What’s Next: UFC Columbus Losers

Chris Daukaus UFC
Chris Daukaus, UFC Vegas 45 weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

For the second Saturday in a row, the UFC was on the road this past weekend: not in Vegas, not in Abu Dhabi. Instead, the promotion returned to Columbus, Ohio, a make-up date for 2020’s cancelled Fight Night event. UFC Columbus didn’t hit the highs that the London card did a week earlier, but it still produced some entertaining fights — and more importantly, some very relevant ones for their respective divisions.

What’s next for the losing side of the UFC Columbus card? Here’s our stab at playing matchmaker this week.

Chris Daukaus

There’s a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater in MMA. A couple of losses, and somehow, Daukaus is being looked at like he should be on the scrap heap.

Let’s be real: we’re not in Sam Alvey territory here. Daukaus is an up-and-coming talent in the heavyweight division who has been given back-to-back fights against the Knockout King, and Wrestling King (even though Blaydes never used it) in the weight class.

Yes, he came up short both times. And all that means is, you slow his roll. Give him some time to develop. Before he lost two straight fights, he’d won five. And the guys he’s losing to? A multi-time title challenger in Lewis, and a future one in Blaydes.

Tai Tuivasa called out Tom Aspinall just over a week ago, and we still like that fight. For Daukaus, how about #13 ranked Augusto Sakai? They’re of a similar age, experience level, and Sakai has lost three straight. Daukaus wins, and he’s back in the fans’ good graces, not that he ever should have left them. He loses, then maybe there’s a little more reason for concern.

Daukaus’ next fight: Augusto Sakai

Joanne Wood

It is hard for a self-professed “JoJo” fan to admit, but Joanne Wood may not ever fight for a title in the UFC. Her decision to turn down a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko a couple of years back will be up there with Hatsu Hioki levels of regret for many fans.

To borrow from Max Holloway and a million other sports figures, it is what it is. Wood dropped her third straight fight at UFC Columbus, and once again, her weakness was on the ground. She took it all in stride, responding to the loss on social media by saying “This will be an easy time to say that I’m done but I ain’t, I’m just in with the best in the world and [I’ll] take my place further down the ladder while continuing to work hard everyday and most of all enjoying everyday.. nothing changes there.

Further down the ladder is the right call. At this point, it seems like a better idea to book fun fights for Wood. A rematch with Andrea “KGB” Lee would be interesting, but she’s on a two-fight win streak at the moment and booked against Viviane Araujo. Instead, let’s go right outside the rankings. Antonina Shevchenko is booked opposite Cortney Casey next month. If Shevchenko loses, she’ll be on an 0-3 run like Wood. If she wins, a rematch with Casey isn’t a bad idea. The pair fought in 2015, but it was Casey’s UFC debut, at a lower weight class.

Wood’s next fight: Antonina Shevchenko-Cortney Casey loser

Matt Brown

Even losing a split decision, his fight with Bryan Barberena would have been a great fight for “The Immortal” to go out on. It could have easily gone his way, it had the fans on their feet, and the pair earned Fight of the Night at UFC Columbus.

Assuming the 41-year old welterweight fights on, how about Cowboy Oliveira? He’s lost four straight, is known for fun fights, and was just finished by elbows, something Brown knows a thing or two about.

Brown’s next fight: Alex Oliveira

Askar Askarov

Things were going well for Askar Askarov at UFC Columbus right up until they weren’t. When Kai Kara-France came on in the second half of the fight, Askarov saw his shot at the title slip away. Kara-France will be next in line now, even if he has to wait for a fourth fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno.

As for Askarov, he’s already beat Alexandere Pantoja, and the next highest ranked name, just behind him at the moment, is Brandon Royval. He’s set to face Matt Schnell in May; give Askar Askarov the winner.

Askarov’s next fight: Royval-Schnell winner

Max Griffin

Decisions have not been kind to Max Griffin over the years, and he lost a split decision against the highly ranked Neil Magny at UFC Columbus.

That snapped a three-fight win streak for Max “Pain,” but it shouldn’t set him back too far. Magny was ranked #9, let’s give Max another crack at the top 15. Li Jingliang sits at #13, and that sounds like a really fun fight.

Griffin’s next fight: Li Jingliang

Viacheslav Borshchev

No milk, no cookies for “Slava Claus,” who had to suffer through a wrestling-heavy attack from Marc Diakiese on Saturday. If nothing else, Borshchev knows exactly what he needs to work on moving forward. And that’s clearly his takedown defense.

So, do you throw him a bone and set him opposite a striker, or see how much he can shore up that wrestling D and book him against a wrestler?

We’ll go with someone a little more well-rounded. France’s Fares Ziam is 2-2 in the UFC, coming off a loss, with five career knockouts and four submissions. Let’s see if this match-up puts a smile on Viacheslav’s face.

Borshchev’s next fight: Fares Ziam


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