For the sixth time this year, the UFC returned to the Apex this past Saturday as young bantamweights clashed in the UFC Vegas 72 main event.
Song Yadong and Ricky Simon were the two men in question after their scheduled fight at UFC Vegas 71 was moved back a week to main event. Fortunately for fans, it was exactly what everyone expected, a high quality match-up between two fighters looking to break into the title picture.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners of the night.
The constantly improving Song Yadong returned to the win column with an extremely impressive performance over the dangerous, Ricky Simon.
Coming off the back of his loss to Cory Sandhagen last September, the 25-year-old was eager to show his improvements against another well rounded fighter like Ricky Simon. The ATT product displayed a complete performance using his lightening fast and powerful striking to finish the fight in the final round. Not only that, but throughout the five round fight, he showcased improvements to his already solid wrestling defence, only letting Simon land two of his nine attempted takedowns, with that only accumulating to 50 seconds of control time.
Still at only 25-years of age, this marked Song’s 12th UFC performance making him one of the most experienced fighters in the bantamweight rankings.
So what’s next for the ever improving talent? There are a few options that could make sense for Yadong and his next outing, but the one I like the sound of the most, is a rematch with Chito Vera. Vera is coming off the back of a title eliminator bout, and since their first fight has picked up several impressive wins of his own. Now would be the right time for these two top bantamweights to run it back.
Yadong’s Next Fight: Chito Vera rematch
Brazil’s Caio Borralho made it four wins in a row since his win on the Contender Series back in 2021. Michal Oleksiejczuk stood as his toughest and most experienced UFC opponent so far.
The 30-year-old showed once again that if the fight makes it to the ground, that he is an extremely dangerous customer who can cause most people issues. With that being said, I think it’s time that Borralho is given a fight that can earn him a number next to his name.
Not only has Borralho impressed with his performances, but the frequency of his fights has been something that has led him to become quite a favourite amongst fans. After his impressive win on Saturday, Borralho came locked and loaded with a name during the post fight press conference. Derek Brunson was the recipient of his callout, and that’s a fight that could make sense for both middleweights.
Borralho’s Next Fight: Derek Brunson
Another Brazilian that is a terrifying submission threat is Rodolfo Vieira, and he found himself with his hand raised after submitting Cody Brundage in the second round.
In round one, Vieira had to weather the storm of the powerful Brundage, and if it wasn’t for a bad decision by the American, he may have found himself with a TKO win over Vieira. The 33-year-old hung on though, and made it to the second round.
Another bad decision by Brundage saw him trying to jump a guillotine attempt, subsequently finding himself losing the grip and in guard with the dangerous Vieira on top. Just moments later, Vieira sunk in an arm triangle, submitting Brundage after almost being TKO’d.
A fight I would love to see next is Rodolfo Vieira vs. Andre Petroski, as styles collide.
Vieira’s Next Fight: Andre Petroski
The Mexican, Padilla, caused an upset in the featherweight division, knocking out Julian Erosa in the first round of their bout.
Unfortunately for the debutant, the victory will be under scrutiny as a lot of the MMA fanbase believe that it was an early stoppage by referee Chris Tognoni. I personally can see why Tognoni waved the fight off, but I do believe it was a tad premature which doesn’t surprise me with this particular official.
Having said that, Padilla is the one with the W next to his name, and it puts him in good stead for his next outing under the UFC banner.
If Padilla is looking for a quick turnaround, I know Gavin Tucker is looking for a dance partner to fight in his home country of Canada at UFC 289.
Padilla’s Next Fight: Gavin Tucker
Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Rogerio de Lima once again exposed the weakness in Waldo Cortes-Acosta’s game utilising heavy leg kicks to sail to a victory.
With that, the Brazilian has scored back-to-back for the third time in his UFC career. The 37-year-old is once again knocking on the door of the top 15, and is looking for a fight with Derrick Lewis.
Personally, I don’t believe Rogerio de Lima has warranted a fight that high into the rankings and will likely find himself fighting outside of the top 15 again in his next outing.
Martin Buday was also victorious this weekend, and a fight with Rogerio de Lima could make sense.
Rogerio de Lima’s Next Fight: Martin Buday
Trey Waters looked as slick as you can look in a UFC debut, counter fighting extremely effectively to pick up the win.
Waters came into the bout having only tasted a loss once before in his professional career, and his awkward style caused the powerful Quinlan problems from the first bell.
Trevin Giles is working on the same schedule as Waters and was victorious in his last outing. That could be a fight that makes sense.
Waters’ Next Fight: Trevin Giles