The UFC’s return to ESPN proper over the weekend turned out to be a banger of a card with a ton of exciting action. Jose Aldo took the W in the main event of UFC Vegas 44 in a great bantamweight showdown against Rob Font. In the co-feature, Brad Riddell was knocked out care of a third round wheel kick by Rafael Fiziev. What’s next for those who had a rough night at the office, like Font and Riddell? Let’s take a look.
It’s hard to see Font’s stock dropping much after that performance. He held his own against Aldo, and actually game out guns blazing in the opening round. Though Aldo got the win, there’s no shame in losing to the former champ, and Font still has wins over the likes of Marlon Moraes and Cody Garbrandt. Another big fight is probably in order, and honestly, the loser of Dominick Cruz vs. Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269 seems like a good one.
This goes one of two ways: Font either gets a crack at a third former champ (Cruz), or a rematch with the man who beat him back in 2017.
Font’s next fight: Loser of Dominick Cruz vs. Pedro Munhoz
City Kickboxing’s Brad Riddell gave as good as he got against friend Rafael Fiziev in the UFC Vegas 44 co-main event, right up until the wheel kick that ended things. Riddell is quickly becoming known as a must-watch fighter who will entertain win or lose. And he’s just five fights into his UFC career.
Riddell had been ranked 12th in the division, but will probably drop. Diego Ferreira is currently ranked 11th, but is coming off back-to-back losses. He’s set to take on Mateusz Gamrot later this month. This one pretty much books itself. Either would be an exciting fight, and the timing should work out.
Riddell’s next fight: Loser of Diego Ferreira vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Jimmy Crute has now suffered two rough nights at the office in his last two fights. While an injury soured the end to his fight with Anthony Smith, he was simply caught, more than once, against Jamahal Hill.
Crute is young (25), and 2-3 in his last five. Johnny Walker is young (29), and 2-3 in his last five. Walker is ranked #10, Crute was sitting at the #13 spot. Both need a boost, one will get it in this pairing.
Crute’s next fight: Johnny Walker
Brazil’s Leonardo Santos was doing great against Clay Guida until he gassed himself out kneeing Guida in the face. It’s hard to criticize Santos too much, as it really did seem like Guida was done. Instead, ol’ Clay had a comeback of the year style performance, and Santos was choked out.
Santos has now lost two straight, and at age 41 isn’t long for the sport. While the UFC may want to feed him to an up-and-comer, Jim Miller is 38, and while coming off a win, just snapped a two-fight skid. Like Guida, this could be a fun match-up.
Santos’ next fight: Jim Miller
After losing to his training partner, Chris Curtis, Brendan Allen probably isn’t getting his desired rematch with Sean Strickland.
Instead, let’s line him up for (potentially) another rematch. Eryk Anders faces Andre Muniz at UFC 269 this weekend. Give Allen the loser. If it’s Anders, it’s a rematch of their LFA fight from a few years back, which Anders won to claim the inaugural LFA light heavyweight title. If it’s Muniz, it’s still a great rebound fight, as Muniz has been on a tear.
Allen’s next fight: Loser of Eryk Anders vs. Andre Muniz
No one is quite the same after fighting CM Punk, am I right?
Mickey Gall has struggled to find consistency since starting his career with wins over Punk and wunderkind Sage Northcutt, neither of whom are with the promotion today. He’s traded wins and losses ever since, in fact. Now 29, Gall is once again looking to get back in the win column. Well, Darian Weeks lost on the same card as Gall. He came into the promotion at 5-0, which is awfully green to join the UFC. Gall is 7-4, which means he has a fair bit less experience than Week’s opponent at UFC Vegas 44, Bryan Barberena.
The timing works, the experience level is even enough, and we’d know who the promotion should keep around.
Gall’s next fight: Darian Weeks