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If anyone ever underestimates the significance of experience in MMA, point no further than Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 236 main event, in which Joe Pyfer suffered his first octagon loss against Jack Hermansson.
Beaming with the confidence of three consecutive finishes to begin his UFC tenure, Pyfer (12-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) came into the middleweight headliner vs. Hermansson (24-8 MMA, 11-6 UFC) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas with maximum confidence. It showed in the octagon to start the fight, with Pyfer controlling the first and second rounds.
The narrative changed in the third, however, when Hermansson landed a big punch that hindered Pyfer’s vision. He shrunk in the moment of adversity while Hermansson displayed veteran savvy and took over down the stretch to win a unanimous decision and take home the upset, leaving questions about whether Pyfer was overmatched and overhyped.
His next performance will be more telling on that front. If Pyfer learned lessons in output, pacing and the ability to control the flow of a fight, he’ll be better for this. If not, than this main event might be his pinnacle. At just 27, however, the future could still be quite bright for Pyfer.
He needs to rack up one or two wins before he gets another crack at a ranked opponent, though. Many think he was fast-tracked to this spot, so the next time he gets someone with a number next to his name, it needs to be entirely warranted.
Someone like the winner of next month’s UFC Fight Night matchup between Eryk Anders (15-7 MMA, 7-8 UFC) and Jamie Pickett (13-10 MMA, 2-6 UFC) is in the wheelhouse of a fitting rebound fight for Pyfer. Both men are experienced and have fought some marquee names in the division, and there’s a lot to compare and contrast in how Pyfer would handle them. The fight doesn’t go down until March 2, meaning Pyfer has time to heal up then make his timeline match up with that of the winner.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 236.
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