This past weekend, the UFC finally made their long awaited return to Canada for UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana. The co-main event saw one of the promotions biggest stars, Charles Oliveira, looking to return to the win column against Dariush, who himself was looking to secure a title shot. In the main event, Amanda Nunes defended her bantamweight title for what turned out to be the final time.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners of the main card.
The greatest ever female mixed martial artist, Amanda Nunes, called it a day on her career after securing a win against Irene Aldana.
“The Lioness” was originally set to put an end to her rivalry with Julianna Pena, but the former champion pulled out weeks prior due to an injury. Despite having pulled out of the bout, Pena was present for fight week and throughout the days, continued to make it known what she thought of the current champ. None of that mattered though, as it was Irene Aldana who was looking to dethrone the Queen.
Although the fight went to the judges’ scorecards, Amanda Nunes didn’t even have to get out of first gear as the Mexican challenger made it extremely easy for her. After the bout, Nunes called for the cut-man to bring in his scissors for her to begin taking off her gloves. From that point, it became clear what was about to happen
The Brazilian emotionally explained how she wanted to retire whilst still being at the top of her game, something hardly any fighters are able to do. With that, she lay down her bantamweight title next to her featherweight title with her gloves embedded in the middle, and contentedly walked out of the Octagon with her family for the last time.
Nunes’ Next Fight: Amanda Nunes announced her retirement
Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira came into fight week with what felt like the entirety of Canada behind him. With his last fight being his title loss to Islam Makhachev, the Brazilian knew he had to win this fight to hopefully secure a second meeting with the Dagestani.
Ahead of him though stood Beneil Dariush, who was riding an 8-fight-win-streak into this fight, knowing that a win over the former champion would guarantee him a title fight in his next one. From the opening bell, it was clear that Oliveira wanted to show Dariush why he was the former lightweight champion.
“Do Bronx” began fast and landed a few clean strikes on Dariush, which led to Dariush clinching up and subsequently allowing the fight to go to the ground. Whilst in top position, Dariush landed a few good strikes whilst nullifying the grappling threat of the Brazilian.
It didn’t last long though because as soon as the fight got back to the feet, Oliveira landed a big head-kick followed by a right hook, sinking Dariush to the ground where he was subsequently finished.
The only way to describe the crowd’s reaction would be electric. Yet again, Oliveira exemplified how far he has come in his career, continuously improving and becoming even bigger of a star fight by fight.
At the moment, it is unclear which direction the UFC will go in, in terms of Charles’ next fight. With him gaining such star-power, I imagine they will want to capitalise on it and give him a rematch with the dominant Makhachev. For me though, that fight finishes very similarly to their first fight, but with there being no other clear contender right now, it probably makes the most sense.
Oliveira’s Next Fight: Islam Makhachev
“Proper” Mike Malott made it back-to-back submission victories with yet another impressive performance, this time defeating Adam Fugitt at UFC 289. During Malott’s walkout, there was an incident in which the barrier gave way, resulting in several rowdy fans falling down to the walkout space. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the fans and Malott came away unscathed.
With the win, Canadians finished the night undefeated 5-0, making the return an extremely successful one. It is likely that Malott’s next fight will be against a decent step-up in competition.
Someone who would be a step-up, but a manageable one, is Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Not only that but their timelines coincide as Nurmagomedov fought a week prior. Depending on whether Malott is keen on the travel, this fight could take place on the Abu Dhabi-based UFC 294 card.
Malott’s Next Fight: Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Dan “50k” Ige put on another emphatic boxing performance, epitomising perfect fundamentals in that area, de-railing Nate “The Train” in the process.
Ige has finally registered back-to-back wins again with the step down in opponent proving beneficial for him in the long-run. With that being said, it may be the time to once again have him fight a fellow ranked competitor.
Despite Landwehr being extremely durable, there were a few moments in the fight where Ige came close to finishing him. Since his appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017, he has made 14 appearances staying very active in the 145lb division. Ige is still yet to be finished in professional MMA.
Still being at a good age of just 31, Ige could still yet make a run towards the title. A fight that could be beneficial for both parties is a fight with Sodiq Yusuff.
Ige’s Next Fight: Sodiq Yusuff
Opening up the main card for the Canadian’s was “Powerbar” Marc-Andre Barriault. His last victory came against Julian Marquez back in March, where he finished him in round two.
On the other side was Eryk Anders who was looking to try and string together consecutive victories for only the third time in his 16 fight UFC career.
Barriault’s UFC tenure began with three losses in a row, with the Canadian likely coming very close to being cut. From then on though, he was able to pick up several impressive victories over the likes of Azaitar, Lungiambula and Jordan Wright, showing he deserved a spot on the growing roster.
The 33-year-old has likely earned himself a fight with a decent name for his next outing. A fight with Michal Oleksiejczuk could be a fun one.
Barriault’s Next Fight: Michal Oleksiejczuk