Prior to this weekend, there were 12 occasions in UFC history where main events had ended in accidental injuries, with three coming this year. Unfortunately for the two men involved in Saturday’s UFC Vegas 63 main event, another one has been added onto that list, as on Halloween weekend, yet another horror injury plagued the main event.
Coming into the event, we believed we were going to find out who the next contender was to fight featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, of course once his move up to lightweight has culminated. The unpredictable events that unfolded have left us still asking tonnes of questions.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the losers of the night.
Coming in off the back of a controversial loss to Josh Emmett, Kattar was looking to return to the win column, and to stake his claim for being one half of what is likely going to be an interim featherweight title fight.
Despite that, the 34-year-old hardly even got the chance to get going in this high stakes fight. His opponent, Allen, started off the faster paced of the two, and you could tell his game plan for the early proceedings was to put on some pressure and stay light on his feet. During the latter stages of round one, whilst Allen was circling out of Kattar’s range, Kattar decided to chance a flying knee attempt. With Allen having moved out of range, Katter missed by quite a margin. But that wasn’t the issue. The issue being, as he was coming down from the attempt, he landed funny on his knee, proceeding to drop to the canvas in pain. Allen recognized the issue and jumped on Kattar, reigning down some ground-and-pound and attempting a D’arce choke. Kattar managed to see out the end of the round and get back to his stool.
Bizarrely enough, despite suffering a clear injury to his knee and not being comfortable putting weight on it, his corner allowed him to come out for round two. The doctor proceeded to enter the Octagon and do an extremely brief check on the hindered knee, but deemed him fit to carry on. Within seconds of round two beginning, Allen landed a minimal power leg kick, and Kattar’s knee went from underneath him, with Herb Dean waving it off.
So now, with his last two fights being clouded by unfortunate proceedings, it begs the question as to what is next for the New England Cartel fighter?
Another man who suffered an unfortunate injury in his last outing is, Brian Ortega. A fight between the two, when they are both ready, seems to make the most sense.
Calvin Kattar’s Next Fight: Brian Ortega
“The Dirty Bird” was coming into his fight with Max Griffin looking to reignite some form since his last loss to Kevin Holland. Prior to that loss, he’d picked up three impressive wins over Laureano Staropoli, Mike Perry and Nicolas Dalby.
Although he found himself on the wrong side of yet another decision, there were a few positives that the 38-year-old can take from the fight. In no way at all was the fight a one-sided domination, and in-fact, one of the three judges scored the fight in favour of the UFC veteran.
Having fought the who’s who in the welterweight division, matchmaking for the veteran becomes slightly more difficult.
Another veteran welterweight who is coming towards the tail end of his career is, Francisco Trinaldo. A fight between the two long serving professionals could be fun.
Tim Means’ Next Fight: Francisco Trinaldo
In this fight between two Contender Series alumni, heavy leg kicks became the theme. Cortes-Acosta’s boxing in the early proceedings seemed to be causing Vanderaa some problems, but it didn’t take him long to rectify the issue, as he utilised punishing leg kicks to try and nullify the forward threat of the unbeaten heavyweight.
Despite all three judges scoring round one for Cortes-Acosta, Vanderaa came out in round two with a well fought game-plan, to chop at the legs of “Salsa Boy” even more. In the first round, Vanderaa landed all 12 of his leg kicks attempted. He upped that in round two landing 13 of 14. He took round two on two of the judges scorecards with the leg kicks proving pivotal. Unfortunately for “The Mountain,” Cortes-Acosta finished off the fight strong, taking the unanimous decision.
Vanderaa’s game-plan of attacking the legs wasn’t an awfully bad one, but the issue he had was that he didn’t really land much outside of the leg kicks. 69% of the strikes he landed were to the legs of Cortes-Acosta, with only 21% targeted to the head.
Although Vanderaa has lost six of his seven fights since being victorious on the Contender Series, he has faced some extremely tough opponents, from the likes of Sergey Spivak to Alexander Romanov.
Jake Collier is the only name that springs to mind that even makes just a little bit of sense for Vanderaa.
Jared Vanderaa’s Next Fight: Jake Collier
The 28-year-old came into the fight as the slight favourite over his opponent, Tresean Gore, who himself has struggled to put anything together so far in his short UFC tenure.
Fremd held quite a substantial size advantage over Gore, but unfortunately for him, he couldn’t make it pay off. Despite being out-wrestled and out-grappled in the first round, Fremd finished the latter end of the round with a few nice combinations and began finding himself towards the end of round one.
A few minutes into round two, Fremd went for a level change of his own, and upon shooting for the double leg, found himself getting wrapped into a guillotine choke. The tremendous grip of Gore couldn’t be broke, despite Fremd wriggling and kicking off the cage, and moments later he was choked unconscious, losing back-to-back outings.
Having lost his first two UFC fights, his next one is going to pivotal for his future in the promotion.
A fight with AJ Dobson could make sense, and it would answer a lot of questions about both fighters.
Josh Fremd’s Next Fight: AJ Dobson
Another UFC card has come and gone where the major talking point in a fight that was extremely fun was the judging.
Coming into this one, I predicted that it would be a back-and-fourth chess match between two phenomenal strikers, and that’s exactly how it played out. When the fight was originally announced, the excitement was rife as the two styles of kick-boxing and Muay Thai almost guaranteed fireworks, and with it being Halloween weekend, it was fitting.
Despite it being an extremely exciting fight, and a relatively close one at that, the biggest talking point in the days after, have been whether the judges got it wrong.
Jacoby out-landed his counterpart quite substantially, also with a 12% higher significant strike accuracy. Not only that, but Khalil Rountree Jr didn’t clearly land the more damaging shots, neither fighter was really under substantial threat of the fight being called at any point.
Matchmaking for a losing fighter on the card, that in the eyes of the majority of fans didn’t actually lose the fight, is tough.
Jimmy Crute is scheduled to return to the Octagon this coming year, after undergoing knee surgery during 2022. That is a fight that could make sense for both parties in the new year.
Dustin Jacoby’s Next Fight: Jimmy Crute