UFC 236 Aftermath: Interim Title Fights for the Ages

Dustin Poirier UFC 236
Dustin Poirier Credit: Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com

After two incredible title fights capped off UFC 236, we take a look at what’s next for all the fighters featured on the main card.

Wow. That’s all I could say after UFC 236. It hasn’t been since UFC 217 that a card was this thrilling. With both the main event and co-main event putting on a show, UFC 236 had huge implications for all divisions. Let’s break down the fights and see what’s next for the fighters of UFC 236.

Nikita Krylov Subs Ovince Saint Preux

Nikita Krylov has made a living in the UFC by finishing fights. Since his debut in 2013, all 11 of his wins have been by knockout or submission (including a four-fight stint in Russia). Ovince Saint Preux was added to that list. Krylov avenged the loss to OSP in 2014, which was Saint Preux’s first patented Von Flue choke. Krylov returned the favor with a slick rear naked choke that got him the win.

Saint Preux didn’t look bad in the fight. While he didn’t get the outcome he was looking for, he wasn’t completely outclassed in the fight. In a shallow light heavyweight division, it will only take a few wins in a row to get Ovince Saint Preux back in the conversation.

Next Opponent for Nikita Krylov: Shogun Rua, Misha Cirkunov
Next Opponent for Ovince Saint Preux: Jimmy Crute, Gian Villante

Dwight Grant Takes Razor-Thin Fight Over Alan Jouban

Dwight Grant and Alan Jouban went to town in their fight. Grant stayed calm and collected during Jouban’s onslaught of haymakers. Dwight made a statement that he is ready for a ranked opponent with his second win inside the Octagon.

While Jouban didn’t win the controversial split decision, his stock sure rose. Sure, he would have liked to win on the same card fellow Louisianian Dustin Poirier captured his title. But, his stock rose this fight. He was exciting and had his foot on the gas the entire time.

Next Opponent for Dwight Grant: Elizeu Zaleski, Gunnar Nelson
Next Opponent for Alan Jouban: Curtis Millender, Rocco Martin

Khalil Rountree Does Whatever he Wants with Eryk Anders

Okay, so there are probably police out looking for Khalil Rountree for the attempted murder of Eryk Anders. Rountree put on a C-L-I-N-I-C. All night, he wore down the legs and blasted Anders with punches that would put any other mortal man away. Rountree spent time in Thailand perfecting his Muay Thai and it shows. He’s due for another shot at a ranked opponent.

Anders showed heart, as he always does. Unfortunately, it looks as if light heavyweight didn’t suit him. His only other fight in the division was a short notice fight against Thiago Santos, who is a former middleweight himself. Anders will probably stay at 185 for the foreseeable future. His size and power translate better there. At least he took the beating in stride:

Next opponent for Khalil Rountree: Jimi Manuwa/Aleksander Rakić winner, Jan Błachowicz/Luke Rockhold loser
Next opponent for Eryk Anders: Tom Breese, Kevin Holland

Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum Put on Fight of the Year

Now we’re on to the meat and potatoes. Israel Adesanya had his toughest test to date. Gastelum put him in the first real trouble we’ve seen him in inside the Octagon. Izzy was able to stay calm, avoid the bombs from Gastelum, and go out with a bang. The fifth round might be the most impressive we’ve seen from Israel Adesanya. After four and a half rounds of war, he pieced together several knockdowns of Kelvin that got him the win in a fight that was 2-2 according to many fans. Adesanya even surprised us with a little jiu-jitsu as well!

Kelvin showed great hand speed. Especially early on, he had Adesanya in trouble early and even took him down. Most importantly, Gastelum showed how durable he was. Being battered off of counters all night, Gastelum showed while even knocking him down, you are still in for a dogfight. It’s unfortunate he didn’t get to fight Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title as planned, but he did get involved in one of the best fights of the year so far.

Next Opponent for Israel Adesanya: Robert Whittaker
Next Opponent for Kelvin Gastelum: Jacare Souza/Jack Hermansson winner, Yoel Romero

Dustin Poirier Looks Phenomenal Against Max Holloway

Dustin Poirier is the ultimate come-up story. He loses a fight to Conor McGregor at featherweight. So he decided to start new. Since moving to lightweight, he’s gone 9-1. How has this man not fought for a title yet?! Adding Max Holloway to the list of names in this run is truly phenomenal. He took Max Holloway and beat him down for five rounds. His power looked great, as well as his speed. The only mistake he made was going for the finish when he had Holloway hurt in the first round. With such an expulsion of energy, it had a slight effect on him the rest of the fight. That will be a major key in his title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Max Holloway put on the fight we always expect from him, even though he got the wrong end of the decision. His quick move up to lightweight showed, with his power not carrying over from featherweight. Poirier has fought at lightweight since 2015 and has had time to bulk up, and the difference showed. Not all is bad for Max Holloway. He’s still the champ in the featherweight division, where he should probably stay unless he plans to put on mass. He still has one of the best resumes in MMA as well. Max will succeed in the future. This was only a bump in the road.

Next for Dustin Poirier: Khabib Nurmagomedov (or we riot)
Next for Max Holloway: Alexander Volkanovski (if he beats Aldo), Zabit Magomedsharipov