The second UFC pay-per-view of the year was a success, as was the UFC’s return to Houston, Texas. Israel Adesanya defended his title against the man he took it from back in October of 2019. Tai Tuivasa, meanwhile, emerged as a legit heavyweight contender after knocking out Derrick Lewis. Here is who they should fight next, along with the rest of the UFC 271 main card winners.
What else can we say about Israel Adesanya that hasn’t already been said? Not only has he been on an absolute tear, but he is also defeating the top middleweights multiple times. On Saturday, Israel defeated Robert Whittaker once again, this time via unanimous decision. The thing that we really saw improvement in was the way he bounced back up as quickly as he did when he was taken down. The majority of the fight, Israel out-struck Whittaker, which helped him cruise to a unanimous victory.
Israel was clear in his post-fight speech, he wanted to fight Cannonier next. He also shared that he was interested in fighting in June of this year. With Cannonier winning earlier in spectacular fashion and being the only guy in the top five that Adesanya hasn’t fought, this fight makes the most sense.
Adesanya’s next fight: Jared Cannonier
Tuivasa secured his biggest victory of his career Saturday night. This fight absolutely delivered on the fireworks we all expected. The fight was amazing, and we saw hard shots taken and received by both guys. Tuivasa ended up knocking Lewis out in the second round. The Australian was ranked 11th in the heavyweight rankings before this fight. I expect to see him ranked in the top five or close to it next week, and get awarded another top five opponent. With rumors swirling about Jon Jones fighting Stipe Miocic, the match-up that makes the most sense to me right now for Tuivasa would be Ciryl Gane.
Tuivasa’s next fight: Ciryl Gane
In his highly anticipated fight with Derek Brunson, which many deemed as a number one contender’s fight, Cannonier faced a lot of early adversity in round one. Brunson came so close to finishing Cannonier in the first round after badly hurting him. Cannonier came back strong in the second round and ended up finishing a very tough Derek Brunson. The first man to do so since current champion, Israel Adesanya. In his post-fight interview, Cannonier demanded Dana White let him a fight for the middleweight title next. I think this was a great call out and should absolutely be the next fight for Israel Adesanya.
Cannonier’s next fight: Israel Adesanya
Renato Moicano picked up a beautiful submission victory against a tough Alexander Hernandez at UFC 271. The Brazilian has now won three of his four fights since moving up to lightweight in the UFC. I believe he deserves a top 15 ranked opponent next. A fellow Brazilian, Diego Ferreira, would fit that bill and be a very fun fight at lightweight.
Renato’s next fight: Diego Ferreira
Bobby Green received a ton of love from the Houston crowd Saturday night. He put on quite possibly one of the best performances of his UFC career. It seems like with every fight, Green continues to improve and look better. Saturday night, he was able to put together an amazing performance and win a unanimous decision over a tough Nasrat Haqparast. I think the fight that makes a ton of sense stylistically and has the ability to be Fight of the Night would be Bobby Green taking on Brad Riddell. The stand-up war would be an instant fan favorite and gives Bobby Green a shot of cracking the top 15.
Greens’ next fight: Brad Riddell