Fights to Make After UFC 256

The final UFC pay-per-view luckily went off more soundly than some other events as of late, and it brought the heat. We witnessed some great finishes and a main event to remember!

Afterwards, we’re stuck asking ourselves… what’s next for the victors? Well I’m here to try to play matchmaker for our main card winners and see what fights could (and should) be on the horizon!

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno 2 (FLW)

The main event saw the champ and number one contender throw down in one of the best fights of this year, and most certainly the best fight in this division’s history. Figueiredo and Moreno both brought it, and the champ would have earned a unanimous decision if not for an illegal shot to Moreno’s genitals. After such an epic throw down and a non-conclusive ending, it would be a legitimate crime to not book this rematch. 

Charles Oliveira vs. McGregor/Poirier Winner (LW)

Charles Oliveira completely dominated former interim champion Tony Ferguson across three rounds to score a one-sided decision win. Oliveira’s elite grappling was on full display and left no doubts that he has truly reached the prime of his athletic career. Though the divisional title picture is kind of in a logjam with Khabib’s retirement, many believe the bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is essentially a title eliminator. If Khabib does indeed decline to return to the Octagon, I would love to see Oliveira fight for the vacant title opposite the winner of UFC 257.

Mackenzie Dern vs. Claudia Gadelha (SW)

Mackenzie Dern and Virna Jandiroba came in for a scrap, as both the talented grapplers threw down on the feet. Though Dern had the more aggressive jiu jitsu, she found herself unable to get past her opponent’s wrestling. Because of that, we saw the improvements Dern is making in her striking game, with a polished jab and serious power in her hands. For her next bout, I think veteran Claudia Gadelha is a fantastic challenge. Gadelha was most recently seen on the wrong side of a decision opposite Yan Xiaonan, interrupting her two fight winning streak. Now 5-1 in the UFC, Dern has been making quick steps forward and the battle-tested Gadelha represents a step up in competition to test her future in the UFC.

Kevin Holland vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (MW)

Kevin Holland became just the second fighter in the UFC to score a knockout punch off of their back by stopping Jacare Souza in the first round. Holland’s hyperactivity and unorthodox style, as well as charismatic personality, have made him one of the stars of 2020 and continued activity will only further that. Though I liked Holland’s callout of Chimaev, Khamzat is currently booked to compete on January 20th opposite Leon Edwards and I doubt he will jeopardize that with such a short-notice appearance. Then again, this is 2020. Currently ranked at #11, Edmen Shahbazyan has not competed since an August defeat to Derek Brunson. Prior to that, he was on the fast track to stardom, earning two devastating finishes. This bout provides Shahbazyan with somewhat of a name to build upon while also giving Holland a shot to work up the rankings.

Cyril Gane vs. Alexander Volkov (HW)

After a lengthy forced layoff, Cyril Gane returned to the Octagon with a second-round knockout of Junior Dos Santos. He used his technical kicks and movement to pick apart the veteran from kickboxing range, catapulting himself into the Heavyweight division’s top ten. I think a bout with Alexander Volkov would be fantastic. The Russian striker recently finished Walt Harris to get back on the winning track and this clash of strikers would undoubtedly be fantastic.

 

We have some fun potential bouts to make, so here’s hoping 2021 can see some come to fruition!

Next week, our final event of 2020 will go down, as we have a colossal 15-fight card headlined with a striking clash between Stephen Thompson and Geoff Neal!

 

 

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