Who should the UFC Vegas 41 winners on the main card fight next? In a classic of a main event, Marvin Vettori landed over 200 strikes en route to a unanimous decision victory against Paulo Costa on Saturday. Here are my thoughts on what the future may hold for the five fighters who won on the main card on Saturday.
Coming off of a win over Aleksa Camur, Nicolae Negumereau only needed 78 seconds to extend his winning streak on Saturday. Despite delivering a potential shot to the back of the head, Negumereanu put Ike Villanueva down quickly and secured a TKO victory. Now on a two-fight winning streak, Negumereanu arguably could be in line for a shot at a top 15 opponent.
One potential name for Negumereanu is Ion Cutelaba. Cutelaba, like Negumereanu, is an explosive striker who recently defeated Devin Clark in September. However, the name that makes the most sense is Khalil Rountree Jr. A former TUF winner, Rountree Jr. earned a rare win his last time out, stopping Modestas Bukauskas with an oblique kick. Both guys have finishing ability, and this would be a great fight to watch.
At 43-years-old, Francisco Trinaldo proved he still has some fight left in him as he overcame a point deduction to win a split decision against Dwight Grant. Now 1-1 since moving up to 170 pounds, time is running out for the Brazilian veteran. However, all sides have pointed to Trinaldo’s wanting to fight at least one more time.
One potential name for Trinaldo is Court McGee. Like Trinaldo, McGee is a longtime UFC veteran, with 18 fights with the promotion under his belt. However, the name that makes the most sense for Trinaldo is Alex Oliveira. Oliveira, a fellow Brazilian, is a longtime veteran of the sport, but his best days are seemingly in the past, as he has lost three straight. In what would be an intriguing matchup of strikers, Trinaldo and Oliveira would be fun to watch.
Despite getting knocked down and absorbing an illegal knee, Alex Caceres overcame the early deficit, forcing Seungwoo Choi to tap due to a rear-naked choke in round two. A fighter with 25 UFC fights to his name, Caceres continues to get better and is due for a top 15 opponent after earning his fifth consecutive win.
One potential name for “Bruce Leeroy” is Sodiq Yusuff. Currently ranked at 12 in the Featherweight rankings, Yusuff has the potential to become a contender but has not been very active since the start of 2020. The name that makes the most for Caceres is Edson Barboza. Both Barboza and Caceres are explosive strikers. This matchup has fight of the night potential and would feature the explosive Muay Thai of Barboza against the rangy kickboxing of Caceres. While Caceres would be a heavy underdog in that fight, he has earned his chance to fight the number, 10-ranked Barboza.
While it was not the most visually pleasing bout, Jessica Rose-Clark did what she needed to do, controlling Joselyne Edwards for nearly 12 minutes of a 15-minute fight en route to a unanimous decision victory. Having experienced a 13-month layoff, Clark was happy to get back in the cage and earn her second consecutive win, one that should put her in line to fight a ranked opponent.
One potential name for JRC is Lina Lansburg. Lansburg is a veteran of the sport, but at 39 years old and having not fought in nearly two years, time is running out for her. The name that makes the most sense for Clark is Pannie Kianzad. Kianzad had been surging up the 135-pound ladder prior to getting stopped by Raquel Pennington in September. In a striker vs. wrestler matchup, Jessica Rose-Clark and Pannie Kianzad would be fun to watch.
I’m not going to tell you that I have always been a fan of Marvin Vettori. However, it’s hard not to at least respect him after the performance he put on Saturday, despite the change in the weight class. With Vettori moving back to 185 for his next fight, this bout solidified that he is still a contender at Middleweight.
Israel Adesanya is set to defend his title at UFC 271 in February against Robert Whittaker. Meanwhile, Derek Brunson and Jared Cannonier square off at UFC 270, where the winner will likely face the UFC 271 Middleweight championship winner. Most likely, Vettori will fight the loser of one of these fights, although it would not make sense for him to fight Adesanya a third time, should the Last Style Bender lose to Whittaker.
Regardless of how this division plays out, a matchup with Whittaker would be entertaining to watch. Both guys have a complete skill set and have the ability to put on the fight of the year contenders. It’s tough to get a third try at beating someone, but Vettori may only need one more win to get another shot at the belt and potentially face Izzy once again.
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