UD), who was a huge prospect at the time, Vaughan Lee (armbar), future UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (SD), former two-time RFA bantamweight champion Pedro Munhoz (UD), and Bryan Caraway (UD).
Next came a unanimous decision defeat to former, and again future champion TJ Dillashaw in their rematch, before winning his next four against Aljamain Sterling (SD), six-time WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes (SD), Matt Lopez (KO), and former two-time CES featherweight champion Rob Font (UD).
As you see, Assuncao has defeated a lot of the very best fighters in the world. He has a win over Dillashaw, five-time UFC champion and the arguable bantamweight goat. He has a win over the current champion, Sterling, a win over former multi-time world champion, Moraes, and wins over the current No. 4 & No. 9 ranked talents, Font and Munhoz.
That’s just astounding!
However, he has had a bit of a rough go lately, losing his last three straight.
First, he was submitted (guillotine choke) by Marlon Moraes in their rematch after being badly stunned; he lost a unanimous decision to current No. 3 ranked contender Cory Sandhagen, who will be fighting for the interim title next month, and he was KO’d by former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt in his last outing, bringing his record to 27-8.
Going from victories over all those names to losing his last three hasn’t looked the best on him obviously, but he’s been fighting at an incredibly high level for over a decade at this point. Not to mention, he just turned 39 years old in July.
Ricky Simon on the other hand started his mixed martial arts journey off much more recently. In fact, his first fight came just two months after Assuncao’s first fight with Dillashaw.
Simon made it to 12-1, becoming a two-time RFA bantamweight champion prior to joining the UFC.
After a very tough fight with Merab Dvalishvili, Simon controversially submitted (guillotine choke) him at the very end of the fight, and he’d just won his UFC debut.
Two more victories would follow over Montel Jackson (UD) and another longtime staple in Rani Yahya (UD), before he was finished (TKO) by a returning Urijah Faber.
A unanimous decision defeat to Rob Font would follow, before Simon would win his last three bouts over the likes of Ray Borg (SD), Gaetano Pirrello (arm-triangle choke), and Brian Kelleher (UD), bringing his record to 18-3.
This is a perfect young lion versus old lion type of match up, with Simon being the younger party by an entire decade.
Who do you see coming out on top?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.