UFC 259 was the biggest card of the year so far, with a great early prelim and prelims that can main event fight nights in their own right, the whole night was filled with some great martial arts.Here we look at a few matches that need to be booked for some of the winners of last nights bouts
Riding a two fight winning streak and a draw against Brandon Moreno before that, Askarov entered this fight with a number three next to him and undefeated record as well.While Joseph Benavidez is coming off one of the most one-sided title fights that the sport has ever seen but he wanted to right that wrong and not be labeled as a “gatekeeper” of the division.Throughout the fight Benavidez couldn’t catch Askarov and many believed if he had a chance it would be in the stand up but Askarov’s improved stand up game gave him issue and his wrestling did as well.Askarov out struck and utilized his wrestling to deliver an unanimous decision victory (30-27 x2, 30-26). His next fight should come against the winner of Figueiredo vs Moreno coming later this year.
Next fight: Deiveson Figueiredo OR Brandon Moreno
Coming off his UFC 249 loss against Henry Cejudo and subsequent decision to fight unranked Casey Kenney many thought if this was a risk worth taking, but Cruz felt like this was his best way to get ready for the rest of the division because he knows it’s changing.Kenney was feeling good after winning three straight and took this huge step up in competition without second thought. This was a back and forth affair with both having their moments.Cruz looked as sharp as ever but had issues that were similar to the ones against Cejudo but used another gear to outpoint Kenney and win a split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27).After the fight he called out Hans Molenkamp for charity, which is great but won’t do anything for him in the UFC. The best matchup for Cruz to get back to a title fight would be against former 155 champion #7 Frankie Edgar.A dream fight that many fans have wanted for years and now is time to do it. With Edgar coming off a loss at UFC Fight Night 184 back on February due to a vicious KO, this would be for the best for both fighters.
Next Fight: Frankie Edgar
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When #2 Thiago Santos and #4 Aleksandar Rakić were announced, many believed that this fight wasn’t going to need the judges and that one of these men would get finished.The fight turned out to be the complete opposite, a more technical affair that saw both men utilize their defense mostly.Santos looked very nervous to close in and engage and that could be because of the multiple injuries from his knee or because Rakić was more powerful than he thought.This fight was mostly contested on the feet where there was similar striking numbers but Rakić’s strikes looked like they caused more of the damage. This led to a split decision victory.With #1 Glover Teixeira already lined up to for the next Light Heavyweight title fight, Rakić next logical opponent would be the winner of #3 Dominick Reyes vs. #5 Jiri Prochazka who are fighting in May. And the winner of that would stake claim for a title shot.
Next Fight: Dominick Reyes OR Jiri Prochazka
After three cancelled fights in 2020, Islam Makhachev walked in the octagon to prove a point and show that he is top Lightweight material.His opponent Drew Dober was coming off three wins in a row himself and looked in top form in all those fights but that didn’t make a difference.With Khabib in his corner, his relentless wrestling and control on the ground to subsequent arm-triangle choke in the 3rd did prove that he is someone to be reckoned with in the 155 division.He called for a big name in his post fight interview, Tony Ferguson to be in fact but Ferguson has his eyes set on bigger names as of right now but a man without an opponent right now is #11 Kevin Lee who is almost ready to go after tearing is ACL last year.A win against a big name like Lee will warrant a top 5 fighter but Lee has championship experience and won’t be an easy task.
Next Fight: Kevin Lee
This fight had it all, high intensity, face paced, technical, and most importantly drama. Billed as a can’t miss fight, Sterling came out like a rocket and swarmed Petr Yan for the first two rounds with constant pressure and going for takedowns as well.But the 3rd and 4th round saw Sterling slow down considerable and that allowed Yan to take over but in the 4th, after a sequence of striking Sterling was on the floor and had a knee down.Yan landed an illegal knee to a downed fighter with meant he got disqualified and Sterling walked out with the belt. Not much needs to be said, this one has to be run back unless an injury or another unforeseen circumstance gets in the way this is the fight to make.
Next Fight: Petr Yan
The greatest female fighter of all time prove against why she is the greatest to do it. Megan Anderson posed a threat a real treat due to her being a real 145er and has real power as well.But none of that meant anything, Anderson didn’t do anything offensively that posed a threat but as soon as Nunes landed it was over.Rocked, Anderson went for a desperate takedown but was unsuccessful and ended up on the bottom where shortly after Nunes locked up a triangle armor for the victory 2:03 into the 1st round.She has cleaned out the Featherweight division and most if not all the Bantamweight division too. We all know that there’s only one person who she needs to fight and that’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko who had 2 close fights with Nunes that many believe she won.
Next Fight: Valentina Shevchenko
Israel Adesanya came onto this fight seeking elite status as only the 5th dual-champion in UFC history and Jan Błachowicz came into this fight to prove he is the very best Light Heavyweight and one of the best in the UFC too.This fight was a back and fourth affair where both were fainting, striking and kicking in a very technical way. But one of the biggest storylines was the wrestling of Błachowicz and how he would be able to utilize is.And he did in the 4th and 5th, where he controlled Adesanya and did not let him up, using his black-belt in BJJ to deny anything that Adesanya was trying. After 5 rounds of an amazing fight, Błachowicz won via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45 x2).Glover Teixeira was a backup to this fight and has earned his shot to the title after wining 5 straight.
Next Fight: Glover Teixeira
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