UFC Vegas 75 didn’t have much to attract the casual fanbase, and a couple of weird finishes including two instant replay reviews got the night off the a rocky start. But Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier delivered a barn-burner of a main event, leaving one man looking to regroup.
Here’s our shot at playing matchmaker with the losing side of Saturday’s main card.
Vettori’s streak of trading wins and losses continued on Saturday night as he lost to Jared Cannonier. His chin was once again on full display as he absorbed a crazy beating but survived to the final horn. At the moment the top of the UFC middleweight division is mostly booked and the few fighters who are free have already fought Marvin. Two of the only fighters he has not yet fought are facing off soon: Sean Strickland and Abusipuyan Magomedov. Marvin could face the winner of that fight.
‘Abus’ Magomedov has only fought once in the UFC, but it’s a sign of his ability that he is already facing the number seven contender in the division. A win would put him right into title contention in a division desperately needing new contenders. Vettori does have a friendship with Strickland, but the two are born and bred fighters, and may have to put that aside to fulfill their dream of reaching a UFC belt.
Vettori’s Next Fight: Winner of Stickland vs Magomedov
It was brave of ‘Neto BJJ’ to accept the short notice bout vs Arman Tsarukyan, one of the sports most talented prospects, especially since beating Arman comes with relatively little reward compared to the massive risk. He lost in the end, but Silva put on a valiant performance as he hurt Tsarukyan on the feet in the second round before getting finished late in the third.
Now Joaquim falls back to the talented, unranked masses at lightweight. There are several tenured fighters in the division with at or near .500 records in their UFC runs. One such name is Christos Giagos, who also lost to Arman Tsarukyan somewhat recently. Giagos is coming off of an impressive knockout of Ricky Glenn earlier this year, but had two back-to-back losses before that. Him and Silva both trade wins and losses, but against talented fighters who there is no shame in losing to. Both are good grapplers and strikers who could compete in every realm of MMA in a competitive fight.
Silva’s Next Fight: Christos Giagos
Christian Leroy Duncan
Duncan lost his sophomore UFC effort by decision to striking specialist Armen Petrosyan after winning his debut in his home country earlier this year. ‘CLD’ had been undefeated at 8-0 but now takes his first career loss, a hard lesson for any fighter to face. There are a number of unranked middleweights he can face now though who would make for exciting match-ups.
One such is Punahele Soriano. Soriano had to pull out from his upcoming fight at UFC Jacksonville for undisclosed reasons, but when he is ready to fight again, him vs Duncan would be a great striking battle.
Duncan’s Next Fight: Punahele Soriano
Almeida could not deal with the grappling prowess of Pat Sabatini at all as he was taken down and controlled in each round before being submitted in the second. His previous fight, his UFC debut, was impressive though as he beat former featherweight The Ultimate Fighter winner Mike Trizano by third round knockout. Almeida has potential and an exciting fight style on the feet, so there are a number of featherweight opponents out there for him to fight.
One potential opponent who is also coming off of a loss is fifty-fight MMA veteran Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. Still only twenty-nine year sold, Nuerdanbieke has plenty left in the tank, it seems, and is no stranger to thrilling striking battles himself.
Almeida’s Next Fight: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke
Motta started well, stunning his opponent early, but ended up still getting knocked out by Manuel Torres in the first round with a monstrous elbow. Motta falls to 1-2 in the UFC now, with all three of those fights having ended by knockout inside of two rounds. Another kill-or-be-killed fighter who Motta could face next is Maheshate, who is also 1-2 in the UFC. The loser of this fight would likely be out of a job in the sport’s top promotion, so this is a must-win for each.
Motta’s Next Fight: Maheshate
Sanda specialist Musliam Salikhov’s age seems to have finally caught up to him. The thirty-nine year old snuck into the rankings on the back of a five-fight win streak in 2021, but has now lost two of his last three. He may not be completely done yet – his knockout of Andre Fialho last year showed he can still dig deep to achieve victory – but at a certain level of MMA he is.
He can still fight fellow veterans, like Santiago Ponzinibbio, or he could be a test for any number of more inexperienced fighters, like Mike Malott. Malott won in a big spot on the main card of UFC 289 earlier this month and his placement on that card for just his third UFC fight shows that the promotion are trying to push him. He has not faced a fighter near the level of Salikhov just yet though, so this fight will be the one to tell fans if Malott is ready for a step up to near-ranked contention, as well as telling how much Salikhov has left in the tank.
Salikhov’s Next Fight: Mike Malott