UFC 265 was a card with an action-packed preliminary card and a main card that lived up to the hype capped off by Ciryl Gane capturing France’s first UFC championship. Houston’s own Derrick Lewis came up short and could be in heavyweight purgatory, but several other fighters on the main card may have some fun matchups ahead.
Obviously, Gane will be facing Francis Ngannou next as the interim champion but what about the rest of the card?
We had fighters calling out celebrities while others did the age-old classic “whoever the UFC wants to put in front of me…”.
These fighters have matchups that make sense for them coming out of UFC 265 and they have the potential to be fan-friendly if made.
Rafael Fiziev vs. Brad Riddell
Despite his best efforts post-fight, I don’t see a fight against Hasbulla in Fiziev’s future despite the call-out at UFC 265. What I do see is a potential fight of the night and fight of the year against Brad Riddell.
Fiziev had a super fun fight against Bobby Green but he was gassed a little in the last round. Despite that, he got the win and is now on a four-fight win streak and it is time to test him against a ranked fighter. Riddell is coming off his own fight of the year candidate in a decision win over Drew Dober and finds himself ranked in the top-15 after his own win streak. Make this fight before the year is out so the winner has all of 2022 to continue a climb up the ranks and the loser has plenty of time to bounce back if need be.
Tecia Torres vs. Carla Esparza
Torres asked for Dana White post-fight to give her someone in the top five and somehow these two girls have avoided each other in their official professional careers, so why not?
Both were on the Ultimate Fighter together that saw them face off in that season’s quarterfinals where Esparza got a split decision win against her. Both ladies have a fun, action-paced style and with Esparza’s wrestling continuing to evolve and become more of a weapon I think this could be a critical test for both. This could be a fight of the night contender and would also allow for one to emerge as a true contender for Rose Namajunas.
Vicente Luque vs. Kamaru Usman-Colby Covington Winner
The former Blackzillian Vicente Luque was nearly finished in round one by a rear-naked choke before transitioning to a brilliant d’arce choke that he has made his signature move.
Post-fight he called out his former teammate and current champion of the division Kamaru Usman to which Usman responded on Twitter.
You looked great my man we might be dancing soon 👏🏿👊🏿 #ufc265
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) August 8, 2021
The division is nearly cleared out from Usman’s dominance but Luque presents a unique challenge, similar to what Gilbert Burns did, but Luque’s striking has also looked a lot better. If Colby Covington wins the fight though against Usman then you get the revenge angle, as Luque would look to avenge Usman, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Jose Aldo vs. Cory Sandhagen
T.J. Dillashaw is what makes the most sense for Aldo but with his injuries being what they are I think this is a fun consolation prize for Aldo and a fun fight for the fans.
Sandhagen has an aggressive style and comes forward often, almost like Pedro Munhoz, and we saw this version of Aldo can handle that when he beat Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265. Both Aldo and Sandhagen are looking for a title shot and a win for either could lock that down for them, it also works out perfectly timing-wise with both men fighting within a couple of weeks of each other so the UFC needs to and should make this happen.
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