NEW YORK – After each occasion, followers marvel whom the winners will likely be matched up with subsequent.
With one other night time of UFC motion within the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead, placed on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s footwear, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 244’s key successful fighters.
These included Jorge Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC), who defeated Nate Diaz (20-12 MMA, 15-10 UFC) by third-round TKO to win the “BMF” title in the primary occasion at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York, in addition to Darren Until (18-2-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC), Stephen Thompson (15-4-1 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC), Derrick Lewis (22-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC), Kevin Lee (18-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC), Corey Anderson (13-Three MMA, 10-Three UFC), Edmen Shahbazyan (11-Zero MMA, 4-Zero UFC) and Katlyn Chookagian (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC).
* * * *
Ought to battle: Valentina Shevchenko
Why they need to battle: In what was seemingly a title eliminator within the girls’s flyweight division, Chookagian received her hand raised in opposition to Jennifer Maia by unanimous resolution in a comparatively uneventful affair.
The win was most vital, although, as a result of every one in every of them counts in a skinny 125-pound division. Chookagian vs. champion Shevchenko (18-Three MMA, 7-2 UFC) isn’t a battle individuals will likely be dashing to the field workplace to throw down their money for, nevertheless it’s a serviceable battle given the state of the load class.
Chookagian believes she has the balanced placing assault and grappling expertise to offer Shevchenko issues. Many will disagree, however she is perhaps given the prospect to show her price.
Ought to battle: Derek Brunson
Why they need to battle: Shahbazyan proved simply how legit he’s when he did one thing present middleweight champion Israel Adesanya couldn’t do: cease Brad Tavares inside the gap.
Not solely did Shahbazyan put Tavares away, however he obliterated the Hawaiian inside one spherical, ending the job with a crushing head kick. He declared in his post-fight interview that he’s the “new contender” at 185 kilos, and with an undefeated report at simply 21, he may very effectively be proper.
Shahbazyan with out query deserves an upper-tier title within the division, and Brunson (20-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC) would definitely be a very good take a look at. Brunson has confronted most of the finest fighters the load class has to supply, and if Shahbazyan might placed on an identical efficiency as he did in opposition to Tavares, he’d immediately be shot towards the highest of the load class.
Ought to battle: Jon Jones
Why they need to battle: A title shot might lastly be on the horizon for Anderson after his surprisingly fast TKO of Johnny Walker to maneuver his successful streak to 4.
At this level the subsequent battle for gentle heavyweight champ Jones (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) seems to be a two-horse race between Anderson and Dominick Reyes. The resume of Anderson is healthier, however there’s undoubtedly an enchantment round Reyes’ undefeated report.
Anderson mentioned post-fight that he wished to be launched from the UFC if he doesn’t get the chance to battle for the belt subsequent. Along with his newly profane demeanor, the promotion ought to oblige to his calls for.
Ought to battle: Islam Makhachev
Why they need to battle: Lee introduced his arrival again to the light-weight division in essentially the most devastating of fashions when he took away Gregor Gillespie’s undefeated report with an all-time head kick knockout within the first spherical.
It was simply the third end by way of strikes of Lee’s profession, however by far essentially the most spectacular, particularly given the hype round Gillespie coming into the bout. Now that hype is again round Lee, who regardless of having a storied UFC profession already, remains to be simply 27 and has good time forward of him within the sport.
Lee doesn’t need to take any simple fights as he tries to climb to the highest of the light-weight division, and there’s many arduous ones on the market. One title who referred to as Lee out after the knockout was Makhachev (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC), who has been doing spectacular issues in his personal proper.
Each males have wished the matchup previously. Now it’s time to make it occur for them.
Ought to battle: Alistair Overeem
Why they need to battle: After a much-needed break from competitors to get knee surgical procedure, Lewis got here again to the octagon to get a top quality break up resolution win over Blagoy Ivanov, who took an ungodly quantity of punishment from “The Black Beast” over three rounds.
The win snapped a two-fight skid for Lewis and served as a reminder he’s nonetheless a participant at heavyweight. He might push that time house even additional, although, if he decides to make a fast turnaround in opposition to Overeem (45-17 MMA, 10-6 UFC) subsequent month.
Overeem is presently with out an opponent for the UFC on ESPN 7 headliner subsequent month in Washington after Walt Harris dropped out of the battle because of the continued seek for his lacking stepdaughter. There’s not a ton of excellent choices for replacements, however Lewis has now positioned himself as a candidate. It’s only a matter of whether or not he’s prepared to make the fast turnaround to avoid wasting the day.
Ought to battle: Demian Maia
Why they need to battle: Thompson proved that at 37, he nonetheless has so much left within the tank when he ended Vicente Luque’s successful streak with an thrilling unanimous resolution win within the “Struggle of the Evening.”
There was official questions on the place “Wonderboy” stood in his profession after dropping by knockout for the primary time in his profession in opposition to Anthony Pettis in March. He confirmed that wasn’t the top for him, although, and now Thompson is as soon as once more in place to get a giant battle at 170 kilos.
Maia (28-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC), who’s coming off a submission win over Ben Askren at UFC on ESPN+ 20 only a week previous to Thompson’s victory, is an opponent who stands out among the many bunch. The Brazilian has a vastly totally different model to Thompson, and it will be fascinating to see how the stylistic matchup between former title challengers would play out.
Ought to battle: Robert Whittaker
Why they need to battle: Until made a significant impression in his middleweight debut when he scored a break up resolution win over one of many high contenders in Kelvin Gastelum.
It wasn’t essentially the most thrilling of fights. Nevertheless, it was essential for Until’s profession after back-to-back stoppage losses brought about him to maneuver up a weight class. Now he has a brand new lease on life at 185 kilos, and it’ll be curious to see if he can attain a title battle like he did at welterweight.
Until mentioned he introduced a knee damage into the battle, and it stays to be seen how lengthy that retains him out. If he’s prepared for the primary quarter of 2020, although, there are rumors the UFC plans to go to New Zealand in February, and a matchup between Until and former UFC champ Whittaker (20-5 MMA, 11-Three UFC) could be very logical, who needs to rebound after dropping the belt to Israel Adesanya. It might look like a fast step for Until in simply his second battle within the weight class, however that’s what he put himself in place for by beating Gastelum.
Ought to battle: Winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington at UFC 245
Why they need to battle: Watch the video above to see why Masvidal ought to battle the winner of the UFC 245 welterweight title battle between Usman (15-1 MMA, 10-Zero UFC) and Covington (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) subsequent.