What’s Next: UFC 266 Losers

Brian Ortega, UFC 266
Brian Ortega, UFC 266 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Alexander Volkanovski defended his featherweight title with a decision victory over Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC 266. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko once again successfully defended her flyweight title with a TKO victory over Lauren Murphy. Today we will take a look into what is next for the losers of UFC 266.

Brian Ortega

Brian Ortega has career wins over Chan Sung Jung, Frankie Edger, and Cub Swanson. His only two losses are against Volkanovski and Max Holloway, with both of those fights being for the title. Ortega deserves another top-five fight for his next one and that’s probably what he is going to get. Max Holloway has a fight coming up against Yair Rodriguez and it is very plausible to think the winner will get the next crack at the title. With that being said Calvin Kattar went 2-0 in 2020 before losing his last fight in January to Holloway. Katter is currently ranked number five in the division and will likely be fighting Ortega in his next fight.

Ortega’s next fight: Calvin Kattar

Lauren Murphy / Cynthia Calvillo

Prior to her loss this past weekend, Murphy was on a five-fight winning streak. Although she was beaten soundly and finished in round four, Murphy will likely get another highly ranked opponent in her next fight. Cynthia Calvillo is new to the division and is coming off a loss to Jessica Andrade at UFC 266. Calvillo is ranked number five in the division currently and has a great wrestling background. Murphy has a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and could match up nicely to Calvillo’s wrestling. Since they both fought Saturday, assuming there are no serious injuries, the timing should work out well.

Murphy’s next fight: Cynthia Calvillo

Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz was finished in the third round this past weekend, in his much-anticipated return to the octagon after a multi-year absence. Falling victim to the power punches of Robbie Lawler, Diaz showed many bright points in the fight. His boxing looked crisp, and his cardio looked to be holding up in the third round. He may be feeling the damage at this stage of his career but he definitely has a lot of fight left in him and should be looking to stay active.

Kevin Holland has a bunch of hype around him, and he is fighting Kyle Daukaus in October. A fight with Holland and Diaz would be one of the most fan-favorite fights of the year. Kyle Daukaus still stands in the way of that fight happening but if Daukaus defeats Holland, he kind of takes Holland’s hype from him. A fight between Daukaus and Diaz could be just as entertaining and is probably actually a better stylistic match-up for Diaz. This of course only works if Diaz opts to stick with middleweight, as he did for the Lawler fight.

Diaz’s next fight: Winner of Holland-Daukaus 

Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jairzinho Rozenstruik lost a unanimous decision to Curtis Blaydes this past weekend. Rozenstruik only has three career losses now and those losses are to Blaydes, Francis Ngannou, and Ciryl Gane. 11 of his 12 professional wins are by knockout. He is a very entertaining heavyweight with top-notch kickboxing.

Alexander Volkov will be fighting Marcin Tybura in late October. Both Volkov and Tybura are close to Rozenstruik in the rankings. Volkov is six feet seven inches tall and is also a great kickboxer.  Tybura is a 28-fight veteran with 15 finishes in his professional career. Tybura is also riding a five-fight winning streak going into the Volkov fight. Either one of these guys would be a perfect opponent for Rozenstruik’s next fight.

Rozenstruik’s next fight: Loser of Tybura-Volkov