There were 85 minutes of fighting on the main card of UFC Vegas 24, with all five bouts going the distance. Three unanimous victories and two split decisions came from the judges on Saturday night. Now, let’s get into what could be next for the main card winners of UFC Vegas 24!
UFC Vegas 24 Main Event: Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum
Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker put on a stunning performance against Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC Vegas 24 main event. The Australian won every round, with all three judges awarding the fight to Whittaker 50-45. Gastelum put on a tough fight at times, and did land some nice strikes on occasions. The thing is, Whittaker’s striking was next level in comparison. He was so quick and direct with his jabs, and there was a couple of moments where Gastelum stumbled and was looking like he was nearly on his way out of the fight.
There can only be one option now for Whittaker, and it’s pretty much set in stone. The re-match against Israel Adesanya for the middleweight championship is a must. It’s been 18 months since they last met each other in the octagon, where Adesanya finished Whittaker by KO/TKO to win the belt at UFC 243.
Since then, Whittaker has looked even better. He’s been seriously impressive in his past three fights. Defeating Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, and now Gastelum too. In the last seven years, Adesanya is the only person to defeat Whittaker. So, it’s without a doubt, that rematch is what everyone wants to see. Maybe even now, this could be the most interesting matchup the UFC has to offer. A final word of credit to Gastelum for stepping in and still putting in all the hard work and effort he showed throughout the fight!
UFC Vegas 24 Co-Main Event: Andrei Arlovski vs Chase Sherman
This one could’ve gone either way, with Andrei Arlovski grabbing the win as all three judges scored the contest 29-28. The heavyweight contest got moved up to the co-main event on UFC Vegas 24, with Drakkar Klose picking up an injury before his showdown with Jeremy Stephens.
After being knocked out by Tom Aspinall, the victory over an up and comer like Sherman puts Arlovski in a nice position to potentially face a similar opponent next. There’s a couple of options we could see next for Arlovski before he starts exploring the opportunities of retirement, as he’s currently only 42 years old.
Don’Tale Mayes could be an option. He pulled out of his last scheduled bout against Tai Tuivasa, due to undisclosed reasons. When his issue is dealt with, a fight against Arlovski would be a good way to impress UFC President Dana White by beating a legend of the sport in Arlovski.
Another option could be Sergey Pavlovich, who hasn’t fought since 2019. Even a fight against the oldest fighter in the division Aleksei Oleinik, who is ranked #15 at 43 years of age. This could be on opportunity for Arlovski to get a ranked position back.
Somehow, we haven’t seen a fight between those two. Odd, considering the two have been around seemingly forever, with Olenik starting professionally in 1996, and Arlovski three years later.
UFC Vegas 24 Middleweight Bout: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Jacob Malkoun
It was the biggest victory of Jacob Malkoun’s career at UFC Vegas 24 over Abdul Razak Alhassan. It was a dominant performance from Malkoun, as he kept the fight on the ground for a majority of the fight, outdoing his opponent in what was essentially a grappling contest.
Malkoun was shocked by Phil Hawes in his first fight in the promotion at UFC 254, with Hawes finishing knocking him out in 18 seconds. At 25 years old, Malkoun is one of the youngest fighters in the division, and securing his first UFC win against Alhassan, he will be awarded with a decent fight as his next opponent.
Nassourdine Imavov would be an almost perfect matchup. A year in age difference between the two, whilst both hold records of 1-1 in the promotion. They’ve also both lost to Hawes. As Imavov lost to him via majority decision back at UFC Vegas 19. Two other options could be Dricus du Plessis, or Joaquin Buckley, Both still prospects in the middleweight division.
UFC Vegas 24 Catchweight Bout: Tracey Cortez vs Justine Kish
Tracey Cortez weighed in 0.5 pounds overweight in her bout against Justine Kish at UFC Vegas 24. Even though Cortez had to forfeit 20% of her purse, she came away with the split decision victory in a close contest. Cortez is now on a fire streak, of nine wins in a row, only losing her debut bout against Cheri Muraski in 2017.
Three wins in her first three appearances in the promotion may mean Cortez deserves a ranked opponent next. Taila Santos sits 12th in the rankings and was scheduled to fight Roxanne Modafferi at UFC on ESPN 24. However, Modafferi pulled out due to injury. The UFC hasn’t announced whether she will have a replacement for that event yet. It seems unlikely Cortez will step up and fight that soon, but if Santos doesn’t fight on May 8th, a future fight for the two could be in the works.
Other options if she doesn’t receive a ranked opponent, could be a fight against JJ Aldrich. She moved down to the flyweight division in her last fight when she beat Cortney Casey via a split decision. Molly “Meatball” McCann would be an interesting affair, with McCann desperate to bounce back to form after losing her last two fights.
UFC Vegas 24 Lightweight Bout: Luis Pena vs Alexander Munoz
In one of the three split decision victories at UFC Vegas 24, Luis Pena slightly out struck his opponent Alexander Munoz to edge the judges scorecard. Pena now holds a record of 5-3 in the UFC, the win against Munoz makes up for the submission loss against Khama Worthy in his previous bout.
Now he’s back on a one-fight win-streak, a stacked lightweight division leaves many options. At 27 years of age, Pena still has many fights ahead of him. An interesting option for his next fight would be if someone like David Teymur would return to the octagon to see if he can rejuvenate his career against Pena. Teymur last fought against Charles Oliveira in February 2019, and he was submitted by Oliveira in the second round.
A rematch against Worthy could be a possibility, as he needs to burst a spark back into his career, losing his last two previous bouts against Jamie Mullarkey and Ottman Azaitar. A final option could be a potential fight of the night contest. Marc Diakiese is the man, and he’s coming off a loss against Rafael Fiziev, which was a brutal affair! Pena probably needs two or three more convincing wins before he wants to face a ranked opponent, however.
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