This past Saturday, the UFC returned to the comfort of the Apex for yet another Fight Night. Atop of the UFC Vegas 74 card were flyweight contenders Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi, looking to leap-frog their way into title contention.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the main card winners.
The ever controversial side of MMA plods on as judging was once again the main topic of discussion following the main event. Amir Albazi’s hand was raised, much to the surprise of not only the majority of fans, but also those commentating on the live UFC broadcast.
Despite there being calls of a ‘robbery’, there is no doubt there were a few swing rounds that could’ve been scored either way. Having said that, Kai Kara-France seemed to be the one to do the most damage throughout 25 minutes.
The most concerning part of the decision, is that Chris Lee scored Kara-France’s most dominant round, round four, for Albazi. Ultimately this is what led to Albazi being the victor.
Whether the majority of the MMA fanbase believe “Don’t Blink” Kara-France to be the true winner, he wasn’t and now “The Prince” Albazi will likely be sat at rank three come Tuesday’s rankings update. Although the 29-year-old believes he’s next in line for the title, that is up for debate being as though Brandon Royval emphatically finished Matheus Nicolau back in April.
There are two options for Amir Albazi, neither of which in my opinion should see him fighting for the title next. Depending on whether the UFC see Royval as the next clear contender, they could do a title eliminator between the two, to see who’s next. If they also see that Royval should be next, then have Albazi fight the aforementioned, Matheus Nicolau.
Albazi’s Next Fight: Matheus Nicolau
“Bruce Leeroy” continues to improve despite being a veteran of the game. The 34-year-old has registered back-to-back wins once again, this time nullifying the reckless nature of the kill or be killed, Daniel Pineda.
The calm karate specialist dominated Pineda over 15 minutes on the feet, whilst also staying out of danger of Pineda’s submission attempts.
In his Octagon interview, Caceres made quite the callout. The Miami native described how he wants Yair Rodriguez to unify the featherweight title so they can eventually rematch for undisputed Gold. You don’t need me to tell you though, that won’t be happening, at least not next.
Although it would be quite the step up in competition, I would love to see a fight between Caceres and Giga Chikadze. Having said that, the Georgian was thrust into action with Kattar too soon in his UFC tenure, in my opinion. Despite Chikadze’s activity being unknown, that is a fight i’d like to see on his return.
Caceres’ Next Fight: Giga Chikadze
Talking of fighters who are still scoring impressive wins. Jim Miller successfully starched Jesse Butler in a late notice replacement fight, putting a cherry on top of the cake that was him breaking the record for all time UFC wins with 25.
23 seconds was all “A-10” Miller needed after blitzing Butler with a huge left hook. In his post fight interview, Miller admitted that along with competing at UFC 300, he wants to secure a kimura win under the UFC banner. The 39-year-old has accumulated 19 submission wins, but is yet to find the elusive kimura.
It is yet to be confirmed when Miller is looking to get back into the Octagon, but due to receiving absolutely no damage, it is likely that it’ll be before UFC 300 which is scheduled to take place near April next year.
Why not give Miller a big fight before he breaks another record? A fight with fans favourite turned heel, Paddy Pimblett, could be utterly bananas. Not only is it a fight the fans would like to see, but it’s something Miller mentioned he’d like in a post fight interview.
Miller’s Next Fight: Paddy Pimblett
The ever awkward, Tim Elliot, made it two-in-a-row this past Saturday with a win over the equally as awkward, Victor Altamirano.
With that, he successfully defended his 12th ranked spot in the flyweight division, but will likely have to defend it again in his next outing.
The 36-year-old is at a point in his career in which I doubt he is awarded fights up the rankings to get him back in a position of being a title challenger.
Someone that has been calling him, and tonnes of others out, for what seems to be a while now, is Muhammad Mokaev. The 22-year-old has arguably earned a fight inside the rankings, and someone with the quality of Tim Elliot could make sense to see how ready he is for that.
Elliot’s Next Fight: Muhammad Mokaev
Someone who’s stock continues to rise as more eyes become familiar with her, is Karine Silva. The Brazilian scored yet another extremely impressive submission victory, making it five-in-a-row.
This time she did it against the dangerous counter striker, Ketlen Souza. Since her win on the Contender Series in 2021, she has scored two first round finishes, likely cementing her spot on a PPV card soon.
The 29-year-old will likely begin taking relatively big step-ups in competition from here on out, and someone who could make sense for her next, is Maryna Moroz.
Silva’s Next Fight: Maryna Moroz
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Another result that was split across not only the judges, but the fans too, was Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov.
Ultimately the opinions have no bearing though, and the Brazilian was the one registering back-to-back wins. The hard fought victory marked his return to US soil, as the last time he fought in the States was back in 2019.
The Brazilian’s time with the promotion has been a successful one, but one that has saw him constantly fighting a similar level of opponent. That won’t change from here though.
A fight with Jeremiah Wells could be fun for the pair of 36-year-old’s.
Zaleski dos Santos’ Next Fight: Jeremiah Wells