What’s Next: UFC Long Island Losers

Brian Ortega UFC 222
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Elmont, New York was the landing spot for UFC Long Island on Saturday night, as the UFC returned to the Long Island area for only the second time in the promotion’s history.

On a night in which there were huge title implications in the main event, MMA being MMA, the answers we were waiting for were left unanswered as the main event ended in extremely unfortunate fashion.

Let’s take a look at what could be next for the losers on the night.

Brian Ortega

“T-City” came into the UFC Long Island main event as the second ranked featherweight on the roster, and one of three fighters in the division who have already had more than one crack at the title. All the talk going into this fight was whether Yair could find himself getting his hand raised, as it would be new blood for the current featherweight king, Alexander Volkanovski.

Once again, spectators were shown just how unforgiving this sport can be. With just over a minute left in the first round, Ortega managed to get the fight to the mat, but found himself with his arm caught in between Yair’s legs, with the 29-year-old threatening a submission. Ortega’s right arm popped out in a quick scramble, ending the fight before it even had chance to get going.

With it likely that Rodriguez will fight either Josh Emmett or Volkanovski next instead of a rematch with Ortega, the next best thing for Ortega is Calvin Kattar.

Brian Ortega’s next fight: Calvin Kattar 

Michelle Waterson-Gomez

“The Karate Hottie” found herself on the wrong side of a submission to top strawweight prospect Amanda Lemos at UFC Long Island.

Despite the 36-year-old only earning 1 win in her last 5, her strength of competition should not be understated. Her three losses prior to Lemos all came against either the champion or top five contenders in the division. She is now in a difficult position in her career though, and I’d expect her next fight to be one of her last.

Waterson-Gomez’ next fight: Ariane Carnelossi

Muslim Salikhov

“The King of Kung Fu” last tasted defeat back in 2017. But since then, he has only competed six times. The consensus in this fight was that he may be able to sail to a decision victory over Li Jingliang. Despite that, he actually found himself KO’d in the second round by a perfect right cross from “The Leech.”

Salikhov could find himself fighting the winner of the welterweight bout between Nicolas Dalby and Claudio Silva this upcoming weekend in London.

Muslim Salikhov’s next fight: Winner of Dalby vs Silva 

Su Mudaerji

Coming into the weekend, fight fans had their focus on two fights in particular that they thought could be Fight of the Year contenders, those two being the main event and Burgos vs Jourdain.

The men’s flyweight bout on the night in fact ended up taking the title for possible round of the year. Round 2 of Schnell vs. Mudaerji had everything you could possibly want from one fight, never mind one round. After the fight, Mudaerji’s manager admitted that he came into the bout with an injury to his knee, a similar injury that prevented him from fighting Tim Elliot back in June last year.

You wouldn’t have known that in the fight though if it wasn’t for the knee sleeves as “The Tibetan Eagle” was lighting Schnell up from all angles. Mudaerji had the clear advantage on the feet, and he almost made a highlight of that in round 2, when he wobbled Schnell a total of six times.

Despite coming within touching distance of victory, Schnell rallied one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history, putting a stop to Su Mudaerji’s rise of the division. The 26-year-old’s stock will have risen regardless, and finally a match-up with Manel Kape may be on the horizon after being booked once before.

Mudaerji’s next fight: Manel Kape

Charles Jourdain

“Air” Jourdain’s stock has risen despite losing an extremely close decision to Shane Burgos this past weekend. In a fight that fans were expecting a back and fourth striking match, we saw “Hurricane” Shane utilize his BJJ acumen and his clear advantage in terms of size.

Jourdain came close to a finish in the final round with a barrage of punches in which Burgos absorbed, like he always does. No matter who Jourdain fights, you can always count on it to be fireworks.

A featherweight match-up I would love to see is Jourdain vs. Ilia Topuira with Topuira coming back down to the 145lb division.

Charles Jourdain’s next fight: Ilia Topuira 

Miesha Tate

After a 5 year lay off, Tate came back to the Bantamweight division hoping for a career resurgence. After a win over Marion Reneau and a loss to contender Ketlen Vieira, “Cupcake” Tate decided a move down was in order.

Lauren Murphy was the one to welcome her to the division, coming off the back of a loss to the champion, Valentina Shevchenko. Career resurgences were apparent, but unfortunately for Tate, they weren’t in her favour. A convincing loss to Murphy has resulted in fans questioning what could possibly be next for Tate?

I personally feel this is the right point in her career to hang up the gloves and sail on into the sunset, knowing that one day, she was a UFC champion. If she opts to stick around, she’ll be looking at a lower-ranked opponent next.

Tate’s next fight: Back half of the top 15 if she opts to continue.