Who should the UFC Vegas 27 winners on the main card fight next? Rob Font earned the biggest win of his career on Saturday, dominating Cody Garbrandt to put himself in the title picture at 135. Here are my thoughts on what the future may hold for the five fighters who won on the main card on Saturday.
Coming off a loss to Marvin Vettori, Jack Hermansson got back in the win column on Saturday, pulling off the unanimous decision win against Edmen Shahbazyan. Coming in as the seventh-ranked Middleweight, Hermansson proved that he still belongs among the top fighters in the division.
Everyone ranked above Jack Hermansson has a fight booked, besides Robert Whittaker, who is next in line for a title. Fifth and sixth-ranked Middleweights Derek Brunson and Darren Till are set to fight on August 14th. Hermansson should fight the winner of that matchup. Both Hermansson and the winner of that fight will be coming off of wins by that point and looking to get a title shot.
A matchup with Brunson presents a matchup of dominant grapplers in a fight that would likely take place on the ground. A matchup with Till presents a striker vs. grappler bout that would also be fun to watch.
Coming into Saturday off of a loss, Ricardo Ramos was able to get back in the win column, controlling Bill Algeo for much of the fight en route to a unanimous decision victory. Ramos is now 6-2 overall in the UFC and will be looking to get a bigger name in his next fight.
One possible option for Ramos is Alex Caceres. Caceres is a 24-fight UFC veteran on a four-fight winning streak, and this matchup would help both guys get closer to the top fifteen at 145.
However, the name that I’m picking for Ricardo Ramos is Gabriel Benitez. Benitez looked dominant in his last fight, earning a first-round knockout of Justin Jaynes. Benitez missed weight for his scheduled fight earlier this month, so he is likely not going to get a step up in competition to face a ranked opponent in his next fight. With both fighters coming off of wins, a matchup between Ramos and Benitez would make sense.
Moving back up to Featherweight, Norma Dumont earned her second consecutive win, taking a split decision win over Felicia Spencer. 145 is clearly Dumont’s natural weight class as this fight was easily the best that she has looked over her three-fight UFC career.
This is the nature of the Women’s Featherweight division. At the moment, there are only four on the roster who have fought in the UFC or on DWCS in the past 365 days. The promotion clearly has zero urgencies to build up the division. However, Dumont is 0/2 at making weight at 135, and the UFC is unlikely to let her attempt to make bantamweight again. It’s also worth noting that Dumont is still at least one win away from getting a title shot against Amanda Nunes.
However, there are quite a few women who have had trouble making 135 that should move up to Featherweight. Among them is Ketlen Vieira, who is currently ranked seventh among Bantamweights and has missed two straight fights. If she decides to move up to 145, Dumont could be next for her in a matchup between Brazilian contenders.
In a bloody battle that won the fight of the night, Jared Vanderaa picked up his first win in the promotion, winning by unanimous decision. Vanderaa was in need of a win after losing in his debut and got the job done, out-striking Justin Tafa.
A possible next fight for Vanderaa is Carlos Felipe. Felipe is another striker, also coming off of a win against Tafa. However, the name that I’m going with for Vanderaa is Parker Porter. Porter, like Vanderaa, is coming off of his first win in the UFC after he defeated Josh Parisian last November. A matchup between Vanderaa and Porter could easily result in a blood bath or massive knockout.
Carla Esparza completely dominated Yan Xiaonan on Saturday, earning her fifth consecutive win and putting herself right in the title picture. Esparza was the inaugural Strawweight champion but has yet to get back in the title picture after losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2015.
Nearly seven years removed from defeating Rose Namajunas to win the Strawweight bout, Esparza should be in line to get her rematch. Namajunas regained her belt in April, knocking out Weili Zhang to become the 115-pound champion. A matchup between Namajunas and Esparza presents a classic striker v grappler matchup. Both fighters have a ton of momentum, and this should be an incredible rematch to watch.
Rob Font earned the biggest win of his career, dominating Cody Garbrandt and getting himself into the title picture in the Bantamweight division. Coming off a knockout win over Marlon Moraes, Font built upon the momentum that he has been carrying since losing to Raphael Assuncao in 2018.
However, because the Bantamweight division is extremely top-heavy and slowed down by Aljamain Sterling’s undergoing surgery, Font likely needs one more win to earn a title chance. Petr Yan and Sterling are likely to have a rematch at some point in the next eight months, while Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw are set to fight on July 24th.
Rob Font should fight the winner of Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw for an interim belt. The winner of that Dillashaw-Sandhagen fight also has a legitimate claim to a title shot, but Petr Yan is the next opponent for Aljo. Have Font fight the winner of that July 24th bout and make it even more critical by granting the winner an interim belt and immediate next shot at the title.
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