Who should the UFC Vegas 25 losers of the main card fight next? Jiri Prochazka pulled off one of the best knockouts of the year with a spinning back elbow against Dominick Reyes, while Giga Chikadze earned the biggest win of his career against Cub Swanson. Here are my thoughts on what the future may hold for the five fighters who lost on the main card on Saturday.
Merab Dvalishvili had arguably his best performance to date on Saturday, defeating Cody Stamann by unanimous decision. Stamann remains the 13th ranked bantamweight, but with this loss, he will likely have to play gatekeeper in his next matchup, having lost two straight fights.
Casey Kenney is a possible option for Stamann. Kenney had been on a tear, winning three straight, prior to losing to Dominick Cruz in March. However, the pick that I’m going with for Stamann is Ricky Simon. Simon has all the momentum in the world at the moment, having won three straight, including two wins in 2021. With Simon right outside the top 15, this matchup between wrestlers would make a ton of sense.
Sean Strickland continued his stretch of dominance, defeating Krzysztof Jotko in a striking match by unanimous decision. Jotko arguably won the third round but could never get anything going in the first two rounds. Coming in just outside the top 15, Jotko will likely face an unranked rising contender in his next matchup.
Gerald Meerschaert, who is coming off of a first-round win against Bartosz Fabinski, would make sense for Jotko. However, the pick that I’m with for Jotko is Julian Marquez. Marquez, a fan favorite, is 2-0 in 2021 and on the rise in the Middleweight division. With Jotko just outside the top 15, this fight would make a ton of sense for both guys in a bout that could easily win a Fight of the Night honor.
Ion Cutelaba vs Dustin Jacoby
After Ion Cutelaba dominated round one, Dustin Jacoby was able to survive, and arguably won the final two rounds in a fight that resulted in a split draw. With neither guy winning, let’s play matchmaker for both Cutelaba and Jacoby.
For Ion Cutelaba, Alonzo Menifield would be a fun matchup to watch. Both guys are explosive strikers, with finishing rates of 93% and 100%, respectively. With Menifield coming off a win where he executed the rare Von Flue choke against Fabio Cherant, this fight would be almost guaranteed to result in a finish.
For Dustin Jacoby, Michal Oleksiejczuk would be an intriguing matchup. Jacoby had been on the rise, winning two straight in the UFC coming into Saturday, and taking the fight with Cutelaba on short notice. Oleksiejczuk is a knockout artist who recently defeated Modestas Bakauskas by split decision at UFC 260. This matchup presents an exciting matchup between strikers with knockout power.
Giga Chikadze earned the biggest win of his career on Saturday against Cub Swanson, shutting Cub down only 63 seconds into the bout with a massive kick to the liver. Swanson had been on a winning streak and ranked, but now finds himself outside the top 15 after the loss at Featherweight.
At age 37 and coming off of a loss, Swanson will likely have to play gatekeeper to a rising contender in his next fight. Jared Gordon is the option that would make the most sense for Cub Swanson. Gordon has gone 3-1 in his last four and is 2-0 since moving down to Featherweight, most recently beating Danny Chavez. Weight is a concern for Gordon, who missed by four pounds in his most recent fight. However, if he can get that under control, Gordon should be next for Cub Swanson.
In one of the best fights of 2021 so far, Jiri Prochazka pulled off one of the best knockouts of the year, knocking Dominick Reyes out cold with a spinning back elbow. Many people, including myself, believe that Reyes defeated Jon Jones in February of 2020. However, Reyes now finds himself on a three-fight losing streak and will likely fight a lower-ranked opponent the next time we see him.
Magomed Ankalaev, who is on a six-fight winning streak, and ranked seventh at Light Heavyweight, could make sense for Reyes. However, the pick that I’m going with for Reyes is Anthony Smith. Smith was arguably fighting for his UFC career after two awful losses heading into last November. However, after a first-round triangle choke of Devin Clark and TKO-Doctor’s stoppage win against Jimmy Crute, Smith is back on the rise. In what could be a future main event, this matchup between veterans in Reyes and Smith would be fun to watch.
What’s the matchups you’d like to see made for the UFC Vegas 25 losers? Let us know down in the comments below!
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