Combat Sports

UFC 262: Matchmaking for the Main Card Winners

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UFC 262 is officially in the history books and what a night of amazing fights it was! We can now look forward to possible upcoming matchups for the main card winners coming off of such a monumental event. Let us play matchmaker and discuss the possibilities of what’s next for the athletes who came out on top this past Saturday night.

Edson Barboza

Barboza came into UFC 262 with everything to prove and in possibly his most important bout to date, he showed why he belongs with the featherweight elites. He put on an impressive display of kicks to both the leg and body. Coming into this fight, many were unsure how Barboza would deal with the relentless pressure of Shane Burgos but he managed perfectly. He would use lateral movement and devastating calf kicks to stop “Hurricane” in his tracks and then when he finally managed to put the pressure on himself, he showed improved, crisp boxing which ultimately led to the KO/TKO victory.

After such an impressive performance at UFC 262, we can look at the division and see that Barboza has lots of options for his next bout. Let us discuss which matchups make the most sense!

Arnold Allen is currently on a 10 fight win streak and is possibly only a few wins away from a title fight, a matchup for these two could not only be a fight of the year candidate but could also propel the winner straight into title contention. Both men have similar styles however, Allen uses his hands the same way Barboza uses his kicks. Either man could be undeniable for a shot at gold if victorious and it would surely be an amazing technical standup war.

Calvin Kattar is still taking time off since his last time out against Max Holloway and after Barboza’s UFC 262 victory, a Muay Thai vs boxing style matchup could really favor him and put him one step closer to the title. Kattar has Boston bombs that could be perfect counters to Barboza’s devastating leg kicks making this matchup incredibly intriguing.

Josh Emmett shares a win with Barboza in their last time out, this matchup is perfect for the division and with both having faced the immense pressure of Shane Burgos, we can be sure that these men will be more than prepared for each other. Going forward, many matchups make sense but with these two athletes showcasing incredible performances, this bout is what makes the most sense for the division.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – MAY 15: Shane Burgos defends a punch from Edson Barboza of Brazil during their featherweight bout at the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Katlyn Chookagian

A controversial decision win at UFC 262 has put Chookagian in a strange position. With a champion as decorated and seemingly undefeatable as Valentina Shevchenko, it is hard to matchmake for anyone in the division. Chookagian does have a few names she can face but it seems inevitable that she will jump right back into a title shot sooner or later. Rematches look to be the only way forward for the “Blonde Fighter”.

Alexa Grasso is currently ranked number ten in the flyweight division and a match against Chookagian makes a lot of sense in the division. Both women want to be champion but “Blonde Fighter” has to really show how good she is to even be in the conversation for a title rematch, whereas Grasso is putting together an impressive resume and with a win over Chookagian she could be one of the next fighters in line to challenge for the throne.

Rogerio Bontorin

UFC 262 gave Bontorin a chance to show a more calm and calculated version of the flyweight than we ever knew before. The feints and explosions led to an impressive decision victory and with the position he is in at the moment, there are plenty of matchups that make sense for him. Let us discuss one in particular.

Brandon Royval seems to be next in line for Bontorin and with him coming off of a loss to title contender Brandon Moreno, the winner of this matchup could be next in line for the title. UFC 262 really put this contender in the spotlight and with an impressive new composure in his game, Bontorin could be fighting for a belt sooner rather than later.

Beneil Dariush

UFC 262 was truly Dariush’s time to shine and with the performance, he put on against one of the lightweight division’s greatest competitors, it is safe to say that a title shot is not far off in the future. Dariush is a couple of weeks out from the birth of his child so we most likely won’t see him until the end of the year to early next year but with such domination against a former interim champion, we now have one fight to make for the rising contender.

Rafael Dos Anjos is ranked number seven in the lightweight division and is coming off of an impressive decision win against Paul Felder. Dariush will be out for a while so instead of giving him Chandler or the loser of Dustin vs Conor, RDA is the perfect comeback fight and it keeps both men in title contention, however, the only problem with this is the unpredictability of the lightweight division between now and December.

Charles Oliveira

UFC 262 gave us our new lightweight champion and what an amazing performance from “Do Bronx”, he faced huge controversy in the first round and made the perfect adjustments to come out in the second and put Chandler to sleep. So, what’s next for the newly crowned king? Let us take a look.

Justin Gaethje makes sense for both the winner and loser of UFC 262’s main event. Relentless pressure and tremendous power give “The Highlight” a chance to shine in a performance against either man from Saturday night’s main event. The UFC was keen on originally booking Chandler vs Gaethje but the fight ultimately fell through. So, now is the perfect time to throw the former interim titleholder back into contention!

Dustin Poirer vs Conor McGregor is set for July 10th at UFC 264 and will put the winner in a number one contender spot for the champion. Oliveira seems keen to face McGregor but with Poirier ahead of him, “Do Bronx’s” next opponent is hard to predict. We can look forward to some possible new contenders and maybe even a title defense or two before the year ends with an exciting time ahead in the lightweight division. Thank you for joining me in this matchmaking for the UFC 262 main card winners!

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