UFC Fight Night 168 took place in Auckland, New Zealand over the weekend. Dan Hooker fought Paul Felder in what was a thrilling, violent main event. One in which Hooker won an extremely close split decision. The card also witnessed fellow City Kickboxing teammates Brad Riddell and Kai-Kara France take home wins of their own. It was truly a great card from top to bottom and it has been discussed as one of the best UFC cards of the year so far. Today we will dive into who the winners of UFC Auckland should fight next.
After his split decision win, Dan Hooker called out fellow lightweight Justin Gaethje. While that would be a great match-up it is likely that Gaethje either gets the next crack at the title or is next in line to fight Conor McGregor (coincidentally, that talk has already started). A man that is left out in this equation is Dustin Poirier. Poirier hasn’t fought since he was submitted by the champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, at UFC 242. He has been very vocal on social media calling out Nate Diaz, Al Iaquinta, and Conor McGregor. While all of these fights seem intriguing, a fight with Hooker would be Poirier’s best option to make a run back at the title.
Hooker’s Next Fight: Dustin Poirier
At UFC Auckland Yan Xiaonan won a very decisive decision over number 14 ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz. This win should spring her into the top 15 of that weight class. The middle of the women’s strawweight division is a little locked up for the next few months. Putting Xiaonan in a little bit of a weird position. It really depends on whether the UFC is going to take in slow with Xiaonan or if they are going to push her to fight the top 10 opponents right away. Nina Ansaroff sitting at the number five position should be considered highly by Xiaonan. Ansaroff hasn’t fought since June of 2019 and lost that fight against Tatiana Suarez. Ansaroff and Xiaonan have very opposite fighting styles which should make for a very exciting match-up. A win against Ansaroff could also give the UFC their second women’s Chinese superstar in the making.
Xiaonan’s Next Fight: Nina Ansaroff
Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Marcos Rogerio de Lima was able to knock out Ben Sosoli in the first round at UFC Auckland. While he was throwing some wild shots, he did show everyone that he has the type of power you cannot look past in the heavyweight division. Another heavyweight that we have seen with great power is Maurice Greene. Greene is 3-2 in the UFC although he is currently on a two-fight losing streak. Greene is very diverse in his fighting style with four of his eight wins coming by submission. His last two fights were a knockout loss to Sergei Pavlovich and a submission loss to Aleksei Oleinik. Possibly showing us that Greene isn’t ready for the top of the division. The same can be said about de Lima as he has had a very up and down career — losing to top guys like Stefan Struve, Ovince Saint Preux and Nikita Krylov. With four out of his six losses coming by submission, Greene would be a great test for him to see if he can stop the grappling of an up and coming fighter.
de Lima’s Next Fight: Maurice Greene
Angela Hill defeated Loma Lookboonmee at UFC Auckland by unanimous decision. Her last fight before this was on January 25th when she defeated Hannah Cifers. Making this her second fight in a 30 day period. She has now won three straight, and tied the UFC activity record with six fights in twelve months. Hill’s next fight is likely any woman who needs a short notice opponent in the strawweight division. That seems to be working for her.
Hill’s Next Fight: A bout in need of saving