Fights To Make Post UFC 264
What a wild night this past Saturday night was! From the early prelims all the way to the main event (which we will get into), this card was action-packed and delivered outstanding performances from top to bottom. If you want to check out Sam Linton and I’s post covering UFC 264, you can check it out here. We started doing post-fight picks for each fighter to take on next, and our first installment of that can be found here. Time to get after it!
Sean O’Malley x Kris Moutinho
Kris Moutinho took this fight on 11 days’ notice and man, did he show up. Yes, he got absolutely battered in this fight, but he certainly earned himself some fans, myself included. He showed incredible heart, a great chin and he never stopped moving forward. Since this was his debut fight, it is difficult to pick out a suitable opponent for Moutinho’s next fight. Looking at the Bantamweight rankings, I think a matchup against Jack Shore or Davey Grant would be a good test for Moutinho.
Now, Sean O’Malley is a different story. My goodness, this guy is a different breed. I know that there will never be another Conor McGregor, but we might have found the guy that can come close to it. He called out quite a few men at UFC 264, but the guy that makes the most sense to me is Cody Garbrandt. O’Malley gets his fight against a former champion, and it would be by far the toughest test of his career thus far. Both men seem to want this fight, so why not make it? I know Garbrandt has done The Ultimate Fighter before, but a fight between these two would be electric.
Irene Aldana x Yana Kunitskaia
Coming into this fight, Yana Kunitskaia was looking to prove that she does belong at 135 lbs and that she can hang with anyone. She just happened to run into the buzzsaw that is Irene Aldana. Kunitskaia looked fairly outclassed from the jump and unfortunately for her, the Women’s Bantamweight division is mostly booked up already. I would book her against an up-and-coming fighter in Julia Avila. This would be a good win for Kunitskaia but also would prove to the matchmakers that Avila is ready for a top-5 opponent.
The answer for me is simple in regards to Irene Aldana: feed her to Amanda Nunes. Nunes has faced nearly everyone in both divisions she champions, and this would bring about a fresh challenger. A fight between Nunes and Aldana would be a striking clinic and I guarantee could win Fight of the Night on any Pay-Per-View it headlines.
Tai Tuivasa x Greg Hardy
I will keep this short and sweet: fuck Greg Hardy. He is a bum whose only trait inside the octagon is punching power. Last Saturday proved this dude has ZERO chin, and I would cut him from the roster if I were able. I know UFC President Dana White will not do that, however, so I guess I am forced to book him an opponent. Book him against Gian Villante, loser leaves the UFC. No need to thank me for the idea, Dana.
Now onto someone that has qualities and a shred of personality in Tai Tuivasa. A fan-favorite no matter where he fights, Tuivasa clobbered Hardy and picked up a first-round KO. Tuivasa against another fighter on a lengthy win streak in Marcin Tybura could headline a Fight Night card and could stand as a contender bout. The winner of this fight would surely find their name in the top five. Watching big dudes swing for the fences is always good for me, and that is precisely what we would have here.
Gilbert Burns x Stephen Thompson
I love fantasy booking, and that is what we are going to do here. I do not think Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson should hang it up, but I believe he should move up to Middleweight. A fight between him and Luke Rockhold would have been excellent had Rockhold not moved up to 205. Thompson could face the winner of Derek Brunson and Darren Till, and going up against Jack Hermansson could be a lot of fun as well.
Gilbert Burns made a few callouts of his own at UFC 264, including calling out Jorge Masvidal for whatever reason. Masvidal is a certified bum and will not do anything for Burns’ career. Personally, I do not think he should get back in the octagon with the Welterweight GOAT Kamaru Usman, but I do think he needs a number one contender fight against a top-caliber fighter. Insert Colby Covington. The title fight next should be against Leon Edwards, and Burns-Covington is without a doubt the fight to decide who gets their head knocked off next.
Dustin Poirier x Conor McGregor
Some may think that booking Conor McGregor’s next opponent is difficult because he has a lot of history with a lot of fighters: Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos or a “proper” rematch against Dustin Poirier. I disagree, I think the next move is simple: retire. He is 1-3 in his last four fights, has dropped out of the top five in the Lightweight rankings, and really has nowhere else to go. I cannot see McGregor making the climb back up the rankings and fighting lesser-known guys. The signs are written on the walls, Conor. Hang up the MMA gloves. (See what I did there?)
Dustin Poirier is the easiest on this list: his next fight is against Charles Oliveira. Is there really any debate? He has nothing to prove against McGregor, as he was battering him in the first round. I had the fight 10-8 through 1. Go chase that belt, Poirier.
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