Wow! UFC 239 did NOT disappoint. This card was full of everything you want to see as a fan: epic finishes, high volume action, and upsets. Some fighters took one step closer to the top, while others came up short. Here are some ideas on what can be next in line for the main card winners and losers.
Michael Chiesa vs Diego Sanchez
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that Chiesa dominated from start to finish. He is the younger, fresher fighter and his ground game was too much for the aging Sanchez. Chiesa has looked very sharp since moving up to welterweight and is now 2-0 at 170. In his post-fight interview he said he doesn’t care who he fights next, as long as they are a ranked opponent: “This time I’m going to let the UFC do their job. I’m going to let them pick the matchup, but if you got a number next to your name I’m ready, I don’t care who you are.” A fight that makes sense is Neil Magny (#13 ranked WW). After having to pull out of UFC Rochester, Magny is in need of a new fight. Coming off a loss last November against Santiago Ponzinibbio (#9), Magny should face someone outside of the top fifteen. Chiesa is a perfect match, as a win over Magny would surely help him crack the rankings. As for Sanchez, he should face a young fighter looking to prove themselves. His days as a contender are over, but his passion to fight is still there. Some names that come to mind are Randy Brown, Bryan Barberena, and Niko Price.
Jan Blachowicz vs Luke Rockhold
Jan Blachowicz gave Luke Rockhold a rude welcoming to the light-heavyweight division. Like always, Rockhold came into this fight very confident and cocky. Blachowicz did not buy into any of the hype and actually broke Rockhold’s jaw when he knocked him out cold in the second round. During the post-fight press conference, Dana White said he thinks Rockhold shoud retire: “He’s had a good career, he’s been a great fighter…I’d like to see him hang it up.” I fully agree with White. He is now 1-3 in his last four fights, with three vicious knockouts. This is the second time he broke his jaw, and has dealt with more injuries throughout his career. Blachowicz (#6 ranked LHW) finds himself right back in the title picture. His next opponent should be Dominick Reyes (#4). This would be a very exciting title eliminator, as they are both a win or two away from getting their shot at gold.
Jorge Masvidal vs Ben Askren
If you blinked you might’ve missed this fight. Masvidal’s stunning five second flying knee knockout left everyone speechless. He deserves to fight Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship. This is his second straight upset victory over a top five ranked opponent. He has been in the UFC for a while now, and his time has come. Askren should fight Robbie Lawler again. There was way too much controversy after his victory over Lawler at UFC 235. Nothing else makes sense to me. Even if Lawler beats Colby Covington at UFC Newark, he won’t be next in line for the championship. We all need to see this rematch.
Amanda Nunes vs Holly Holm
Amanda Nunes is the best female fighter to ever live. After knocking out Holm, she has now cleared every top female fighter available. She told Joe Rogan in the post-fight octagon interview that she wants to defend her featherwieght title: “I definitely want to defend my 145 belt, and lets see I’m going to talk to Dana.” This has to mean the winner of Cyborg vs Felicia Spencer will get the next chance at Nunes. Holm is slowly coming to the end of her career, but has some gas left in the tank. She should get a rematch with Germaine de Randamie. You can make an argument that she was robbed of a win when they fought at UFC 208, so she definitely deserves to get that one back.
Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos almost shocked the world with one leg. It’s upsetting that he got injured early on in the fight, and a rematch make sense…but not right now. Whenever he is healed up, Santos should face anyone inside of the top ten. After an impressive performance, he will not drop down that much in the rankings. He needs a bounce back win over a top ranked opponent to get his second chance at the belt. Jones should fight the winner of Cormier vs Miocic. When asked if he would fight the winner of UFC 241 he said: “Absolutely…me and Dana we are both speaking the same thing. It’s going to be a superfight…when the UFC is ready for the fight, they know they have two guys that are willing and able.” He might very well be the greatest mixed martial artist we have ever seen, and he would only help his claim by moving up and becoming a two division champ.
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