What’s Next: UFC Vegas 76 Winners

Sean Strickland, UFC
Sean Strickland, UFC 276 official weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

This past weekend, Sean Strickland competed in his sixth main event in the UFC Apex with his new nickname amongst fans being “Mr Apex.” The fifth ranked middleweight took on Abus Magomedov who was competing in just his second UFC fight at UFC Vegas 76.

Strickland made it back-to-back wins, scoring his first finish since 2020 when he fought Brendan Allen, also at the Apex. Let’s take a look at what could be next for him and the other fighters who were victorious on the night.

Sean Strickland

This match-up was an interesting one from a rankings point of view. Magomedov was coming in as an unranked middleweight having only beaten Dustin Stoltzfus prior, making this fight hard to justify for Strickland.

Strickland is someone who isn’t going to turn down a fight though, despite him having little to gain from a win. Having said that, the fashion in which the 32-year-old won now puts him back into the title conversation.

From the UFC’s point of view, whoever won this fight was going to see themselves as a new contender for current champion, Israel Adesanya. Whether Strickland is next though, depends on the outcome of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290. If Dricus Du Plessis wins, he’s undoubtedly next. If “The Reaper” is victorious, a trilogy fight between him and Adesanya is a tough sell for fans. That’s where Strickland could see himself slide into the equation. Failing that, Strickland could see himself having to fight someone like Vettori next.

Strickland’s Next Fight: Israel Adesanya (dependent on Whittaker vs Du Plessis result)

Grant Dawson

Since his draw to Ricky Glenn in 2021, Dawson has gone three fights unbeaten with his win against Ismagulov this weekend being his most impressive. With that the 29-year-old will likely take Ismagulov’s rank 12 spot.

Coming into this fight, Ismagulov’s future was relatively unknown as this was the final fight on his current contract and he had already flirted with retirement. Dawson has now showcased his grappling in back-to-back outings against fellow top level grapplers.

Dawson has likely earned a fight up the rankings in his next one, but the top end of the lightweight division have notoriously sat on their perch and not defended their rankings.

Renato Moicano was scheduled to take on Arman Tsarukyan recently, but he pulled out just weeks prior. That could be a match-up that makes sense for both.

Dawson’s Next Fight: Renato Moicano

Michael Morales

One of the most exciting prospects in MMA moved to 15-0, with a win over the highly experienced, Max Griffin.

For the 24-year-old, gaining a win over a fighter like Max Griffin is pretty big and it also shows fans where abouts he is in his career. Morales has previously been scheduled to fight the equally impressive Rinat Fakhretdinov, but this fight doesn’t make sense for him at the moment.

A fellow 170lber that has recently picked up a decent win is, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. A win over the Brazilian could put Morales right on the precipice of the rankings.

Morales’ Next Fight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos 

Ariane Lipski

“The Queen of Violence” made it consecutive victories for the first time since 2020 with her win over fellow Brazilian Melissa Gatto at UFC Vegas 76.

Lipski spent time in her training camp with Amanda Nunes, and the hard-work and elite level of training clearly benefitted her game. The 29-year-old did a tremendous job of nullifying the grappling of Gatto, whilst also making sure she did enough work on the feet to take the decision. She did just that, picking up her seventh decision win.

Amanda Ribas was recently defeated by Macey Barber and that is a fight that could make sense with them being on similar timescale.

Lipski’s Next Fight: Amanda Ribas 

Benoit Saint-Denis

The Frenchman Benoit Saint-Denis impressed once again, this time with a huge win over the highly touted Brazilian, Ismael Bonfim.

From the beginning of the fight Bonfim seemed to want to make it a dog fight, throwing looping left and rights and completely neglecting his defense. “God of War” didn’t allow himself to get dragged into a fire fight and fought with a calm composure. It only took him one round to showcase his delightful grappling at the highest level, picking up his third win-in-a-row.

During his Octagon interview, Saint-Denis called for a fight with Mateusz Gamrot in Paris. That fight would be a grappler’s delight, and would also make sense from a geographical standpoint as Gamrot could fight close to his home of Poland.

Saint-Denis’ Next Fight: Mateusz Gamrot 

Nursulton Ruziboev

The UFC debutant pulled off a big shock in the opening fight of the main card, snatching Brunno Ferreira’s 0.

The Uzbek came into his UFC debut as one of the most experienced fighters to debut. The knockout blow came after just over a minute, when the 29-year-old caught a leg kick attempt of Ferreira’s and returned a huge right hand, knocking him out clean.

This has now set Ruziboev up for a decent name in his second UFC fight. A fight with Eryk Anders could be one that makes sense amongst many others.

Ruziboev’s Next Fight: Eryk Anders