On Saturday night, we saw what was perhaps the last fight in the career of one of the all-time greats. Anderson Silva made what is expected to be his last walk to the octagon at UFC Vegas 12. While his legacy is long, impressive, and fascinating, time ends all good things. With The Spider’s career in the rearview (maybe?) we look to what’s next for some of those who move forward after this past weekend.
While I doubt Uriah Hall is upset about getting the opportunity to fight Anderson Silva in what may have been his retirement fight, especially given his explicit fandom of Silva, this was a huge step back for him in terms of booking. He had previously been booked with Jacare Souza in Jacksonville, then Jacare was pulled due to being positive for COVID. He then was booked with Yoel Romero, who got pulled due to an injury. If those are the types of fights the UFC thinks Hall was ready for before his performance this past weekend, I doubt much has changed. Having done everything he was supposed to against Silva, and maybe more, I say give him the Romero match-up he originally had. It was intriguing before, and it’s still intriguing now.
Uriah Hall’s Next Fight: Yoel Romero
Love him or hate him, you have to respect what Bryce Mitchell has been able to do on the ground. After absolutely dominating black belt Charles Rosa in impressive fashion, he put on a subsequent performance against Andre Fili that proved whatever doubters still existed wrong. With this level of confidence on the ground, and being in a division with some of the very best grapplers in the UFC, the matchmaking is all too easy. While Kron Gracie wouldn’t be a dull bout either, the correct answer here is Ryan Hall. Mitchell just seems crazy enough to engage him on the mat and I think that’s something we all need to see.
Bryce Mitchell’s Next Fight: Ryan Hall
Although a lot of people are clamoring that Hardy hasn’t fought anyone yet, Maurice Greene does represent a step up from his recent competition. Juan Adams, Ben Sosoli, Yorgan de Castro — none of them were really all that close to the top 15, whereas Greene was 4-2 in the UFC with only losses to top 15 competition. The UFC does seem bent on moving Hardy up slowly (with the exception of the late notice fill in spot against Volkov), but regardless of how slow they’re moving him, now is the time to put him against a top 15 guy. Sergey Pavlovich was just pulled him a fight due to injury, but assuming the timelines match up, he’d be a great test for Hardy. His boxing is a big step up and assuming he keeps it on the feet, Hardy would have to get him out of there quickly or risk tiring and getting picked apart.
Greg Hardy’s Next Fight: Sergey Pavlovich
After the verbal performance of Sean Strickland Saturday, some have said they want to see, or rather hear, him in a bout against Holland. However, Holland has now won seven of his last eight fights. Antics aside, he needs to start being treated like the division threat he is. I’d love to see him against a guy on the edge of the top 15, but the majority of them are already booked. Heinisch, Vettori, Akhmedov, and Tavares all already have dance partners for the near future. Holland doesn’t like to wait around and will likely just take the next booking available, but if I had my ways, I’d see him against Edmen Shahbazyan. Is it a huge step up? For sure, but I’d love to see how Shahbazyan deals with the enigma that is Holland.
Kevin Holland’s Next Fight: Edmen Shahbazyan
Moises kicked off his UFC career in less than impressive fashion, going 1-2 without much positive to write home about. Now he has an impressive heel hook finish over Michael Johnson and a unanimous decision win that stopped the crazy win streak of Bobby Green. Those names aren’t quite enough to break him into the top 15 of competition in the UFC’s most difficult division, but there are a lot of fun match-ups just outside of that. Alexander Hernandez also won this past weekend with a violent KO of Chris Gruetzemacher. You’d have to love the dynamic of Moises’ grappling against the speed and striking of Hernandez – and that’s not to even mention the improved striking we saw out of Moises.
Thiago Moises’s Next Fight: Alexander Hernandez