Derrick Lewis ended the year in a big way for the UFC with a first-round knockout over Chris Daukaus in the main event of UFC Vegas 45. Today, we will be looking into what is next for “The Black Beast” and other winners at UFC Vegas 45.
After his first-round victory this past weekend, Lewis said that he doesn’t want to be the main event in his next fight. Adding that he does not want to fight in a five-round fight. While some might think this is Lewis being funny, it is entirely possible that Lewis is serious and doesn’t want to take part in a main event bout if it means the potential of five rounds. You can never really tell with Derrick Lewis.
If that is the case, however, he should be looking for the most exciting, barn-burning fight he can get. One that probably wouldn’t go five rounds, or even three, anyway. Lewis has yet to fight Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Rozenstruik would be a perfect fit for Lewis because he is predominantly a kickboxer. Although Rozenstruik is more of a methodic striker, it is better than Lewis fighting a grappler.
Lewis’ next fight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Belal Muhammad defeated Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 45. Muhammad hasn’t lost a fight since his decision loss to Geoff Neal in January of 2019. Since that loss, Muhammad is 6-0-1 and has wins over Takashi Sato, Dhiego Lima, Demian Maia, and now Stephen Thompson.
After the fight, Muhammad called out the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, and Leon Edwards. Muhammad fought Edwards in March but the fight ended in no contest due to an accidental eye poke. Leon Edwards and Viente Luque are the two fighters that are closest to a title shot. Therefore Muhammad should fight whoever doesn’t get the next title shot. With a win in that fight, he would definitely be next in line for a shot at the title himself.
A lot of this boils down to what the UFC does with Edwards, but either fighter makes for a solid match-up.
Muhammad’s next fight: Leon Edwards or Vicente Luque
Amanda Lemos won a razor-close split decision over Angela Hill this past weekend. This win makes Lemos 5-1 in the UFC and puts her on a five-fight win streak. Michelle Waterson is set to fight Amanda Ribas in March. Waterson is a crafty veteran and Ribas is an up-and-coming prospect in the UFC’s women’s strawweight division. Both women are ranked above Lemos in the rankings. If either one of these women were to pull from this fight, Lemos would be a great short-notice replacement as that would give her three months off. If the fight goes through as planned, give Lemos the winner.
Lemos’ next fight: Winner of Waterson vs. Ribas
With three straight wins, Ricky Simon is likely to be back in the bantamweight rankings this week. His KO of Raphael Assuncao, who was ranked #12, almost certainly ensures that.
Following the fight, Simon called for a rematch between himself and Rob Font, or for a crack at Sean O’Malley. With his performance at UFC 269, O’Malley is himself in the bantamweight rankings at long last. A fight between them was nearly booked earlier this year. It makes even more sense when both have a number next to their name.
Simon’s next fight: Sean O’Malley
Mateusz Gamrot finished Carlos Diego Ferreira in the second round due to a knee to the body while Gamrot had Ferreira’s back on the ground. Gamrot is now 3-1 in the UFC with three straight finishes. He just defeated number 12 ranked, Diego Ferreira and will likely be in the top 15 when the rankings are updated. Gregor Gillespie is coming off a TKO victory over Diego Ferreira in May and is currently ranked number 10 in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Gamrot’s striking has been on display in all of his UFC fights but his grappling has only been shown in his submission victory over Jeremy Stephens. Gillespie would be a good fight to test Gamrot’s world-class grappling. A fight with Gillespie will also give Gamrot a chance to continue climbing the lightweight rankings.
Gamrot’s next fight: Gregor Gillespie
“Killer” Cub Swanson added to his highlight reel with his finish of Darren Elkins at UFC Vegas 45.
Following the fight, the veteran revealed he was considering a drop to bantamweight moving forward. Let’s pump the brakes on that idea for now. Swanson has won three of his last four at featherweight. Following his own win on Saturday’s card, Canada’s Charles Jourdain called out Cub. Seems like there’s a little bit of bad blood there. Both men are very creative strikers. It sounds like a lot of fun, and Swanson was open to the idea, so that’s the direction to go in.
Swanson’s next fight: Charles Jourdain