What’s Next: UFC Singapore Winners

Max Holloway, UFC Singapore
Max Holloway, UFC Singapore media day

The UFC returned to Singapore this past weekend with a card headlined by “The Korean Zombie” and Max Holloway. Despite it being a fight between two highly ranked 145lbers, the consensus was always that this would be “The Zombie’s” retirement fight, and that was the case when the dust settled at UFC Singapore.

Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners of the night.

Max Holloway

Once again “Blessed” Holloway finds himself in an extremely unique and awkward position. After beating yet another featherweight contender, it is likely that the 31-year-old still won’t be anywhere near the title conversations due to holding two losses to the current champ.

Having said that, I’m seemingly on an island in the fact that I believe Holloway could for sure earn another title shot. The majority believe that Holloway categorically cannot fight for the title again, as long as Volkanovski is the one who sits on the throne. However, I believe that surely, Holloway has to be able to re-earn a title shot, no matter who is the champion. If Holloway clears out every single contender in his path then he is undeniable. But there lies the issue, he basically has cleared out all other contenders so there’s no one left for him to fight.

That’s where Aljamain Sterling could poke his head into the picture. If Sterling is still wanting to test the featherweight waters, then he is going to have to pick up at least one win before he can fight for Gold. Holloway seems to be the perfect featherweight debut as he himself is running out of contenders. Failing that I believe Holloway’s best port of call would be to make the move back up to lightweight but this time do it properly.

I’m in favour of option number one, though.

Holloway’s Next Fight: Aljamain Sterling

Anthony Smith

“Lionheart” defeated Ryan Spann for the second time this past weekend, in what was a questionable fight to be made. There seemed to be absolutely no reason for that fight to be made again, but it was and Smith returned to the win column, snapping his two fight losing skid.

Despite Smith being the one to get his hand raised during the decision, the fight was an extremely close one that could’ve gone either way. The 35-year-old knows he is likely in a tough position now at this stage of his career.

It is unlikely that Smith is going to go on a title winning run, and after suffering a bad leg injury last year, he has to be picky with the fights he takes. The light heavyweight division is seeing a new lease on life towards the top end and unfortunately, Smith doesn’t match up very well to anyone in the top five.

A fight I could see the UFC making next would be Nikita Krylov vs Smith as an Apex main event. Prepare for it.

Smith’s Next Fight: Nikita Krylov

Giga Chikadze

The 35-year-old Georgian finally returned to combat this past weekend, picking up a win over the always fun, Alex Caceres.

Coming into the weekend this was the fight that a lot of people were most excited for due to the stand-up style of both fighters. The fight played out slightly differently to people’s expectations as it was very cagey, but was a technical match-up nevertheless.

Despite Chikadze being someone who a lot of fans had big expectations for, since his loss to Calvin Kattar, he hasn’t showed signs of living up to those expectations, with the Caceres fight being his first back. As well as that, he is now 35-years-old, and that isn’t an age where you could see him going on a big tear in the featherweight division.

From here, I think fans will come to terms with the fact that he likely won’t hold a UFC title, and will be interested in him just taking fun fights. However, there is one fight that could tick boxes for both him and the fans.

Yair Rodriguez’s style would make for an extremely fun matchup and would be one that the fans would be chomping at the bit to see.

Chikadze’s Next Fight: Yair Rodriguez

Rinya Nakamura

Since his impressive performances on Road to UFC, Nakamura has continued the pattern and has picked up his second UFC win.

With each outing “The Hybrid” lives up to his nickname, showing that he can do it all. In this fight with Fernie Garcia he exhibited incredible ground control and ferocious ground-and-pound.

The 28-year-old is growing to be a very exciting product from Japan, and if he continues in similar vain, will find himself fighting in the rankings soon. Fortunately for Nakamura and the fans, the 135lb division is one of the most stacked, meaning fun matchups for him are in abundance.

Next for “The Hybrid,” I’d like to see him fight a slightly more reputable name than Fernie Garcia, and for me, that would be Brian Kelleher.

Nakamura’s Next Fight: Brian Kelleher

Erin Blanchfield

Questionably buried near the bottom of the main card was Erin Blanchfield vs Taila Santos, a fight that could’ve arguably main event’d its own fight night card.

It’s undeniable that these two women are future champions in the sport. Blanchfield was the one who was slightly better on the night though after struggling in round one to deal with Santos’ speed. From there, she made key adjustments to pick up the latter two rounds to win the fight on the scorecards.

Despite her calling for a title shot next, unfortunately for “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield, I don’t think she will have impressed the UFC enough to be definitely next. Not only that, but I believe the 24-year-old still has a lot to work on before she fights for a title.

That leaves her with only really one option, and that is to fight the winner of this weekends UFC Paris co-main event, Fiorot vs Namajunas.

Blanchfield’s Next Fight: Winner of Fiorot vs Namajunas

Junior Tafa

Junior Tafa matched the feat’s of his brother by ko’ing Parker Porter in the first round of their heavyweight bout.

After a lacklustre UFC debut against Mohammed Usman, it was important for the Kiwi to bounce back with an emphatic win in his second outing, and he did just that.

Someone who impressed on their UFC debut was Michael Parkin, and for me, that is a fight I wouldn’t mind seeing next for both heavyweights.

Tafa’s Next Fight: Michael Parkin