What’s Next: UFC Long Island Winners

Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez, UFC Vegas 42
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 13: (R-L) Yair Rodriguez of Mexico punches Max Holloway in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Brian Ortega suffered a shoulder injury in the main event of UFC Long Island. His opponent, Yair Rodriguez was awarded a TKO victory in the process. In the co-main event, Amanda Lemos submitted Michelle Waterson-Gomez in the second round. Today we will be looking into what is next for the winners of UFC Long Island.

Yair Rodriguez

Brian Ortega will likely need surgery on his injured shoulder. The featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, is thinking about moving up and challenging for the lightweight title in his next fight and he is also getting surgery on his hand. Meaning the UFC will probably put together a interim title fight by the end of the year between Rodriguez and fellow title contender Josh Emmett.

Emmett is currently ranked third in the featherweight division. Ranked only behind Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, and Yair Rodriguez. Ortega and Volkanovski are both having surgery and Holloway just lost three straight times to Volkanovski. The booking makes sense if Volkanovski is going to sit for a bit.

Rodriguez’s next fight: Josh Emmett

Amanda Lemos

Amanda Lemos improved her UFC record to 6-2 in Long Island with her submission win over Waterson-Gomez. When the new rankings come out, she will probably be in the top 10. Yan Xiaonan is currently on a two-fight losing streak and ranked fifth in the division.

Xiaonan’s next fight will likely being down in the rankings and Lemos makes for the perfect opponent. Both women have youth on their side and both women have a unique and exciting style of fighting.

Lemos’ next fight: Yan Xiaonan

Li Jingliang

Li Jingliang used some powerful punches and elbows to finish Muslim Salikhov at UFC Long Island. That win makes him 2-2 in the last two years with three of those four fights ending before the final bell.

Michel Pereira is a dynamic striker that is ranked one spot behind Jingliang in the welterweight division. His dynamic striking would be a perfect match-up for the power strikes of Jingliang. The welterweight division is so stacked right now and there are a ton of options for everyone in the top 15. This fight makes sense: it’s downright exciting, and it will be good notch on the winner’s belt when it’s all said and done.

Jingliang’s next fight: Michel Pereira

Matt Schnell

Matt Schnell put himself in the running for Comeback of the Year, and both and Su Mudaerji should be in contention for Round of the Year following a thrilling flyweight scrap at UFC Long Island.

It needs to be said over and over: at one point, the UFC was going to cut this division. Credit to Mick Maynard for turning things around at 125 pounds. Now we get to put on his shoes and book a fight for Schnell. Who, we should add, has had two straight Fight of the Nights in 2022.

Presumably, he fights once more this year. The Alex Perez fight was doomed, and he’s now paired up with Alexandre Pantoja anyway. Moving up the division, Askar Askarov might be coming off a loss, but he’s ranked #3 at flyweight. Let’s see if Schnell can swim with the biggest, most dangerous sharks in the flyweight waters.

Schnell’s next fight: Askar Askarov

Shane Burgos

Shane Burgos won a decision over Charles Jourdain in one of the best fights on the card. Burgos is never in boring fights and puts on a show every time he enters the octagon. In his next fight he should be looking to move up significantly in the rankings.

Dan Ige is ranked three spots ahead of Burgos in the division. He is also on a two-fight losing streak. Ige is known to have a brawler style of fighting and always puts on a show for the fans. This fight would be fireworks from start to finish. If Burgos wins, he pushes himself inside the top ten and Ige likely falls towards the back of the top 15. If Ige wins, he snaps a losing streak and proves himself against a warrior like Burgos.

Burgos’ next fight: Dan Ige

Lauren Murphy

The fact that former women’s bantamweight champ Miesha Tate looked to have lost a step in her flyweight debut shouldn’t take away from the performance Lauren Murphy put on at UFC Long Island. In case there were any doubts, that is why “Lucky” got her title shot.

Having won her first fight back from that failed title bid against Valentina Shevchenko, what’s next for the 40-year old? Time is not on her side, with all due respect. The winner of Manon Fiorot vs. Katlyn Chookagian in September is a likely pick for the next title challenger, at least if it’s Fiorot, who would represent new blood. Chookagian, ranked #1, and Murphy, ranked #3, are in similar spots, with no one really clamouring to see them in a rematch with the champ.

The solution? Pair them up. Murphy and Chookagian first fought back in 2016. There’s been enough time and they’re ranked highly enough that a rematch at least takes one out of contention, and maybe gives an argument for one or the other to get a second shot at gold.

Murphy’s next fight: Katlyn Chookagian, win or lose after her fight with Manon Fiorot