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UFC 280

Khabib Nurmagomedov carries Islam Makhachev on his shoulders after Makhachev won the lightweight title at UFC 280 (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Fights to Make Following UFC 280

UFC 280
Khabib Nurmagomedov carries Islam Makhachev on his shoulders after Makhachev won the lightweight title at UFC 280 (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Fights To Make Following UFC 280

What a wild night fight fans were treated to this past Saturday. UFC 280 was viewed as one of the year’s best cards, and it hardly disappointed. From the undercard all the way up to the main event, every fight had a little something for everyone. Sean O’Malley got away with one, Aljamain Sterling showed dominance and the UFC crowned a new lightweight king. As always, after every PPV we look forward and play matchmaker and book the next fights for all the main card fighters. If you want to see our fights to make from UFC 279, click here.

Katlyn Chookagian (L) vs. Manon Fiorot (W) (Women’s Flyweight)

Katlyn Chookagian needed a win over a promising prospect at UFC 280 to earn herself a shot at Valentina Schevchenko again and the UFC flyweight title. However, she would be soundly beaten by the rising star, and now sees herself fall down the rankings a bit. I think the UFC should see her as this litmus test of sorts for prospects, and book her to fight Maycee Barber. Barber is one of the biggest names in the division right now, and Chookagian would likely be the toughest test to date for Barber.

The next fight for Manon Fiorot is clear: a shot at one of the GOATs of women’s MMA in Valentina Schevchenko. There is no one else for either woman. Yes, Alexa Grasso looked good in her last fight, but she is still likely a fight away, maybe two. Fiorot could prove problematic for the champ who looked vulnerable in her last fight against Taila Santos.

Beneil Dariush (W) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (L) (Lightweight)

Only two fights make sense to make following UFC 280 for Beneil Dariush: Charles Oliveira or Rafael Fiziev. Oliveira is not likely to see an immediate rematch after Dana White announced that Islam Makhachev would be fighting current UFC Featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski next. Oliveira would be a great test for Dariush.

I also love this Fiziev fight. Fiziev is one of the best fighters in the division and is skyrocketing up the rankings, and Dariush would be the last hurdle to clear for him to become a star at 155. But a win over a guy like that stamps his claim as the next title challenger.

Meanwhile, Mateusz Gamrot may have seen his stock take a bit of a hit on Saturday, but he should still be viewed as one of the better prospects in the division. I believe putting him up against another established guy in the division would be great, and the guy that comes to mind is Rafael dos Anjos. Dos Anjos lost his last fight to Fiziev but was on a career revival. Both guys would greatly benefit from a big win over the other.

Petr Yan (L) vs. Sean O’Malley (W) (Bantamweight)

If there was ever a fight to prove to the world they need open scoring or a system like Verdict, it was this one. After watching the fight back, I had it 29-28 Yan. However, the judges ringside gave the fight to O’Malley.

Disagreement aside, we have fights to make following this UFC 280 stunner. Yan has now dropped three of his last four but still looks as dangerous as before that stretch. The two fighters that come to mind are Merab Dvalishvili and Marlon Vera. Both guys are on the best streaks of their careers, and both could use a high-profile fight like Yan. Yan also would do great to re-establish himself as a contender by beating a great prospect.

I am torn on O’Malley. I had him losing that fight but took nothing away from him. He showed on Saturday that he could hang with the best of them. With the split decision win, does he get the next crack at Sterling? I suppose he must. No other fight in the division makes sense. I guess you would run it back with Vera, but I think the money to be made by booking O’Malley-Sterling will be too good to pass up.

(c) Aljamain Sterling (W) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (L) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)

Sterling showed the world at UFC 280 that he just might be the top guy in the division. Yes, the fight has a slight asterisk on it due to the shoulder injury suffered by T.J. Dillashaw, but we can’t knock Sterling for that. I covered in the last fight that I believe he and O’Malley fight next, so we leave that there.

I also touched on the next fight for Dillashaw a little bit before as well. A fight with Yan would be incredible to see. Yan has shown a weakness to great strikers, and with the wrestling of Dillashaw, it could prove a must-watch fight. However, depending on how long the recovery is from this shoulder injury he suffered, he could be out for a bit again. Jack Shore is a fascinating name, too. He is expected to get past Kyler Phillips next month, and a fight between Shore and Dillashaw could be fantastic.

Charles Oliveira (L) vs. (c) Islam Makhachev (W) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

Oliviera is in a very rough spot. Under normal circumstances, running the fight back would make sense. Oliveira defended the title numerous times and looked incredible every outing. But, as mentioned before, Makhachev is facing Volkanovski next. I do believe the fight to make from the UFC 280 main event for Oliveira is against Dariush. No one else in the division makes sense.

We end these fights to make following UFC 280 post-anti-climatically because the new champ Islam Makhachev’s next fight has already been announced, as mentioned before. Keep your eyes out for a preview of that fight in the near future!

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