UFC Vegas 79 this past weekend had a promising main event that ended in an unfortunate injury sustained by Rafael Fiziev. The co-main event, meanwhile, saw Hawaiian featherweight Dan Ige fall to Bryce Mitchell. Where does the losing side go from here? Let’s play matchmaker.
Lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev likely has a long recovery ahead of him after losing his fight against Mateusz Gamrot at UFC Vegas 79 due to suffering what appeared to be some sort of knee ligament tear when throwing a kick. ACL and MCL tears can routinely take a full year to heal, so it’s hard to predict what the lightweight division will look like when he is ready to fight again.
However there are a lot of interesting fights for the Muay Thai specialist at lightweight against exciting strikers like Dan Hooker, Jalin Turner, and Matt Frevola. We do not know when Fiziev will be able to fight again, but a battle between him and the ‘Hangman,’ aka Dan Hooker, would be a surefire banger.
Fiziev’s Next Fight: Dan Hooker
Dan ’50K’ Ige had moments of success in his battle with Bryce Mitchell in the UFC Vegas 79 co-main event, such as when he nearly shut Mitchell’s eye with a few cuts around it from strikes, but he ultimately lost the decision, snapping a two-fight winning streak. He once again will have to give a chance to a rising featherweight contender.
Lerone Murphy is currently the fifteenth-ranked featherweight and the undefeated fighter broke into the rankings after his last fight, which bought him to a 5-0-1 record in the UFC. The British striking specialist matches up well with Ige, a talented striker in his own right. Ige will be Murphy’s toughest test to date, but a well-earned one.
Ige’s Next Fight: Lerone Murphy
‘The Karate Hottie’ lost her fourth fight in a row and her sixth in seven fights at UFC Vegas 79, this time falling to Marina Rodriguez for the second time. Rodriguez did not let the fight go the distance as she put Waterson-Gomez away in the second round. Michelle is nearing the end of an illustrious career at age 37 but she did not retire in the cage following the fight so it can be assumed she has at least one more in her.
With her losing streak she should be fighting unranked competition at this point. One unranked fighter who deserves a step up in competition is Loma Lookbonme, a nak muay on a two-fight winning streak and with a 5-2 record overall in the UFC. Her unique, traditional Muay Thai skills make her a special fighter in the women’s strawweight division and Waterson-Gomez would not only challenge her in her area of expertise, striking, but also test Loma’s takedown defense.
Waterson-Gomez’s Next Fight: Loma Lookbonme
Lousianan AJ Fletcher fell to 1-3 in the UFC with a submission loss to Bryan Battle at UFC Vegas 79. He had success in the first round with a knockdown but simply could not stand against the streaking Battle. Fletcher now is fighting for his job, or could even be cut currently, and should be fighting a debuting fighter next. Recent Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Oban Elliott from Wales, who won by majority decision in a fight that showcased pure heart and toughness, would be a fitting opponent for Fletcher next.
Fletcher’s Next Fight: Oban Elliott
The battle of strikers between Ricardo Ramos and Charles Jourdain went to the ground early, where Ramos initially had the upper hand but got trapped in a guillotine during a scramble and was forced to tap by ‘Air’ Jourdain. This continues Ramos’ streak of trading wins and losses evenly that goes back to 2019, but the Brazilian is still 7-4 in the UFC and is must-watch TV due to his history of hitting multiple spinning back elbow knockouts.
In the featherweight division there are any number of action fighters that Ramos could fight next, guys like Cub Swanson, Steve Garcia, or Chepe Mariscal. However the fighter we chose for Ramos next is the tallest featherweight alive, Sean Woodson. Woodson is now 4-1-1 in the UFC and is ready to take on some of the veterans of the division, like Ramos, in what would surely be a thrilling striking battle.
Ramos’ Next Fight: Sean Woodson