Despite UFC Vegas 27 not having quite the fan fare that some of the recent cards have had, it produced some winners with real relevance. More than one of the fighters on the main card have serious claims to a title shot or close to it. Let’s take a look at who they should fight next.
Rob Font put on an absolute masterclass at UFC Vegas 27. Not only did he put it to Cody Garbrandt for 5 rounds, but did so scoring the second most strikes in bantamweight history. However, Font sadly finds himself in the no-man’s land at 135lbs. The next title fight is going to be a rematch and then there is a clear-cut number one contenders bout waiting in the wings (Dillashaw/Sandhagen). So what can Font do? Could he wait and get a title shot anyways? Not likely. He needs to grab the next highest ranked fighter with relevance and put a similar beating on them. Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz are set to fight later this summer. Font would be wise to keep an eye on that fight should one fall out or even to just snag the winner shortly thereafter.
Rob Font’s Next Fight: Aldo/Munhoz Winner
There’s an argument to be made that coming off her title loss, Weili Zhang might already be in line for a title challenge. However, Carla Esparza certainly made it hard on the UFC brass to feel good in that decision. Not only did she pick up another top notch win, but she did so in dominating fashion. Add in the fact that the narrative writes itself with Namajunas losing the inaugural strawweight title shot to the Cookie Monster, and I think this is the one to make.
Carla Esparza’s Next Fight: Rose Namajunas
In his first fight in the UFC, and his Contender Series bout for that matter, Jared Vanderaa looked largely outmatched on the feet. He looked like a grappling specialist who wasn’t even all that great off of his back. UFC Vegas 27 changed that narrative quite a bit as not only did he win, but he pieced up Justin Tafa. A nice step up in competition, that would surely test those hands further, is Sergei Pavlovich. While some might think that’s too much, too soon – Pavlovich is just 2-1 in the UFC with Maurice Greene as his best win. Vanderaa would actually be a step up for him as well.
Jared Vanderaa’s Next Fight: Sergei Pavlovich
In his UFC Vegas 27 win over Bill Algeo, Ricardo Ramos’ wrestling really looked like it had taken an upward turn. He looked like he couldn’t be denied, despite his love for throwing hands earlier in his UFC career. That trajectory reminds me of another featherweight. Gavin Tucker started his career a brawler and since has found his love for wrestling and grinding. Both are 3-1 in their last 4 and could take a step forward with a win over the other.
Ricardo Ramos’ Next Fight: Gavin Tucker
Hermansson used his post-fight time to call for a fight with Robert Whittaker. That callout is just a bit too lofty for me. Whittaker is likely waiting for a title shot and isn’t in a rush to fight someone 5 or 6 spots down in the middleweight rankings from him. However, that doesn’t mean that Hermansson’s UFC Vegas 27 performance wasn’t worth a move up the rankings. Just a bit ahead of him is Derek Brunson who just got off of a similar performance against Edmen Shahbazyan. A fight between the two would give one of them the boost to push for that next level of opponent. Brunson is booked with Darren Till at the moment, but Hermansson could still be next after that fight win or lose given the congested top of the weight class.
Jack Hermansson’s Next Fight: Derek Brunson