There were three titles up for grabs at UFC 259. Only one of them changed hands as Aljamain Sterling won the bantamweight title by disqualification. In the main event, Jan Blachowicz retained his light heavyweight title with a decision over Isreal Adesanya. Meanwhile Amanda Nunes was able to submit Megan Anderson to retain her women’s featherweight title. Today we will be looking at what is next for the winners of UFC 259.
Blachowicz’s win over Adesanya was his first and only title defense to date. He won a unanimous decision with two judges even rewarding him with a 10-8 round for the fifth frame. His next fight is easy enough to book, and should obviously be against Glover Teixeira. Teixeira is currently on a five-fight winning streak and weighed in as an alternate for Blachowicz’s fight at UFC 259. Teixeira’s last three wins were against Nikita Krylov, Anthony Smith, and Thiago Santos. He’s won four of his five straight wins via finish.
Blachowicz’s next fight: Glover Teixeira
Amanda Nunes defended her featherweight title for the second time at UFC 259. She has beaten pretty much every featherweight on the women’s roster. There are also no rankings currently for the women’s featherweight division. Meaning her next fight will likely be defending her bantamweight title for the first time since December 2019. Holly Holm was supposed to fight Julianna Pena in May but she had to pull out of the fight due to injury. This could be perfect for Pena as it might mean she is next in line to challenge for the bantamweight title. There aren’t a lot of other options.
Nunes’ next fight: Julianna Pena
Aljamain Sterling became the first champion in UFC history to win their title via disqualification at UFC 259. Petr Yan hit Sterling with an illegal knee that seemed intentional. Yan has come out and said he did not intentionally hit Sterling with an illegal blow but the ref can be heard telling Yan that Sterling was a grounded fighter just seconds before Yan threw the knee. Sterling has been going back and forth with Henry Cejudo so that looks like a possibility, but Cejudo remains retired. Ultimately, since this is the first time a champion has ever won their title by DQ, it is much more likely the UFC books a rematch for Sterling’s first title defense.
Sterling’s next fight: Rematch Petr Yan
Islam Makhachev defeated Drew Dober via submission in the third round of their fight this past Saturday. This win puts Makhachev on a seven-fight winning streak in the UFC. He will probably be looking to fight a guy inside the top ten in his next fight. That man should be Beneil Dariush. Makhachev has made a name for himself with his Sambo and Khabib-like style of fighting. That matches up great with Dariush as Dariush is a great grappler. Both Dariush and Makhachev have improved their striking significantly since their debut in the UFC. Dariush is currently ranked number nine in the lightweight division which would be going in the right direction for Makhachev.
Makhachev’s next fight: Beneil Dariush
Aleksandar Rakic won a unanimous decision on Saturday against Thiago Santos. Two judges saw it two rounds to one while the last judge saw all three rounds for Rakic. Coming into the fight, Rakic was ranked number four while Santos was ranked number two in the light heavyweight division. Rakic is probably one fight away from getting a shot at the title. That fight will most likely be against Dominick Reyes. Reyes is ranked number three in the division and hasn’t fought since losing to Jan Blachowicz in September of 2020. Reyes is on a two-fight losing streak but both of those fights were for the title. Reyes will need to get past Jiri Prochazka first though (and if he doesn’t, Jiri wouldn’t be a bad option either).
Rakic’s next fight: Dominick Reyes