After a successful first pay-per-view, the UFC returned to the Apex this past Saturday for UFC Vegas 47, and the third card of the year seriously delivered. A middleweight title contender emerged, and huge prospects continue to impress. Oh, and we got yet another Fight of the Year contender that will be talked about in December. So what should be next for the winners? Keep reading.
Sean Strickland continues to roll at middleweight. Since his life-altering motorcycle accident in 2018, Strickland is undefeated and is going to crack the top five in the middleweight rankings. If Strickland went out there and finished Jack Hermansson, there could be an argument that he should get a title shot; unfortunately, it wasn’t a super impressive performance. With that being said, his next fight should be a No. 1 contender fight. He should fight the loser of Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier, which goes down this Saturday at UFC 271.
Strickland’s next fight: Loser of Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier
Nick Maximov picked up a huge win on Saturday by handing Punahele Soriano his second consecutive loss. While it wasn’t the most exciting win, a win is a win nonetheless. It is clear that the UFC likes Maximov, because they put him in the co-main event, and it all boils down to his connection with the Diaz brothers. Maximov is still only 24-years old, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the UFC put him up against another top prospect. A match-up against another elite grappler like Gerald Meerschaert makes sense and would be fun to watch.
Maximov’s next fight: Gerald Meerschaert
Yep, you better be all aboard the Shavkat Rakhmonov train because he is for real. He made easy work of Carlston Harris on Saturday to continue his 100% finish rate and keep his perfect record intact. He, without a doubt, deserves a top 15 opponent next; the question is who? Two names stick out to me — Geoff Neal and Michael Chiesa. I’m leaning more towards Neal as his power and striking could be a great next test for the “Nomad.”
Rakhmonov’s next fight: Geoff Neal
Brendan Allen got back into the win column, up a weight division against an always tough Sam Alvey. Allen said he has no plans to stay at 205, so back to middleweight he goes. The 26-year old had an awesome 2021, only for it to be derailed in December when he was knocked out by Chris Curtis, which definitely set him back. However, Allen is undoubtedly still one of the brightest prospects in the middleweight division. A rematch with Eryk Anders later in the year would be a great idea for him. Anders defeated Allen in LFA back in 2017.
Allen’s next fight: Eryk Anders
The original Ultimate Fighter finale finally went down, and Bryan Battle came out on top as he defeated Tresean Gore via unanimous decision. Battle is now 2-0 in the UFC. For his next fight, he should fight a tough veteran like Jun Yong Park to see where he stacks up. Park is coming off a knockout loss to Gregory Rodrigues.
Battle’s next fight: Jun Yong Park
Julian Erosa’s call out of Steven Peterson paid off as he defeated him via split decision in what was an absolute banger of a fight. Erosa was awarded Fight of the Night and nabbed an extra $50,000 because Peterson missed weight. Erosa has been on a roll since returning to the promotion after being cut and is must-watch television. Erosa is climbing the division and is getting close to a top 15 match-up. He should fight Hakeem Dawodu next. Dawodu also picked up a win Saturday, and matching the pair up would be absolute fireworks.
Erosa’s next fight: Hakeem Dawodu