UFC 252 went down last night (Sat., Aug. 15, 2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada which played host to a championship trilogy fight that saw Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, defeat Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision to put an end to their rivalry (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Marlon Vera picked up his biggest win to date after knocking out Sean O’Malley in the very first round (recap here).
Winner: Stipe Miocic
Who He Should Face Next: Francis Ngannou…not Jon Jones
Francis Ngannou has already stamped his ticket to his second shot at trying to dethrone Stipe Miocic after starching Jairzinho Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds. But current Light Heavyweight king, Jon Jones, came out of nowhere and tried to jump the line. And the fact that Dana White recently gave “Bones” an ultimatum to either give Dominick Reyes a rematch or move his behind up to the 265-pound division, Jones fighting Miocic is a very big possibility…or at least we thought it was. Indeed, Dana recently confirmed that Jones would not be jumping the line and Ngannou would be next. For now, “Bones” can either rematch Reyes or continue his sit-out and possibly face the winner of Miocic vs Ngannou 2.
Winner: Marlon Vera
Who He Should Fight Next: Merab Dvalishvili
Lost in all the madness following Vera’s knockout win over Sean O’Malley — as well as “Suga’s” unfortunate leg injury — is the fact that “Chito” has won six of his last seven fights, making him somewhat the dark horse in the Bantamweight division. He’s not loud, brash or flamboyant like many fighters so he doesn’t get a ton of eyes on him. But the man can scrap and he needs to start getting a bit more share of the spotlight and some bigger fights moving forward. When we look at the bottom half of the Top 15 there are a few interesting match ups for Vera. He just beat the No. 14 guy, recently lost to Song Yadong (No. 13), and John Dodson (No. 12), lost last night. Dominick Cruz is sitting at No. 11, though I highly think “The Dominator” would sign on for that fight based on pure name value alone. That leaves Merab Dvalishvili at No. 15. Merab defeated Dodson last night to score his fifth straight win. Afterward, he called out O’Malley but that’s a fight that won’t happen anytime soon for two obvious reasons. That being said, Vera vs Dvalishvili makes sense.
Winner: Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Who He Should Face Next: Let’s wait and see…
After Derrick Lewis knocked out Aleksei Oleinik at UFC on Vegas 6 last week (see it here), I called for a match up between “Black Beast” (No. 4) and Curtis Blaydes (No. 3). Rozenstruik’s knockout win over Junior dos Santos doesn’t change that thought process. That being said, “Bigi Boy” can’t look backward because taking on someone ranked behind him simply doesn’t make sense. So all Rozenstruik can do right now is wait to see if and when Blaydes and Lewis trade leather, and perhaps face the winner (or even the loser) of that fight.
Winner: Daniel Pineda
Who He Should Fight Next: John Makdessi
After six years away from UFC, Pineda returned to the Octagon to score a huge upset over Herbert Burns — who was on a five-fight win streak — via technical knockout (TKO). Despite the big win, it is still going to be a long road to travel for Pineda to get to the cream of the crop. Up next, a fight against a longtime veteran like Makdessi makes sense. “The Bull” recently had his three-fight win streak snapped by Francisco Trinaldo so he is looking to get back on track to avoid falling further behind. Pineda has improved vastly since his first stint with the promotion, so giving him seasoned vets like Makdessi is a good gauge to see just how much.
Winner: Merab Dvalishvili
Who He Should Face Next: See above
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