Jorge Masvidal just couldn’t handle the wrestling of Colby Covington at UFC 272, and it cost him. “Gamebred” wound up on the wrong end of a one-sided unanimous decision, despite landing a blistering shot that rocked “Chaos” in the fourth round.
“Gamebred” just signed a new contract with the UFC, one that reportedly puts him amoung the biggest earners in the promotion. So what’s next for Jorge, and the rest of the main card fighters who suffered defeat on Saturday? It’s time to play matchmaker.
Had Jorge Masvidal picked up the win at UFC 272, say, care of that blistering fourth-round shot that dropped Colby Covington, things would look very different for fan-favorite “Gamebred.”
Instead, he’s now lost three straight fights, albeit those defeats came to the champ, Kamaru Usman, twice, and now to Covington, a former interim champion.
Welterweight still has plenty of options for Jorge Masvidal, and that’s assuming he doesn’t decide to try his hand at lightweight again. There’s a happy medium, however. Back in 2013, Masvidal and Michael Chiesa fought in a lightweight battle, which Masvidal won via submission. Both have since moved to welterweight, but after some early success there, Chiesa has dropped two straight fights. He’s not booked currently, so let’s run it back in a new weight class.
Masvidal’s next fight: Michael Chiesa
What’s next for UFC 272 co-headliner Renato Moicano? Six months off, first of all. Moicano showed heart, and a heck of a chin, as he took a five-round drubbing at the hands of Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday. Many were calling for the fight to be stopped heading into the fourth and fifth rounds, and they weren’t exactly wrong, although Moicano’s best showing was actually in the fifth.
Moicano isn’t even ranked, and was just in a war on short notice with the #6 ranked fighter in the weight class, who is a former champ. You’ve got to reward that. Give him another ranked opponent, but one a little further back. Brad Riddell is ranked #14 and coming off a loss to Rafael Fiziev. Book it.
Moicano’s next fight: Renato Moicano
For many, Bryce Mitchell vs. Edson Barboza was the true co-main event at UFC 272. It had some real stakes to it, with Mitchell looking to move up the ladder, and prove he could handle a high-level striker.
He did just that. Mitchell even managed to drop Barboza, but the real story was his grappling. “Thug Nasty” is starting to look like the real deal, and he proved to be a genuinely caring person post-fight, announcing he’d give half his fight purse to kids in need back home in Arkansas (Dana White later said the promotion would foot the bill, allowing Mitchell to get paid the way he should).
The loss, meanwhile, trips Barboza up at 145 once again. He’s still a very good, very dangerous fighter regardless of division, but he’ll be sitting just outside the top 10 by the time the rankings are updated.
Dan Ige is also ranked, and has also lost his last two fights, just as Barboza has. The pair have fought before, in 2020, with Ige winning a split decision. It was somewhat controversial at the time, and it feels like running it back would be a smart choice right now. Only problem, Ige is matched up with Movsar Evloev. So let’s make it the loser of that match-up for Edson.
Barboza’s next fight: Rematch with Dan Ige or Movsar Evloev
A four-fight skid may send “Cowboy” Oliveira packing from the UFC. Then again, it may not. After all, Oliveira isn’t close to Sam Alvey territory yet, and he’s been a loyal soldier for the promotion.
Li Jingliang hasn’t fought since losing to Khamzat Chimaev last year. Like Oliveira, he’s been in the UFC for a while now, and is a fun, downright exciting fighter. Putting these two together could produce some real fireworks.
Oliveira’s next fight: Li Jingliang
As a disclaimer, we try to shy away from just suggesting fighters be cut in this column. Because we’re playing matchmaker, not playing with people’s job security. And it’s never a fun subject. But Hardy himself noted following his third consecutive loss that he needs to reevaluate things. He’s also fought out his UFC deal, and it’s hard to see them re-signing a fighter on a three-fight skid.
All of Hardy’s losses of late have come by KO/TKO, and that’s concerning. While his defeat at the hands of Sergey Spivak came via ground n’ pound, in some of those previous fights, he was getting tagged on the feet as well. The mystique of Hardy — mainly about his power, which resulted in contender Alexander Volkov showing him so much respect when they fought a few years ago — has been shattered. The way forward in this case may come by taking a step back.
If Hardy is serious about carrying on in his fighting career, some regional scene fights against lesser opponents would be smart. Should the UFC opt to keep him in the fold and give him another chance, it cannot be against anyone close to the rankings, unless they’re just using Hardy to raise the profile of someone on the way up. In this case, Alan Baudot would be a good match-up. He’s lost his last three fights, though one was overturned to a no contest after his opponent failed a drug test. The pair also have a similar amount of experience in the sport.
Hardy’s next fight: Alan Baudot