A main card full of finishes resulted in an exciting night at UFC 295 in New York City. That also leaves a number of fighters on the mend and looking to rebound moving forward. Where do the likes of Jiri Prochazka and Sergei Pavlovich go from here? Let’s play a little matchmaker (who knows, maybe we’ll get hired – it’s happened!).
The Czech Samurai, Jiří Procházka, found some success but was ultimately knocked out by Alex Pereira at UFC 295. The former champ is still in title contention after his loss, but now has to get a win or two before earning another shot. There are a few notable fights in the division that will factor into who Jiří’s next opponent is: Blachowicz vs Rakic 2, Pereira vs Hill for the belt, and a likely re-booking of Ankalaev vs Walker after their recent no-contest.
The best option may be the winner of that Blachowicz vs Rakic fight. Both men are coming off of losses so one win will not be enough to get them a title shot again, but whoever gets back on track could face Procházka in a number one contender’s fight.
Prochazka’s Next Fight: Winner of Blachowicz/Rakic 2
The heavyweight title fight between Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich ended in a first round knockout, to no one’s surprise, and this time it was Pavlovich who got separated from consciousness, ending the longest first round knockout streak in UFC history.
Pavlovich is still a top heavyweight contender and most of his peers are not currently booked, so options are plentiful. The most logical opponents would someone Sergei has not already fought, like Ciryl Gane, Jailton Almeida, or Alexander Volkov. Of those, Gane makes the most sense, as he brings elite striking to the table just like Pavlovich, but with a much different style. The slick point-kickboxer vs the brutal knockout artist would be a highly entertaining stylistic clash.
Pavlovich’s Next Fight: Ciryl Gane
Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist Mackenzie Dern lost by finish for the first time in her MMA career as former champion and fifth-ranked strawweight Jessica Andrade knocked her down four times before the referee called the fight. Dern has now traded wins and losses for her last five fights and will drop a bit in the rankings from her spot at number seven.
With Lupita Godinez winning her fight on UFC 295 in the same division, she is deserving of a fight against a higher-ranked opponent while Dern will have to fight down. ‘Loopy’ has won four straight fights and looks like a potential title challenger one day, but she will have to get past Dern to prove she belongs in the top ten.
Dern’s Next Fight: Lupita Godinez
Matt ‘Steamrolla’ Frevola is a fighter that lives by the sword and dies by the sword. His streak of fights ending in first round knockouts extended to five on Saturday, but unlike the last three, this time he was the one laid out on the canvas. Benoit St. Denis came into enemy territory and got the job done, stealing Frevola’s top-15 lightweight ranking in the process.
The Steamrolla remains a top-tier action fighter in a division full of fun foes, so there is a bevy of options out there for him. Another fight between contending lightweights goes down soon at UFC Austin as Bobby Green takes on Dan Hooker in a strikers’ delight. The winner of that fight will be too high-ranked for Frevola, but the loser would make perfect sense.
Frevola’s Next Fight: Loser of Green/Hooker
The battle between grappling aces Pat Sabatini and Diego Lopes ended without a single takedown landed by either party. Instead, Diego Lopes showed his striking prowess as he dropped and finished the American wrestler with his hands. Sabatini is now 5-2 in the UFC, a respectable record, but will need a step down in competition next as he attempts to bounce back.
There are a few featherweight fights coming up between fighters with a similar status in the division currently: Joanderson Brito vs Jonathan Pearce and Charles Jourdain vs Sean Woodson. Brito vs Pearce takes place this week, putting the loser of that fight on a good timetable to fight Sabatini in early 2023, barring injury.
Sabatini’s Next Fight: Loser of Brito/Pearce