The UFC 248 main card was full of fun fights that spoiled the fans at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. After such nights, the next step that many fans take is to look ahead to what should follow such fun. The UFC 248 Post-Fight Matchmaker delves into this, discussing who should be next for the night’s main card stars.
UFC 248 Post-Fight Matchmaker
Alex Oliveira vs. Lyman Good
The Brazilian Alex Oliveira was able to do just enough to pick up a split-decision victory over Max Griffin in the UFC 248 main card opener. The win snaps a three fight skid for the fan favorite “Cowboy”. Lyman Good is also coming off of a win, and Oliveira would represent an incremental step in competition for him. Meanwhile, Oliveira would get a chance to regain momentum in what would sure to be a fan-friendly scrap.
Neil Magny vs. Geoff Neal
Neil Magny put on a show over three rounds, lighting up Li Jingliang en route to a dominant decision victory. After a long layoff, Magny is looking to quickly get back into contention. Geoff Neal has been on a tear to start his UFC career, already securing a spot in the top ten of a stacked welterweight division. Before the layoff, Magny was a mainstay in the top ten and will certainly be looking for an opponent of that caliber. This matchup would be a non-stop technical affair that would be sure not to disappoint.
Beneil Dariush vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira 2
After winning the first round, Beneil Dariush was dangerously close to being finished by Drakkar Klose in the second. Out of nowhere, however, Dariush came back to deliver a scintillating knockout in the main card’s only finish. After a three fight winless streak, Dariush has now won four in a row and looks ready to re-enter the lightweight division’s rankings. For his next fight, a rematch with Carlos Diego Ferreira makes sense. At UFC 179, Dariush picked up a unanimous decision win over Ferreira. Ferreira was then knocked out by Dustin Poirier in his next fight, but has won six straight since then. A rematch would give Ferreira a chance to avenge one of his two career losses, while giving Dariush a chance to work his way back into contention.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tatiana Suarez
Although she did not come out on top, Joanna Jedrzejczyk was one-half of the consensus greatest women’s fight in UFC history in the co-main event. She fought through a terrible-looking hematoma on her forehead to come extremely close to regaining her strawweight crown. She will presumably be on the shelf for a little bit to ensure a full recovery from that and the other effects of being in such a physically draining fight.
Another fighter who is still recovering from injury is Tatiana Suarez. If not for a neck injury suffered during her most recent fight against Nina Ansaroff, Suarez would likely have fought for the title by now. Now that the dynamics of the division have changed, she will likely need one more fight to cement her spot as a title challenger. The winner of the Suarez-Jedrzejczyk matchup is the likely next title challenger following the fight that is discussed below.
Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas-Jessica Andrade 2 winner
Weili Zhang proved to be truly worthy of being a champion, defending her belt for the first time against one of the best fighters in women’s MMA history in an absolute barnburner. She seemed to hit a second wind late in the fight to ensure a decision victory. At UFC 249 next month, Zhang’s next challenger will likely be determined in a rematch between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade. At UFC 237 last May, Andrade slammed Namajunas on her head to win Namajunas’s title, which Andrade subsequently lost to Zhang in 42 seconds. Namajunas was originally offered the title shot that Jedrzejczyk ended up getting, but declined saying that she “wasn’t ready”. A win over Andrade should ensure her readiness. Meanwhile, an Andrade win would give the Brazilian a chance to prove her quick loss was just a fluke.
Yoel Romero vs. Corey Anderson
It was a tough night for the 42-year-old Yoel Romero, who seemed out of sorts for the duration of the headlining fight. Romero seemed to have more energy and care more about the post-fight interview than the fight itself, leaving a bad taste in fans’ mouths. He has had well-documented issues making the 185-pound middleweight limit, so Romero’s next fight should likely be at light heavyweight. Much like other former middleweight contenders Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman,and Jacare Souza, Romero would not receive a title shot off the bat. He should, however, fight a top-five opponent next. A good matchup would be with Corey Anderson, who is also coming off of a recent loss but was previously on the cusp of title contention. The winner would get a chance to right the ship and work towards the 205-pound title.
If Romero insists on fighting at middleweight again, look for him to take a step back in the division and face the winner of the April fight between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan.
Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa
Israel Adesanya maintained his hold on the middleweight title, simply doing just enough to get the job done in a decision victory. The next challenger for “The Last Stylebender” is clearly Paulo Costa. There is plenty of heat between the two of them, and Costa has done more than enough to earn the shot. Costa has blitzed through the division en route to his future pairing with Adesanya. The much-anticipated fight should be fireworks both inside and out of the cage.