Matches To Make After UFC Vegas 26
UFC Vegas 26 went down last night (Sat., May 8, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a women’s Flyweight fight that saw Marina Rodriguez defeat Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (highlights here). In the co-headlining act, Alex Morono picked up a huge win after knocking out Donald Cerrone in the first round (see it here).
Winner: Marina Rodriguez
Who She Should Face Next: Mackenzie Dern
After taking out “Karate Hottie,” Rodriguez has her eyes set on a title fight against women’s Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. That fight simply won’t happen next because the winner of Esparza vs Xiaonan will likely get the next shot at the strap. For my money, a fight against Dern seems like the perfect fit. Dern is currently ranked one spot ahead of Rodriguez at No. 5 and is on a four fight win streak, having last defeated Nina Ansaroff just last month. The winner of the fight is certainly deserving of the next shot at the title.
Winner: Alex Morono
Who He Should Fight Next: Niko Price rematch
After earning an impressive knockout win over “Cowboy,” I would like to see Morono and Price run it back in a rematch that would be over four years in the making. Niko initially knocked Morono out in Feb. 2017, but that was was ruled a “No Contest” after Price failed a drug test for marijuana. Since then, both men’s careers have been up and down and neither man has failed to gain much consistency. Interestingly enough, their last wins both came against Cerrone, though Niko’s win was also ruled a “No Contest” after he failed another drug test. Plus I am sure Morono would love nothing more than to get revenge on “The Hybrid.”
Winner: Neil Magny
Who He Should Fight Next: Vicente Luque
Having competed 25 times in the UFC Welterweight division, there aren’t many people Magny has yet to cross paths with inside the Octagon. One of the few is Luque. The Brazilian is currently riding a three fight win streak and is ranked two spots ahead of Magny. Luque’s last three wins have come by way of stoppage, so he is likely looking for a higher-ranked foe in his next fight. But when you look at the 170-pound landscape right here, there isn’t much else that makes sense for either man.
Winner: Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Who He Should Fight Next: Michal Oleksiejczuk
Since 2014, de Lima has been alternating wins and losses in a streak spanning 11 fights. That simply won’t work if he wants to climb the ranks. Up next for the big man, I am feeling a fight against Oleksiejczuk who, like de Lima, hasn’t found much success so far inside the Octagon. He is 3-2-1 and recently snapped his two-fight losing streak by earning a big win against Modesta Bukauskas at UFC 260. These two big men aren’t going to be cracking the Top 15 anytime soon, so might as well throw down with one another to try to make up some ground.
Winner: Gregor Gillespie
Who He Should Fight Next: Dan Hooker
After suffering the first loss of his pro career against Kevin Lee, Gillespie came back strong in his bounce back fight to earn a win against Carlos Diego Ferreira via second round TKO. He also earned himself a sweet post-fight bonus of $100K. The 155-pound division is all over the place at the moment. Tony Ferguson (No. 5) will face Beneil Dariush (No. 9) while Conor McGregor (No. 6) will face (No. 1) Dustin Poirier a third time. Rafael dos Anjos (No. 7) and Islam Makhachev (No. 11) seem to be on a collision course, while Paul Felder (No. 10) doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to return to action. That leaves Dan Hooker (No. 8) as the best option for Gillespie. “The Hangman” is coming of two straight defeats so he is in no position to be asking for higher-ranked competition or to be turning down a good fight offer, and Gillespie — who could move up a spot or two in the rankings come next week — would be just that.
Winner: Phil Hawes
Who He Should Fight Next: Jun Yong Park
Hawes came up big against Kyle Daukaus, defeating him via unanimous decision to earn his seventh straight win, third inside the Octagon. Park, meanwhile, also won his third straight fight under the UFC banner, so how about booking the two up-and-coming Middleweight contender’s against one another? They have similar fighting experience, around the same age and they both have a ton of ground to cover before they can start sniffing a Top 15 ranking. Just keep the ball rolling for now is the game for both contenders, so this seems like a good fit.
For complete UFC Vegas 26 results and coverage click here.