UFC Vegas 86 got off to a rocky start this past Saturday at the Apex, but at least stuck the landing. An overly long stretch of prelims marred by a No Contest in a foul-filled opening fight gave way to some solid action later in the evening, including a massive return to form for Dan Ige. On the flip side, several athletes now have to regroup, including Joe Pyfer, who lost a decision to Jack Hermansson in the main event.
Let’s take a stab at what comes next for Pyfer and co.
Everyone wanted to be Joe Pyfer right up until the third round of his UFC Vegas 86 main event with Jack Hermansson. After a strong start, Pyfer, who has never gone past the third and rarely makes it 15 minutes period, started to flag. Hermansson, who had weathered the early storm, stayed the pace and worked his way to a five-round decision win, turning away “Bodybagz” in his first real step up in competition.
Pyfer had downplayed the whole “step up in competition” narrative earlier in the week but it’s clear the experience of Hermansson made the difference. For Pyfer, given how early he is in his UFC run, there’s still plenty of time to regroup and bounce back.
The UFC still tends to book winners versus winners and losers versus losers, but for the sake of timing, Ihor Potieria picked up his second win inside the octagon on Saturday’s main card. Booking Pyfer and Potieria isn’t the worst idea, and Potieria still holds a win over Shogun Rua to his name.
Pyfer’s next fight: Ihor Potieria
Andre “Touchy” Fili was touched by Dan Ige in a very unpleasant way at UFC Vegas 86, victim of a highlight reel knockout. Fili now needs to take some time off to heal up, after which, his dreams of cracking the top 15 are likely to be put on hold. Instead, let’s go a little left field: Doo-Ho Choi hasn’t fought since a draw with Kyle Nelson a year ago. That sounds like a very fan-friendly affair. Of course it all depends on if Choi, who lost a large portion of his career to military service, is ready to return.
Fili’s next fight: Doo-Ho Choi
Newcomer Robert Bryczek received main card billing at UFC Vegas 86, only to fall to short-notice (and overweight) replacement Ihor Potieria. An Oktagon MMA vet, Bryczek had been waiting to make his debut for some time. Now, he’ll head to the back of the line, and the best option might be another recently debuted fighter. In this case, Zachary Reese is 0-1. Let’s get one of these athletes their first UFC win.
Bryczek’s next fight: Zachary Reese
Hawaiian veteran Brad Tavares was put away in the third round by “Robocop” this past Saturday in a fight that was exactly as advertised. Tavares can always be relied on for an entertaining scrap but there’s little doubt any hope of title contention is well behind him. He still serves as a pretty solid test for any up-and-comers in the division however, a test Gregory Rodrigues just passed. Let’s see if Andre Muniz can do the same.
Tavares’ next fight: Andre Muniz
Darrius Flowers ran into some trouble in lightweight vet Michael Johnson at UFC Vegas 86, dropping a decision. He’s now 0-2 since winning his way into the UFC in 2022 on the Contender Series. Back-against-the-wall territory really. Landon Quiñones is also 0-2; this pairing pretty much sorts itself out, especially with Quiñones fighting just one event prior.
Flowers’ next fight: Landon Quiñones
Armen Petrosyan saw a two-fight win streak snapped when he fell to Rodolfo Vieira by submission in the main-card opener this past weekend. Vieira is an ADCC champ with a host of submission wins, so no shame there. Petrosyan is now 3-2 in the promotion; a booking with the hard-hitting Punahele Soriano could be a fun match-up. At least the submission threat won’t be as much of a concern in this one.
Petrosyan’s next fight: Punahele Soriano