UFC 270 has come and gone, and while U.S. fans were irked by the $75 price tag, the card performed better than expected. What looked top-heavy on paper delivered exciting fights top to bottom, right from the opening bell of the very first bout.
The main card saw one title change hands, and a second champ retain his title — though Francis Ngannou may not be long for the UFC. It’s the losing side of the card we’re focusing on here, however. Let’s see what’s next for Ciryl Gane, Brandon Moreno and the rest.
Well, that was not the heavyweight title unification fight anyone saw coming. Except, apparently, Gane himself. When Francis Ngannou couldn’t get the job done with his power, he fell back on his wrestling, something many didn’t even know he had. Gane later stated that his team believed the wrestling-heavy approach was a possibility, and a good way for Ngannou to win rounds. In hindsight, if they were aware, more time spent on takedown defense and escapes would have been invaluable.
Gane is going to learn a lot from the first loss of his career. As good as his striking is, he clearly has holes in other areas. So, do you line him up with a wrestler, and see how quickly he can shore things up? It’s tempting, but not the right call. Instead, let’s match up Gane with #7 ranked Chris Daukaus, and leave someone like Curtis Blaydes for the fight after that.
Gane’s next fight: Chris Daukaus
The UFC has never seen fighters face off against one another four times. That’s about to change. After spending 75 minutes in the octagon together, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno are due for a fourth meeting. There’s no other fight you can make. Well, there is one, and that’s to book Figueiredo against the winner of Kai Kara-France and Askar Askarov. But that fight will still be there at the end of the year. Sometime this summer, you book Figueiredo vs. Moreno 4. Why? Their career series is still tied, at 1-1-1. And the third fight, which saw Figueiredo win a unanimous decision, with close. It wasn’t, as some are calling it, a robbery, given that Figueiredo had multiple knockdowns in the fight. Close enough, however, to justify a fourth meeting, especially given we want to know who wins this series.
If they draw again, heaven help us.
Moreno’s next fight: Deiveson Figueiredo
Promotional newcomer Andre Fialho looked very, very good in the opening round of his welterweight scrap with Michel Pereira. Then, in round two, Pereira’s explosive style allowed him to pull away. At times, Fialho looked like a deer in the headlights. The third round was closer, but Pereira took the win.
This was always going to be a difficult debut for Fialho, who has put in time with Bellator MMA, the PFL, and other organizations. Pereira is probably the best welterweight outside the top 15 right now, and may be ranked shortly. So give Fialho another solid fight, but just a small step back. Nicolas Dalby is coming off a loss, before that, he’d won two, and wound up with a no contest against Jesse Ronson. Dalby is in his second UFC stint, and has plenty of experience. Book it.
Fialho’s next fight: Nicolas Dalby
This is a tough one. Prior to UFC 270, Stamann was talking about taking the biggest, toughest fights he could find. Love the mentality, but he’s now 0-3, which is not a good spot to be in. Overall, Stamann is 5-4-1 in the promotion, and that might justify him getting a chance to turn things around. He definitely has the skill, now let’s see how he does against the loser of Khalid Taha vs. Mario Bautista, which goes down in February.
Stamann’s next fight: Loser of Khalid Taha vs. Mario Bautista
Trevin Giles has now lost two straight after falling to Michael Morales in the opening fight of the UFC 270 PPV. He’s 5-4 overall in the promotion. Giles has upside: the man defeated Roman Dolidze and James Krause inside the octagon. He also holds a win over Ryan Spann from back in their LFA days.
UFC 270 marked Giles welterweight debut; whether the weight cut was a factor is one question. But assuming he’ll give 170lbs another go, let’s match him up with Sasha Palatnikov, who has also lost two straight.
Giles’ next fight: Sasha Palatnikov