What’s Next: UFC Columbus Winners

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes
Daniel Omielanczuk, right, fights Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Curtis Blaydes held his place at the top of the heavyweight division at UFC Columbus with a knockout over Chris Daukaus in the main event. In the co-main event, Alexa Grasso submitted Joanne Wood in the first round. Today we will be looking into what is next for the winners of UFC Columbus.

Curtis Blaydes

After his win over Daukaus, Blaydes said that he would like to fight Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight title next. This win puts Blaydes on a two-fight win streak and he should be ranked inside the top three of the division. With the champion, Francis Ngannou, taking some time off following knee surgery, an interim title fight against Gane would be the best move for Blaydes. Whether the UFC books it remains to be seen.

Blaydes’ next fight: Ciryl Gane 

Alexa Grasso

Alexa Grasso should be ranked close to the top five in the division when the rankings are updated this week. With that in mind, she should be looking to take a fight that will get her another step closer to a title fight with the champion, Valentina Shevchenko. In May, Amanda Ribas will be moving up a weight class to fight Katlyn Chookagian. Coincidentally, Grasso called out Katlyn Chookagian for her next fight. Chookagian would be in line for a number one contender’s fight with a win over Ribas, and if Ribas was to win she would likely switch places with Chookagian in the division. Either way, fighting the winner of that fight would benefit Grasso the most going forward.

Grasso’s next fight: Winner of Chookagian-Ribas

Bryan Barberena

Bryan Barberena went to war with Matt Brown at UFC Columbus. Both men threw caution to the wind, and ended up winning a Fight of the Night bonus for their performance. Barberena received a hefty dose of boos from the crowd because Brown was the hometown fighter, but that performance wasn’t worth anything less than a standing ovation. Barberena should be looking to keep his hype train rolling by fighting an exciting welterweight in his next bout.

Khaos Williams is 4-1 in the UFC with three of those wins being by knockout. He will be fighting Randy Brown early in May. This works out perfectly for Barberena because if Williams wins he gets to fight a welterweight with knockout power that is on a two-fight winning streak. If Brown wins, Barberena will get the chance to avenge one of his UFC losses from earlier in his career. Barberena will need a new UFC deal first however.

Barberena’s next fight: Winner of Williams-Brown 

Kai Kara-France

Kai Kara-France won a razor-close decision over Askar Askarov this past weekend at UFC Columbus. France is now on a three-fight win streak and will likely be moving into the top five for his next fight. Deiveson Figueiredo will be defending that flyweight title later this year against Brandon Moreno. Meaning unless France wants to wait another year and a half to fight again, he will likely have to take another fight before getting a crack at the title.

Alexandre Pantoja is on a two-fight winning streak and is currently ranked one spot behind Moreno in the rankings. Pantoja is the next best option for France if he would like to stay active in the coming months.

Kara-France’s next fight: Alexandre Pantoja

Neil Magny

Neil Magny won a split decision over Max Griffin this past weekend. The fight was very close but ultimately, Magny was able to squeak out a win. This win makes him 5-1 in the past two years with his only loss being a decision loss to Michael Chiesa. Magny has looked like a completely different fighter in that fight with Chiesa versus his fight with Geoff Neal just four months later.

Michael Chiesa has not won since his decision win over Magny in January of last year. Magny could take a rematch with Chiesa to prove that he has fixed the holes in his game. It would allow him to move forward in the division and chase the title.

Magny’s next fight: Rematch with Michael Chiesa 

Marc Diakiese

Marc Diakiese rained of the “Slava Claus” parade at UFC Columbus. Viacheslav Borshchev had his takedown defense exposed, as Diakiese had the perfect gameplan to defeat the Contender Series winner.

Up next for “Bonecrusher” will hopefully be a fight at home in the U.K. for the Congolese-born fighter. Who should that be against? Lightweight is deep, and Diakiese just snapped a two-fight skid. His losses include names like Dan Hooker and Rafael Fiziev, so fighting dangerous opponents is nothing new. How about John Maksessi? He doesn’t have a fight booked, has been out a while, but is the type of hard-hitting foe that would draw interest.

Diakiese’s next fight: John Makdessi


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