What’s Next: UFC Vegas 19 Losers

Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, UFC Vegas 19
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 20: (R-L) Curtis Blaydes punches Derrick Lewis in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The main card of UFC Vegas 19 was again littered with underdogs who came out on top. Each of the last three contests of the night went to the plus-money on the books, leaving a lot of fighters in an awkward spot. Today, we look at what should be next for those favorites and some of the other fighters who took an ‘L’ on Saturday night.

Curtis Blaydes

After a vicious knockout loss to Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes finds himself in an awkward spot in the division. With wins over Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov (sitting at #6 and #7 respectively in the rankings), he shouldn’t be fighting too far down the chain. However, with losses to Francis Ngannou and now Lewis, he isn’t really in a contender’s spot either. This leaves him with few choices that fit right in that sweet spot and aren’t an unnecessary rematch. Two fighters who fit in that range just happen to be squaring off this weekend in Jair Rozenstruik and Cyril Gane. Either of those two would work for Blaydes’ next step, but given that the winner will likely be looking at a big match-up, Blaydes should get the loser.

Curtis Blaydes’ Next Fight: Rozenstruik/Gane loser

Ketlen Vieira

Ketlen Vieira did a solid job of scoring takedowns and top control time this past weekend. However, she landed very little in terms of strikes and didn’t do much significant in the grappling department either. The loss, her second in just three fights, puts her in a must-win spot if her dreams of contending for that title are ever going to come to fruition. A good option for her next would be Pannie Kianzad. Kianzad does a good job of pushing the action and would be an interesting physical match for Vieira to try to solve as well.

Ketlen Vieira’s Next Fight: Pannie Kianzad

Charles Rosa

With the loss to Darrick Minner this past weekend, Rosa has now alternated wins and losses for his entire nine-fight UFC career. The lack of consistency has not been the biggest issue with this trend though, but rather the tendency for the black belt to get outworked on the ground in the most recent losses. A nice test for him next would be a talented striker with decent takedown defense to see if he can make that streak continue to ten fights. Rick Glenn had his comeback fight scratched at the end of 2020. If he’s back and ready to go, he would fit the bill.

Charles Rosa’s Next Fight: Rick Glenn

Aleksei Oleinik

With an ever growing number of fights on his resume, Oleinik has nothing else to prove. The 43-year old has now lost two in a row and is likely on the verge of retirement. Rather than roll out the prospects to let them try to build their name on the submission specialist, why not give him some fun fights? Andrei Arlovski has a similar ridiculous record and faced a setback to a prospect Saturday as well. With 125 fights between the two of them, it’s almost absurd that they haven’t fought each other yet. While not the most meaningful of fights, it would be one I’d tune in for.

Aleksei Oleinik’s Next Fight: Andrei Arlovski

Nassourdine Imavov

While taking a loss to Phil Hawes, Imavov clearly did more damage. In the third round he had Hawes on skates more than once and, if not for a clinch, was working to finish the fight. Still, his lack of activity early on and the wrestling of Hawes proved to be too much for him. In his next bout, he should look for another athletic middleweight who can push him into action earlier on to see if he learned from the slow start. Dusko Todorovic comes out quick and is similarly looking to rebound for a loss.

Nassourdine Imavov’s Next Fight: Dusko Todorovic