The UFC‘s first event of 2024 kicked off on Saturday, as they headed back to the Apex for UFC Vegas 84, with light heavyweights topping the card.
After Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker’s first fight ended in a no contest, the UFC jumped at the chance to make this typical Apex main event. Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners on the night.
Despite the Russian being an extremely talented fighter, he just isn’t someone who will make the UFC change their plans for the light heavyweight division.
After picking up his sixth UFC finish this past Saturday, Ankalaev has called for a title shot against Alex Pereira. As much as it may make sense for the Russian, I truly doubt he will be the next challenger for the Brazilians title.
As mentioned before, Ankalaev seems to have only really captured the eyes of the hardcore MMA fans, and despite there being no doubt about his talent, there just isn’t much interest for him fighting for a title, yet.
As well as that, there are murmurs of Alex Pereira defending his title against Israel Adesanya next, and then Jamahal Hill is next following that. That leaves Magomed Ankalaev, rightly third in line.
Ankalaev could run it back with 40-year-old, Jan Blachowicz, however I can’t say I’d be too interested in seeing that fight again. Former champion, Jiri Prochazka, is scheduled to face Aleksander Rakic at UFC 300. The winner of that fight could make sense for Ankalaev, despite it not being for another three months.
Magomed Ankalaev’s Next Fight: Winner of Jiri Prochazka vs Aleksander Rakic
The record breaking Jim Miller continued his storied UFC career with another submission win this past Saturday.
Initially this fight announcement came as a slight shock, as it was almost guaranteed for Miller to compete at UFC 300 in April. If things hadn’t gone his way on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 84, that inevitability could’ve been out of the window.
Fortunately though, “A-10” Miller kept his end of the bargain, and now the UFC will look for an opponent for Miller to compete at UFC 300. Of course the significance in Miller competing at UFC 300, is that he competed at both UFC 100 and 200 previously.
Previously there had been talks of Miller vs Paddy “The Baddy,” but I’m not sure I want to see that. After his win on the weekend, the 40-year-old called for a fight with the uncertain, Paul Felder. “The Irish Dragon” has been considering a comeback for some time now, and if he is going to, a fight with Jim Miller could make sense for both as it would likely still be competitive.
Jim Miller’s Next Fight: Paul Felder
Mario Bautista extended his win streak to six in a row on Saturday night, picking up a unanimous decision over Ricky Simon.
Coming into this fight, the 30-year-old was still unranked in the extremely deep bantamweight division, so a fight with the 13th ranked Simon was a big step up for him. The 15 minute fight that proceeded was an incredible back and forth affair, and was very unfortunate to miss out on Fight of the Night.
With the MMA Lab product now being ranked in the top 15, he will be looking to continue his impressive run as he tries to make a run to the top 10 of the division. Rob Font is coming off the back of a loss to Deiveson Figueiredo and could be a name that makes sense for Bautista next.
Mario Bautista’s Next Fight: Rob Font
“The Hulk” returned to winning ways at UFC Vegas 84 this weekend, with a huge first round finish over Phil Hawes.
Since his appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in September of 2022, Brunno Ferreira has become a very exciting fighter in the middleweight division, and will now look to continue impressing on his way to the top 15.
Jun Yong Park was on a great run up until his recent loss to Andre Muniz, and I believe a fight between “The Iron Turtle” and “The Hulk” could be fantastic.
Brunno Ferreira’s Next Fight: Jun Yong Park
Despite Waldo Cortes-Acosta picking up a win over a former UFC heavyweight champion, he likely lost fans during the process.
After incessantly showboating during the fight and then putting on an extremely passive performance, fans aren’t too impressed with “Salsa Boy”. However, despite how fans are feeling, he picked up the decision win, making it back-to-back wins.
There is a possibility that Acosta’s next fight could come against a top 15 heavyweight, because the heavyweight division is the most lacking of the male divisions, by far. Rodrigo Nascimento currently holds rank 15 in the division, let’s just match them two up.
Waldo Cortes-Acosta’s Next Fight: Rodrigo Nascimento