What’s Next: UFC Vegas 89 Losers

Amanda Ribas and Rose Namajunas, UFC Vegas 89
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 23: (L-R) Amanda Ribas of Brazil punches Rose Namajunas in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 23, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

A six-fight main card at UFC Vegas 89 had some surprising results and was capped off by a high stakes women’s flyweight battle in the main event.

Amanda Ribas lost her second straight flyweight bout in the headliner; of the 12 fighters on UFC Las Vegas 89’s main card, seven were Contender Series veterans.

Several fighters still have to prove themselves after the results on Saturday night which could prove interesting from a matchmaking perspective.

Amanda Ribas

Ribas, in what was her first main event in the UFC, would be defeated by Rose Namajunas in a very technically fought unanimous decision.

Ribas now has a 7-3 record with the UFC, she is 2-3 as a flyweight and 5-0 as a strawweight with the promotion. Amanda’s most recent wins are over Luna Pinheiro, Viviane Araujo and Vina Jandiroba.

Amanda has said multiple times that she isn’t opposed to switching between both the strawweight and flyweight weight classes.

And with #11 ranked flyweight, Ariane Lipski slated to take on the #12 ranked flyweight, Karine Silva on April 27th there are a few fighters available in the weight class.

#13 ranked flyweight Casey O’Neil has lost her last two fights in the flyweight division, most recently to Ariane Lipski via second round armbar.  O’Neil last fought in mid-December so the timeline might be a little slow for her, as Ribas still has to recover from a five-round fight.

As for the strawweight division, if Ribas so chooses to return to it, she has a couple of interesting potential matchups: #10 ranked Loopy Godinez is on a 4-fight winning streak and is slated to face 19-3, Virna Jandiroba on the Atlantic City card on March 30th. Facing the winner, whether that be a rematch against Jandiroba or a new foe in Loopy who is on a 5-fight win streak, either way it’d be a good fight.

Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade is fighting Marina Rodriguez at UFC 300 on April 13th and the loser of the bout would be an excellent step up for Amanda’s undefeated UFC run at strawweight.

Ribas’ next fight at Flyweight: Casey O’Neil 

Ribas’ next fight at Strawweight: Lupita Godinez vs Virna Jandiroba Winner or Andrade vs Marina Rodriguez Loser

Justin Tafa

It has been an unfortunate couple of months for the Tafa brothers. Justin Tafa had to withdraw from his February bout against Marcos Rogeiro de Lima at UFC 298. Justin’s brother, Junior, would step in against Marcos and was finished via leg kicks in the second round of their bout.  A few weeks later, at UFC Las Vegas 89, Justin would return from his injury for a co main event bout.

Tafa lost a unanimous decision to the now 10-1 Contender Series product, Karl Williams. Karl is now 3-0 in the UFC since his CS bout in 2022. There were a couple of moments in the fight where Tafa had Williams in trouble, but ultimately the wrestling of Williams was just too much for Justin.

Justin Tafa was originally supposed to fight someone on the edge of the rankings before getting injured.

Justin Tafa is a fun heavyweight fighter to watch with all seven of his pro wins coming by KO/TKO.

Why not lean into that? Give Tafa another fun striker. Chris Barnett was originally scheduled to be on UFC Vegas 89 against Mohammed Usman, before pulling out of his second UFC bout in a row. Barnett has been inactive since 2022, when he won a barn burner against Jake Collier at UFC 279. So, what better fight to welcome him back?  That would be a very fun fight for the fans.

Tafa’s next fight: Chris Barnett

AJ Dobson

A wild four-and-a-half-minute scrap went down on Saturday night when two Contender Series alum dueled for relevancy in the UFC’s middleweight division.

This is going to be a fight that is really going to sting when AJ Dobson is watching the tape back. Dobson had “The Golden Boy” on skates early on in the first round and it could be argued that AJ ultimately let him off the hook. The tide of the fight turned, and Dobson ended up being on the losing end of a stoppage instead.

AJ Dobson is now 1-3 in the UFC and 7-3 in his professional MMA career, with his lone win in the UFC being to Tafon Nchukwi. Saturday at UFC Vegas 89 was the first time Dobson had been stopped in his professional career.

Two fighters early in their pro careers, fellow Contender Series alum, Cesar Almeida and Dylan Budka, would be solid matchups for a dangerous fighter like Dobson. Almeida and Budka square off April 6th and are both making their UFC debuts.

Let the loser of this bout fight Dobson for a kind of, back against the wall, type of fight.

Dobson’s next fight: Cesar Almeida vs. Dylan Budka bout loser

Cameron Saaiman

The slick counter striking from undefeated Contender Series prospect Payton Talbott proved to be too much for Cameron Saaiman to handle at UFC Vegas 89.

Saaiman fought valiantly, surviving an absolute nightmare of a first round that saw the highly touted 23-year-old dropped by a flush rear knee to the chin.

Ultimately, Saaiman would be stopped early in the second round earning his opponent a performance of the night bonus.

Saaiman and Raul Rosas Jr. have two common opponents in the UFC of Terrence Mitchell and Christian Rodriguez. Both fighters have a first-round stoppage against Mitchell and a unanimous decision loss to Rodriguez (and he missed weight for both bouts).

Perfect fight to make would be between the two youngsters.

Saaiman’s next fight: Raul Rosas Jr.

Billy Quarantillo

In his sixth UFC main card appearance and first of 2024, Billy Quarantillo was finished by Youssef Zalal in the second round via rear naked choke. A disappointing loss for Quarantillo but against a fighter that took current UFC featherweight champion Illia Topuria to the scorecards in 2020 and entered the bout on a five-fight win streak in pro combat sports.

Quarantillo has come a long way since his appearance on the Contender Series in 2019, co-headlining a card against Edson Barboza in April of last year. Now 35 years old, Quarantillo has lost three of his last five fights with wins against Alexander Hernandez and Damon Jackson most recently.

Billy Quarantillo was originally slated to take on Gabriel Miranda at UFC Vegas 89 on Saturday before his opponent withdrew from the bout.

Billy is an all-action fighter that has yet to be in a boring fight. Bill Algeo has a win over a common opponent in Alexander Hernandez and the two were supposed to fight in 2022 but it never happened.

Thats a good fight to make but Algeo is scheduled against Kyle Nelson on March 30th, so, the loser should get Quarantillo.

Quarantillo’s next fight: Bill Algeo vs. Kyle Nelson

Luis Pajuelo

Luis Pajuelo had a rough start to his UFC career on Saturday at UFC Vegas 89 when he was out struck and submitted via standing d’arce choke in the first round. The performance earned his opponent, Fernando Padilla, a bonus for his efforts.

What better opponent to grab than another fighter on the card?

Also winless in the UFC. Steven Nguyen, who fought three times on the Contender Series and then lost his first fight in the UFC to Jaron Errens via unanimous decision on the preliminary card of UFC Vegas 89. This fight was a real scrap and earned Nguyen and his opponent fight of the night honors.

Pajuelo’s Next Fight: Steven Nguyen