UFC 259 is in the books and it’s time to look forward to potential fights for some of those who left the Apex Center victorious. There were fifteen winners at UFC 259 and we are going to take a look at who some of them could fight next, all things considered.
UFC 259 Prelims – Who’s Got Next?
Trevin Jones defeated Mario Bautista in the second round of their UFC 259 opening fight. Jones looked sharp and beat Bautista with an uppercut and ground and pound. Jones should be 2-0 in the UFC but his debut victory was overturned due to a positive test for marijuana.
Next? Song Yadong – Yadong was defeated Saturday night and could drop from the rankings. A fight between him and Trevin Jones would plant the winner firmly within the top fifteen in the bantamweight rankings.
Medic battered Aalon Cruz for nearly two minutes before the referee finally woke up and halted the action, sparing Cruz further abuse. It was a late stoppage, but Medic looked super good in the bout and should find himself in the top fifteen in the division. He’s a perfect 7-0.
Next? Alexander Hernandez – This could be a good fight between fighters outside of the top fifteen. Hernandez was once thought to be a promising prospect but has lost two of his last three. This would be a good measuring stick for Medic and the winner could sneak into the top fifteen.
Amanda Lemos destroyed highly regarded, Livinha Souza at UFC 259. The fight wasn’t close as Lemos knocked Souza down multiple times and utilized great wrestling to soundly stop Souza in the first round. It’s time to find out just how good Lemos is.
Next? Claudia Gadelha – This would be a dynamite fight and would be a dramatic test of how talented Lemos is, as well as how much Gadelha has left in the tank. I would be very interested to see how this fight would play out. Let’s get it signed!
Sean Brady looked tremendous Saturday night dispatching veteran Jake Matthews. He seems to be unbelievably strong for the weight class and has a smothering top game on the canvas. That said, his striking looks to be a work in progress. He deserves a spot in the top fifteen and could well draw a big name in his next outing.
Next? Li Jinglang – The leach would be a good test for Brady and the winner would move up the ladder at welterweight. Jinglang has won two of three and it would be a good fight. Brady is a perfect 14-0 and a win over Jinglang would plant him firmly in the top ten.
Tim Elliott defeated Jordan Espinosa Saturday night and showed an absolute ability to wilt an opponent under his top game. It was his second victory in a row, and he finds himself ranked in the top fifteen at flyweight. He will be looking for someone ranked higher in his next fight.
Next? Kai Kara-France – France won on Saturday night, defeating Rogério Bontorin. A fight with Kara-France and Tim Elliott would be an absolute blast and provide the winner a solid spot inside the top ten. Both fighters have won two of their last three with their lone defeat both coming against Brandon Royval. Let’s see what happens if they go one on one.
Dominick Cruz has been on the shelf for a bit, but returned Saturday and defeated Casey Kenny. He didn’t look as sharp as he could, but he’s coming back from an absence and Casey had won three fights in a row.
Next? Pedro Munoz – This would be a fantastic fight between recent winners who are looking to climb the ladder at bantamweight. The title is currently tied up with a pending Aljamain Sterling/Petr Yan rematch. So it makes sense for Dominick Cruz to get another fight under his belt against Munhoz, who with a victory could land in the top five.
UFC 259 Main card – Who’s Got Next?
Rakic defeated Thiago Santos to kick off the PPV and looked a bit lackluster at times in doing so. An exciting, dominant performance could have propelled him up the rankings, but simply put, both men looked as if they weren’t in there to win, but rather, not to lose. Rakic is ranked in the top five, and as such will be getting another big-name fight next.
Next? Jiří Procházka – A top five competitor, Jiri defeated Volkan Oezdemir in his UFC debut. Granted, Prochazka is booked to compete against Dominick Reyes but win or lose, he’d be an interesting fight for Rakic. I’d say give Rakic the winner of Reyes/Prochazka but after his lackluster performance Saturday night, he might not deserve that.
Makhachev looked great defeating a game Drew Dober. He controlled the fight from start to finish and rather than cruising to a decision victory, he found an arm triangle in the third round and submitted Dober. To stop Dober is quite a feat, as he had won six of his previous seven and three in a row.
Next? Tony Ferguson – El Cucuy has lost two in a row but remains among the best and most highly ranked in the lightweight division. A fight with him and Makhachev could serve to boost the winner up the ladder and if Makhachev wins, it instantly establishes him as one of the best in the division.
We all know what happened Saturday night with Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan by now. Sterling is the new champion, after being fouled with an illegal knee by Yan. He was unable to continue and won backed into a world title.
Next? Petr Yan – Clearly this is the next fight for Sterling as the two will have to run this one back. Dana White stated at the post-fight press conference that this will be next and it makes sense for them to do so. That said, Yan’s foul was blatant and seemed completely intentional, so maybe he should fight another contender and earn his way back to the title?
At this point, the featherweight title should be retired and Amanda Nunes should be named the all-time champion. Let Dana White and company spend some cash on a gold belt with diamonds for Nunes and retire the belt. There are not contenders left for her. Not sure she isn’t the best fighter on earth 135 pounds and lighter.
Next? Germaine de Randamie – I mean, who knows at this point. It seems as if the only fighters to give her issues were Germaine de Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko. I honestly don’t think anyone beats here at this point, but you have to get her fights. de Randamie seems to make the most sense.
Blachowicz is the first man to defeat Isreal Adesanya, who couldn’t deal with the weight difference at UFC 259 and we out-wrestled in the championship rounds. Say what you will about Adesanya, but he was impressive in defeat and handled it like a champion. Blachowicz is suffering from a perceived lack of respect and even told Dana White when he gave him his belt Saturday night that Dana didn’t respect him. Bananas.
Next? Glover Teixeira – This one is pretty basic. Teixeira has earned a title shot, and this would be a very good fight between elite light heavyweights. Teixeira has won five in a row and has looked tremendous in doing so. This is a can’t miss fight that would likely be under the radar, but I’d be all in to see take place.