What’s Next: UFC Vegas 55 Losers

Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira, UFC Vegas 55
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 21: (L-R) Holly Holm kicks Ketlen Vieira of Brazil in a bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 21, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 55 wasn’t what you’d call a stacked card, but it wasn’t a bad card either. Plenty of big finishes, plenty of excitement, and a bit of a judging controversy in the main event. The closeness of some of the main card affairs makes matchmaking for the losers a rather perilous undertaking, but we’ll give it our best shot.

Holly Holm

There are plenty of voices letting themselves be heard in the wake of Holm vs. Vieira, proclaiming that Holly was robbed and should have won the fight. While they may have a case, shouting “robbery” every time a close decision goes against your fighter is akin to crying wolf. After a while, it stops resonating.

Holm wasn’t robbed, she just lost a close fight. There’s certainly a case for Vieira winning under the scoring criteria. You can make an argument for Holm as well, and argue until the cows come home, and then we can argue about why the cows were allowed out in the first place— but the bottom line is, no judging system is perfect, and there’s always going to be a human element to it. Had the decision been made in reverse, we’d probably be stuck with the same argument. Or maybe not, as Holm’s popularity could be a factor here.

In any case, Holm lost a close fight, and the loss won’t hold her back much. She still has a few fights left on her contract, something she confirmed during Fight Week, so talk of boxing will have to wait. The question now becomes, bantamweight, or featherweight? And the answer may be that there is a shorter path to gold at 145.

At bantamweight, Holm is at the very least behind Vieira, and despite having a win over her, potentially Raquel Pennington, who has won four straight fights and is starting to make some noise again. But past the rematch with Pena, Amanda Nunes has few options at featherweight. If she’s holding on to that belt and plans to defend it, all Holm needs really is a single win.

Holm was supposed to fight Norma Dumont last fall, but was forced out due to injury. You can rebook that fight. You could book Holm at 145 against Macy Chiasson, who just beat Dumont at featherweight. That makes even more sense.

Holm’s next fight: Macy Chiasson

Santiago Ponzinibbio

If only Santiago Ponzinibbio hadn’t tired himself out swinging for the fences early in his fight with Michel Pereria. It was a fantastic bout, but with a more measured approach, Ponzinibbio might have walked away victorious.

Instead, he may drop out of the welterweight rankings; if not, he’ll probably be right on the cusp at #15 when they update. In either case, there’s a good chance he winds up fighting someone outside the rankings, having lost two straight. Danny Roberts recently had a two-fight win streak snapped, and he’d be a good match-up. Roberts has fought nothing but killers in his UFC run, Mike Perry, Pereira, and Francisco Trinaldo among them.

Pinzinibbio’s next fight: Danny Roberts

Dusko Todorovic

Former Bellator standout Chidi Njokuani, a.k.a. Chidi “Bang Bang,” has started his UFC career off with a bang. Two fights, two first round finishes from the middleweight. Njokuani, brother of former UFC star Anthony Njokuani, is a tried-and-true veteran of the fight game. He’s struggled against high level grapplers in the past, but is a threat to just about anyone else.

Dusko Todorovic hasn’t been so lucky. He’s 2-3 in the UFC and badly in need of a win after being finished by Chidi. Fellow middleweight Eryk Anders also lost at UFC Vegas 55, and the timing there works out.

Todorovic’s next fight: Eryk Anders

Polyana Viana

Baby Shark, do-do-dodo-do-do… sorry. The aforementioned “Baby Shark,” Tabatha Ricci, picked up her second straight win UFC Vegas 55, winning a decision over Polyana Viana. Small even for a strawweight, Ricci has expressed interest in moving to atomweight should the UFC open up a 105 pound division for women. Dana White has previously said he’s open to that idea, but that the pandemic was the wrong time to do it. That might mean next year, it might never happen, but for now, Ricci will swim in the strawweight waters.

That brings us to Viana. The loss to Ricci snapped a two-fight win streak. Sticking with some straight up simple matchmaking, Elise Reed lost to Sam Hughes earlier on the UFC Vegas 55 card. A former CFFC champ, Reed is now 1-2 in the UFC and on the bubble. The timing here works, book it.

Viana’s next fight: Elise Reed

Eryk Anders

Well, this is easy. Dusko. See above.

Ander’s next fight: Dusko Todorovic