After watching the fight card dwindle down to just 9 fights, hopes were still high for an exciting night of finishes at UFC Vegas 20. Although we didn’t get that at all, we did get some meaningful results that move some divisions forward. So let us look to what it is that should be next for the winners on the main card.
While not the most exciting heavyweight tilt in history, Gane showed that he is a tactician with some very clean striking. By advancing his record to 8-0 and picking up a win over the #4 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik, he put himself on a shortlist of contenders for the strap. With Jon Jones lurking behind an already booked title shot, and given the unfriendly visuals of this fight, there’s no way that Gane is going to get a title shot next. This means he’s going to need at least one more fight and likely against someone lurking just outside of that picture like he is. Last weekend’s main event winner Derrick Lewis is just the person for the task. While Gane kept Rozenstruik gun-shy for the whole fight, it’s unlikely he could do the same to Lewis. Meanwhile, one of the two would cement their case to be next in line.
Cyril Gane’s Next Fight: Derrick Lewis
After a slow start, Ankalaev rallied to win the last two rounds against Nikita Krylov and a unanimous decision victory. The win marks the first high-profile victory for the Russian, who has now won six straight. This almost certainly moves him into the top 10 and sets him up for another big fight. A good test for him would be Volkan Oezdemir, who is notorious for his fast starts. If Ankalaev can handle that early onslaught and beat “No Time,” then he’s probably ready for the highest part of the division.
Magomed Ankalaev’s Next Fight: Volkan Oezdemir
Munhoz finds himself in an awkward position in the bantamweight division following this win. On one hand, he’s looked good both of his last two fights. On the other, only one technically wound up a victory. In addition, a lot of the top 15 of the bantamweight division is already booked and/or he has already faced. The only name that sticks out as moving his case forward towards the top, and also being free and a fresh face, is Marlon Moraes. Despite coming off of some losses to the top of the division, it would make the most sense for Munhoz’s career if he wants to make a run to the title.
Pedro Munhoz’s Next Fight: Marlon Moraes
Very quietly, Alex Caceres has made it four straight victories at 145lbs. While he hasn’t really faced any of the big names in the division, he has shown there is a clear divide between the level he’s at and the unranked opponents he’s faced. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to give him a top 15 fighter at this point, but there are some other names around the fringe of the rankings that would be good tests as well. He was originally booked with Giga Chikadze, who is on a nice win streak of his own. Now that everybody is healthy, it would be interesting to try to re-book that fight.
Alex Caceres’ Next Fight: Giga Chikadze