What’s Next: UFC 271 Losers

Robert Whittaker UFC 271 presser
Robert Whittaker, UFC 271 pre-fight press conference Credit: Dave Noseworthy/Cageside Press

Israel Adesanya retained his UFC middleweight title with a decision win over Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 this past weekend. In the co-main event, Tai Tuivasa knocked out Derrick Lewis in the second round. Today we will be looking into what is next for the losers of UFC 271.

Robert Whittaker

Whittaker is 11-2 since moving to the UFC’s middleweight division with both of his losses being to Adesanya. Even after coming off a loss, Whittaker is still looked at as the second-best middleweight in the UFC. Meaning that any contenders looking to be next in line should go through him. Jared Cannonier is likely set for a title shot, with guys like Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa, and Sean Strickland waiting in the wings for the next shot. Vettori beat Costa in their most recent fight, after their respective unsuccessful title runs.

Strickland is on a six-fight win streak with his most recent victories being over Uriah Hall and Jack Hermansson. He would likely need one more fight against someone like Costa or Derek Brunson to get a shot at the title. That leaves Marvin Vettori left to take a fight with Whittaker to get one step closer to another title shot. The fight makes even more sense when you consider that Vettori and Strickland are pals, meaning that fight’s unlikely to happen.

Whittaker’s next fight: Marvin Vettori

Derrick Lewis

Derrick Lewis is 4-2 in the UFC since 2020. Both of his losses were by TKO by Ciryl Gane and most recently, Tai Tuivasa. Lewis is a big draw for the UFC with 21 of his 26 career wins being by knockout. Tuivasa was ranked number 11 in the division on Saturday when he knocked Lewis out. That means Lewis will likely move down significantly in the rankings.

Tom Aspinall will be fighting Alexander Volkov on March 19 at UFC London. Aspinall would soar up the rankings with a win over the number five ranked Volkov. It would benefit Lewis to fight another up-and-comer in Aspinall, but it would also be very interesting to see a rematch between Lewis and Volkov.

Lewis’ next fight: Winner of Volkov-Aspinall 

Derek Brunson

Derek Brunson was knocked out in the second round by Jared Cannonier this past weekend. He has said that he wants to fight one more time before retiring. If that is the case, Sean Strickland would be the perfect opponent. Strickland always knows how to hype a fight and is predominantly a striker. That plays right into Brunson’s grappling-heavy style of fighting.

Brunson’s retirement fight: Sean Strickland

Alexander Hernandez

Alexander Hernandez was submitted by Renato Moicano in the second round at UFC 271. Hernandez looked great at the beginning of the fight but ended up getting clipped in the second round and was submitted shortly after. For his next fight, Hernandez should be looking to fight someone that is a good grappler to prove he can keep the fight standing. Jordan Leavitt is perfect for the job. Leavitt is an up-and-comer and has won six of his nine wins by submission. He is 2-1 in he has UFC with wins over both Matt Wiman and Matt Sayles.

Hernandez’s next fight: Jordan Leavitt 

Nasrat Haqparast

Nasrat Haqparast lost a unanimous decision to Bobby Green this past weekend. This loss puts Haqparast on a two-fight losing streak and makes him 5-4 in the UFC. Haqparast has a very exciting fighting style with nine of his 13 wins being by knockout. With his UFC future dangling in front of him, he should be looking to take part in the most exciting fight possible in his next fight.

Matt Frevola may be coming off a win, but he’s exactly the sort of guy to produce an exciting fight with Haqparast. The timing works pretty well, as the “Steamrolla” competed at UFC 270 and doesn’t have anything booked currently.

Haqparast’s next fight: Matt Frevola