UFC Vegas 28 wasn’t exactly a barn burner. Coming off a week off, and with a stacked PPV on the next weekend, the UFC didn’t exactly load up this card. However, that doesn’t mean the results didn’t produce some movement in the respective divisions of the winning fighters. Today we look at five notable winners and where they ought to go next.
Bigi Boy did eveything we expected him too. He went in there and looked sort of tentative for the first four-plus minutes of the fight. He followed that up by landing with his signature power and putting Augusto Sakai right to sleep. The win undoubtedly bumps him up the division, but with losses to people not all that far in front of him, he has limited options. Curtis Blaydes is looking for a bounce back fight after his loss to Derrick Lewis. It would be a chance for Blaydes to prove getting KO’d by Lewis was a fluke in facing another power puncher. It’d also let Rozenstruik test out his own takedown defense.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s Next Fight: Curtis Blaydes
Tybura is another heavyweight in a tricky spot. The win over Harris made it five straight for the Polish native, but he also has a recent loss to the UFC Vegas 28 main event loser Augusto Sakai. So how high are we really ready to push him up the division? Later in the summer, Chris Daukaus and Shamil Abdurakhimov face off. The winner of that would be about the spot for Tybura. The fact that he has a loss to his Russian counterpart already makes that fight less tempting, but it’s old enough that you might run it back anyways.
Marcin Tybura’s Next Fight: Abdurakhimov/Daukaus Winner
Speaking of weird positions, Santiago Ponzinibbio looked like a completely different fighter than his first comeback fight. Heck, he looked like a different fighter from the first to the second and third rounds. So is he the former top 10 guy that we all had pegged for contender fights? Or is he an edge of the top 15 guy who still needs to prove he can repeat those last two rounds? I’m a little bit on the side of the latter and wouldn’t exactly like to see him in with the Geoff Neals of the world yet. James Krause is always game for a big fight like Ponzinibbio. He’d also be the perfect test to see if ol’ Ponz is back or not.
Santiago Ponzinibbio’s Next Fight: James Krause
Montana De La Rosa
Montana De La Rosa showed quite a bit of improvement this time out. While her striking is still lagging behind her submission offense, it seems to be picking up a bit. There was also a marked improvement in her ground and pound as she picked up her first TKO victory. While Lipski isn’t exactly known for her ground game, it was good for De La Rosa to get a win over a striker. For her next task, she should face one a little more well versed in grappling. Antonina Shevchenko seems about the right step forward for that purpose.
Montana De La Rosa’s Next Fight: Antonina Shevchenko
I think a lot of people wrote off Latifi when he decided to move up to heavyweight. Why wouldn’t they? He’s 5’9″ and now facing the biggest guys in the UFC. However, he’s shown that he is an apt wrestler in a division that doesn’t have a lot of those. He may not be ready for a ranked opponent yet, but his win over Tanner Boser at UFC Vegas 28 shows he needs to be taken seriously. A good test for him would be someone who can stuff his wrestling or even take him down. Alexandr Romanov is coming off a lackluster performance and probably is not demanding a huge step up in competition. Figuring out which of those is ready for the top 15 would be a nice next move and answer a lot of questions about Latifi’s size in this division.
Ilir Latifi’s Next Fight: Alexandr Romanov