UFC 284 is in the books, with Islam Makhachev fending off a lightweight title challenge mounted by featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. It was a valiant effort by the Australian, but in a fight that went the distance, he came up short on the scorecards.
Josh Emmett’s night ended early in the co-main event, as he was submitted by Yair Rodriguez. Here’s what could be next for Volkanovski, Emmett, and the rest of the main card’s losing side.
Alexander ‘The Great’ fought an amazing fight Saturday night against the best lightweight in the world, but now he returns to his own lands to defend his throne. The man up next is clear; Yair Rodriguez had interesting circumstances to get to the interim title fight but he silenced any dissent with his brutal beat-down and stoppage over Josh Emmett. The Mexican kickboxer will face Volkanovski next to unify the belts in what will likely be a highly entertaining bout.
Volkanovski’s Next Opponent: Yair Rodriguez
Emmett lost his bid for the interim featherweight belt to Yair Rodriguez and thus falls back to earth, aka the featherweight contender picture. He will have to fight down a bit now, and the only available fighter in the top 10 who is in a position to fight up is Ilia Topuria. Topuria demolished Bryce Mitchell last year. The Spaniard has demolished everyone he has faced up until now, but Emmett is a credentialed wrestler who Ilia will not be able to just take down and submit, as well as being a tough, skilled striker who Topuria will not just be able to break and knock out. This type of fight is a massive step on the road to forging a young star like Ilia, and Josh Emmett is the perfect hammer to test his mettle.
Emmett’s Next Opponent: Ilia Topuria
After another first round stoppage win, Jack Della Maddalena has reached new heights in his career. Randy Brown, meanwhile, had a very tough night at the office at UFC 284, falling inside of a round — knocked down, then submitted.
This setback snaps a four-fight winning streak for Brown, whose last loss had come against Vicente Luque in 2020. Another welterweight coming off a loss to a surging prospect is Mounir Lazzez, who was finished by Gabriel Bonfim last month.
Brown’s next opponent: Mounir Lazzez
Just Tafa marked his return to fighting in his home country with a bang, as he smashed Parker Porter unconscious in just over a minute. The loss leaves Porter on a two-fight skid after he lost to prospect Jailton Almeida last May.
That said, Porter is 3-3 in the UFC and should get a chance to bounce back later this year. With the UFC’s heavyweight division a bit thin, there are a couple of ways this could go: an incoming fighter is one solution. Heavyweight legend Andrei Arlovski has been fighting a lot of unranked UFC heavyweights in recent years, and had a four-fight win streak snapped in his last fight. He’d probably be game. But the loser of Lukasz Brzeski vs. Karl Williams in March might make the most sense.
Porter’s Next Opponent: Brzeski vs. Williams loser