With UFC 257 being a historic one for the books, we play matchmaker. In the main event, Dustin Poirier upset the odds to defeat Conor McGregor by second-round TKO. The debuting Michael Chandler impressed massively with a first-round TKO over Dan Hooker.
Further down the main card, Joanne Calderwood showed her superiority over Jessica Eye. New additions to the main card Andrew Sanchez and Makhmud Muradov went to war, with Muradov continuing his winning run with a third-round TKO. The most impressive performance of the evening (definitely overshadowed by McGregor’s loss) was the performance by Marina Rodriguez, who stopped the hype train that is Amanda Ribas. If you got in on the betting odds of this, like over at Betzest sports betting, then you would have wound up earning top dollar.
UFC 257 Matchmaker
The next fight that Poirier has must be for the title. It doesn’t look as if Khabib Nurmagomedov will be making a return and ‘The Diamond’ deserves another shot. He didn’t seem interested in a fight with Chandler, so the only logical fight to make is Charles Oliveira. ‘Do Bronx’ riding an eight-fight winning streak, stopping all but one opponent.
Suffering his third UFC loss, the Irishman was exceptionally humble in defeat. Of course, at the post-fight press conference, he was asked ‘Who’s next?’ and he hinted at who we could see him compete against when he returns. Obviously, he’s interested in the trilogy with Poirier, but due to the conclusive end of the main event, we hopefully won’t see that any time soon. The fight to make is the Nate Diaz trilogy at lightweight.
Both men are natural lightweights, hold a 1-1 record against each other and have enough star power to headline an event for sure. The needle between these two has always had fans out of their seats excited for when the two meet and now seems like the perfect time. Diaz 1-1 since suffering defeat to McGregor and hasn’t made lightweight since 2015. There were suggestions that he’d make 155lbs again soon, however.
The debuting Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257. Impressing massively, Chandler put himself in the title picture with his big knockout. Does he deserve a title shot straight away? No, he has one win in the UFC. The fight that makes sense is against former interim champion, Justin Gaethje. Gaethje is coming off a loss to Nurmagomedov and shouldn’t get an immediate rematch for the belt, especially as there are other options. The heavy hands and strong wrestling of each of these two men could make it a match made in heaven.
‘The Hangman’ failed to show up at UFC 257. He seemed lethargic, lacklustre and not ‘at it’ in the co-main event. He suffered his first finish loss since 2018 and only his second ever TKO loss. After back-to-back losses, Hooker needs to restart his title push. A fight against Kevin Lee makes a lot of sense. Lee has struggled at lightweight as of late, falling to 2-4 in his overall UFC career in his last six. Both of these men are ranked in the top 15 and it would provide a good test for either man in an attempt to re-gain some form.
Off the back of a brilliant performance, Jojo has set herself up for a big 2021. She could realise a title shot again, however it’s more than likely we’ll see Calderwood against Lauren Murphy in a #1 contenders fight. It’s unfortunate because she had the shot in her grasp but didn’t want to stay inactive and suffered a defeat. With limited opinions, a title shot certainly has potential, however.
It’s unclear at the moment what Jessica Eye adds to the flyweight division. She got a title shot, was brutally knocked out and has failed to turn up in her last two fights. She’s also missed weight in two of her last three bouts. If the UFC don’t cut Eye (there wouldn’t be a surprise if they did), she has a few options. She is very much a gatekeeper at 125lbs, so Talia Santos will welcome that fight. The winner of Maycee Barber and Alexa Grasso should also call Eye out, what have they got to lose?
Makhmud Muradov impressed again at UFC 257 with yet another third-round finish. Bumped up to the main card, Muradov made the most of his opportunity, notching a performance of the night bonus. Now 3-0 in the UFC and undefeated since 2016, Muradov is making waves.
Muradov needs a fight that will help him rise up the rankings, potentially a fight that will get him into the top 15. Krzysztof Jotko is riding a three-fight winning run and has been on the brink of a top 15 spot. These two were booked for UFC Vegas 12 but Jotko had to withdraw. Re-book this one and give the winner a place in the top 15.
Andrew Sanchez suffered his second defeat in three fights. The TUF 23 winner hasn’t strung two wins together since mid-2019 and hasn’t impressed massively during his UFC career thus far. Re-book the Andre Muniz and see how that one plays out.
Marina Rodriguez put on the performance of the night against Amanda Ribas to open up the UFC 257 main card. Her performance is going under the radar as a result of the main event result but it certainly shouldn’t be. Although she got taken down in the first round, she didn’t take any major damage. Securing a second-round knockout (which she achieved twice after a strange refereeing situation), she quelled the hype train of Ribas.
Her next fight needs to either be against Michelle Waterson who is ranked one place above her or Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Waterson is 2-2 in her last four and most recently competed in September 2020. She favours a stand-up style, matching well with Rodriguez but can also mix in clinch and takedown work. Jedrzejczyk, as we know favours the stand-up game. She is 2-4 in her last six, having competed for the belt four times. Both of these women would provide a good test for Rodriguez and allow her to climb the rankings with a victory.
The hype train that Ribas had behind her ended dramatically at UFC 257, although it certainly isn’t the end for her. With bags of talent and a captivating personality, we’ll see Ribas come again, hopefully soon.
Her next opponent needs to be another ranked fighter. Ribas remained #10 in the division despite her loss. We could see her matched with Felice Herrig who is ranked #14. If the UFC looks outside of the top 15, a fight against Kanako Murata could be exciting. Murata is only 1-0 in the UFC but is riding an impressive eight-fight winning run.
Embed from Getty Images