The latest installment from Fight Island, UFC Fight Island 5, brought us some of the most memorable KOs in recent memory (or in the case of Joaquin Buckley — perhaps history). However, while some are buoyed by their impressive finishes, others are left to pick up the pieces on the other side of the highlight. Today, we look at some of those and suggest the next step.
Moraes was in the unique position where a win could have allowed him to leapfrog Aljamain Sterling for the first crack at Petr Yan. Instead, he was on wrong end of a spinning heel kick from Cory Sandhagen and is now looking for his next move. With a lot of the guys at the top of the division either booked or likely looking for a fighter coming off of a win, Moraes might have to look a little further down the rankings to find an opponent. Pedro Munhoz is hanging out just outside of the top 5 and recently dropped a close split decision to Frankie Edgar. This would give Munhoz a chance to get that loss back and see whether Moraes has another run in him, or if it’s time to step aside.
Marlon Moraes’ Next Fight: Pedro Munhoz
This fight was really Amirkhani’s big chance to break out in the featherweight division. Long has he been just outside while racking up those wins. The loss to Barboza makes it just a little less likely that he’ll get that number any time soon. Facing a similar type of setback in his last bout was Kron Gracie, who seemed poised for a breakthrough. Instead Cub Swanson spoiled the party. Not only would this pairing give both a chance to get back in the win column, but it would give both the chance to grapple. Something they were denied in their previous bouts.
Makwan Amirkhani’s Next Fight: Kron Gracie
Over 50 fights, nearly 20 years — the professional career of the King of Kenosha has been an amazing one. A loss to Tybura though likely keeps him out of really meaningful fights for some time. As a result, I think the mode has to now be to look for the most fun or bizarre fights we can find for him. Newly added to the heavyweight division, Alexander Gustafsson didn’t look like much fighting off the grappling of Fabricio Werdum, but Rothwell would likely engage him in a fight more suited for him.
Ben Rothwell’s Next Fight: Alexander Gustafsson
Although he is very entertaining (in and out of the cage), losing 3 of his last 4 may spell the end of Perez’s UFC run. If it isn’t, it is going to mean that he’s going to have to fight someone else fresh to the UFC or on a substantial losing streak in his own right. Impa Kasanganay was on the wrong end of the biggest highlight of the year, which brought a crashing halt to his momentum. He and Perez would have roughly the same comeback timeline and both need a rebound in the worst way.
Markus Perez’s Next Fight: Impa Kasanganay
Zalal is another of those fighters that was on an incredible run that got halted. He had said he was looking to fight 6 or 7 times in 2020, but a loss in his 4th fight likely puts an end to that. Another 145’er who shot out of the gate only to be halted is Herbert Burns. After going 2-0 in quick and devastating fashion, he suffered a tough loss to Daniel Pineda. Zalal can try to prove yet again that he can beat a tough grappler with this booking and one of them would head back on the path to contention.
Youssef Zalal’s Next Fight: Herbert Burns