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Matchmaking For the UFC Vegas 26 Main Card Winners

The main card of UFC Vegas 26 brought us six bouts, with four going the distance, leaving us with the treat of two TKO victories. A women’s flyweight scrap between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson headlined the event, with Donald Cerrone facing Alex Morono in the co-main. It was an interesting event, with plenty of things in store for the future of the UFC Vegas 26 main card winners.

UFC Vegas 26 Main Event: Marina Rodriguez Def. Michelle Waterson via Unanimous Decision

The pair normally compete at strawweight, but this time they had to throw down in the flyweight division, due to them both stepping up on short notice. Rodriguez was the stronger fighter, and she was awarded the unanimous decision victory with two judges scoring the bout 49-46 and one judge 48-47.

Rodriguez mentioned the possibility of competing against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her post-fight interview stating: “Joanna is a fight that I’ve always been looking forward (to having) and I think the fans are, too. If she’s back and considering fighting again, I would be more than willing to fight her.”

With Yan Xiaonan and Carla Esparza already lined up to face each other, that doesn’t leave many options for Rodriguez, as it’s too soon for her to fight for the title. Stylistically, Jedrzejczyk vs Rodriguez would be a quality matchup and it should be the fight to make. Another option could be Mackenzie Dern, who is fifth-ranked in the strawweight division (one place above Rodriguez), and had a fantastic submission win over Nina Ansaroff.

UFC Vegas 26 Co-Main Event: Alex Morono Def. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone via TKO (Punches)

Morono stepped in on short notice to replace Diego Sanchez and face Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26. Morono potentially put in the best performance of his career, as he outclassed Cerrone on the feet and finished him inside the first round. Morono has been in the UFC for over five years and his career has been a mixture of defeats and victories, but he certainly put out a message to his doubters in his performance over Cerrone.

Matchmaking for Morono is a tough one, if he’s looking for a ranked fighter, the only realistic option would be another veteran and that’s Robbie Lawler. We haven’t seen Lawler fight since his fourth defeat in a row to Neil Magny in August of 2020. He was meant to face Mike Perry in November of 2020, however, Lawler pulled out due to an injury. Seeing these two go head-to-head in the octagon could be a brilliant striking matchup.

There are still fighters in the welterweight division who are coming off victories and will be looking for fights soon. The Dane Nicolas Dalby is getting on in age at 36-years-old and is coming off a victory against Daniel Rodriguez back in November of 2020. A re-match with Niko Price would be interesting to see, after Price knocked out Morono in 2017, but the bout was changed to a no-contest after Price tested positive for marijuana.

UFC Vegas 26 Welterweight Bout: Neil Magny Def. Geoff Neal via Unanimous Decision

Magny put on an impressive showing as an underdog when he beat Geoff Neal via unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 26. We all witnessed Neal tiring throughout the fight, which led to Magny producing more strikes in the later rounds, while also landing one more takedown than his opponent, which could’ve leaned the judges his way.

Straight after the fight, UFC prospect Khamzat Chimaev responded to Magny’s victory on his social media stating in the tweet below:

Magny and Chimaev have been involved in altercations over social media previously and after an impressive win over Neal, this fight is looking more likely than ever to be set up in the near future.

UFC Vegas 26 Heavyweight Bout: Marcos Rogerio de Lima Def. Maurice Greene via Unanimous Decision

Marcos Rogerio de Lima put in a dominant showing over Maurice Greene, which earned him his seventh UFC career win in his 13 bouts with the promotion. At 35 years of age, de Lima should be looking to get back into action this year if he wants to form a challenge on the ranked opponents in the heavyweight division.

With many of the heavyweights booked up, there are a few options de Lima could face next. 37-year-old Jarjis Danho could be a good option, he knocked out Yorgan de Castro inside the first round at UFC Vegas 23 last month. Sergey Spivak is another name who is currently on a two-fight win-streak after knocking out Jared Vanderaa in February.

UFC Vegas 26 Catchweight Bout (160.5lb): Gregor Gillespie Def. Carlos Diego Ferreira via TKO (Punches)

Gregor Gillespie put on a brutal showing in the second round against Carlos Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 26. The bout was fought at catchweight after Ferreira weighed in 4.5 pounds over the lightweight limit. The first-round was close, but Gillespie took advantage in the second to completely dominate Ferreira on the ground and finish him with punches until the referee called a halt.

Gillespie has a few options in the lightweight division for his next fight. His only loss came against Kevin Lee at UFC 244, and it’s unlikely we will see a rematch for that one anytime soon. Gillespie will more than likely face a higher-ranked opponent than Lee, and the dangerous Islam Makhachev could be an option. We would see some fantastic wrestling between the pair and it would be something the fans would be looking forward to watching in this exciting lightweight division.

Even the likes of Dan Hooker and Rafael Dos Anjos could be potential options for Gillespie in his next bout. Any of these fights are exciting contests and Gillespie showed last night that he is a dark horse in the 155-pound division.

UFC Vegas 26 Middleweight Bout: Phil Hawes Def. Kyle Daukaus via Unanimous Decision

The easiest matchmake of UFC Vegas 26 comes here, as we already have a bout announced for Phil Hawes. The American was double-booked and is scheduled to face Deron Winn on July 17th for UFC Fight Night 192.

Hawes is undefeated in the promotion so far, winning all three fights since joining in 2020. Winn is 2-2 in the UFC, he was victorious in his previous bout against Antonio Arroyo at UFC Vegas 17, winning by unanimous decision.

Do you agree with the potential matchups from UFC Vegas 26? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @JakeBroderick98 for more combat sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Don’t forget OTHeroicsMMA for all things MMA.

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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