This past weekend, ranked Strawweights clashed in the main event of UFC Vegas 73 as Mackenzie Dern looked to return to the win column against Angela Hill.
In the lead up to the bout, fans speculated whether Dern’s head was fully in this fight, as at Media Day she openly spoke about issues in her personal life that have affected her. Despite that, she came into the Octagon on Saturday and put on a career best performance, showing clear improvements.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the main card winners.
The aforementioned victor, Dern, put on her best performance under the UFC banner yet. This fight with Hill was originally scheduled for the UFC Charlotte card a week prior, but due to the lacklustre quality of this past weekend’s card, it was bumped to main event when Irene Aldana was shifted to UFC 289.
The fans were the beneficiaries of the late notice bump to main event, as these two women put on a five round brawl. Mackenzie Dern has always been a fighter with clear skills in certain areas, but fans had concerns with how well rounded she could be. She answered those questions against Angela Hill as she began to show clear improvements in her game.
The BJJ black-belt has always been one of the most feared women in terms of her submission threat, but in the past when she has had control on the mat, she hasn’t done much with it. Against Hill though, she showcased her brutal ground-and-pound, making her even more feared on the ground.
After her tremendous performance, she took the chance to call out Rose Namajunas, and I for one would love to see that fight.
Dern’s Next Fight: Rose Namajunas
Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez had to weather a predictable early storm from Edmen Shahbazyan in the co-main event.
During his professional career, “The Golden Boy” has picked up nine first round stoppages, and it was clear that in this fight he was trying to get his tenth. Despite that, Hernandez weathered the storm and made it into round two having eaten some of Edmen’s big shots.
In round two, the 29-year-old began to pick up the pace and started to make it difficult for Shahbazyan to continue his momentum and pace. Round three was a similar story, but this time, Shahbazyan couldn’t quite make it out of the round with Hernandez picking up his fourth win in a row. This marked consecutive fights that Hernandez has found the third round finish.
Someone who has almost become a gatekeeper for the top 15 of the middleweight division is Gerald Meerschaert. This is a fight that could make sense for “Fluffy” and his climb into the rankings.
Hernandez’s Next Fight: Gerald Meerschaert
“Loopy” Godinez returned to the win column this weekend with her win over Emily Ducote.
Picking up back-to-back wins for the second time in her UFC tenure, the former LFA strawweight champion will look to fight close to the rankings in her next outing. She showcased a well rounded game-plan against Ducote, stuffing all four of Ducote’s takedown attempts and out landing her on the feet.
Someone who is currently occupying a ranked spot but is on a losing skid, is Michelle Waterson-Gomez. It could be time for the “Karate Hottie” to once again defend her ranking.
Godinez’s Next Fight: Michelle Waterson-Gomez
In a night where vicious knockouts became the norm, Joaquin Buckley added yet another to his highlight-reel.
Coming into return to the welterweight division, Buckley looked to be in the best shape of his career, and that became evident throughout the fight. Buckley’s speed and power was clearly far superior to Fialho’s, but the Portuguese tried to maintain his composure and stay in the fight.
With just 45 seconds left of round two, “New Mansa” landed a huge left high kick, putting Fialho to sleep. Buckley snapped his two fight loss streak and emerged into the welterweight division as an instant problem.
A fight between Buckley and Khaos Williams could be a certified banger.
Buckey’s next fight: Khaos Williams
Another terrifying knockout scored this weekend was Diego Ferreira’s over Michael Johnson. The Brazilian caught “The Menace” with a huge overhand right, instantly putting Johnson’s lights out.
This marked Ferreira’s first fight in two years with his next move being slightly unpredictable due to him having previously spoken about retirement because of lingering injuries. Having said that, in his post fight interview his gloves stayed on and the word ‘retirement’ wasn’t uttered.
Despite him likely not retiring yet, due to his age and his previous concerns, it is likely he won’t be around the fight game for much longer. A fight with Clay Guida could be a fun one for them both to go out on, however, Ferreira may want to test himself against a higher calibre of opponent still.
Nasrat Haqparast could make sense if that is the case.
Ferreira’s Next Fight: Nasrat Haqparast