After Israel Adesanya’s hostile takeover of the middleweight title, what’s next after UFC 243?

UFC 243 Aftermath: This is Israel Adesanya’s World Now

UFC 243 is behind us and it is time for our weekly Aftermath piece. Today we will he going over the aftermath of UFC 243’s cars, from Israel Adesanya’s unification on down to Megan Anderson. Let’s get started!

Megan Anderson is Confusing

Next opponent for Megan Anderson: Pam Sorenson, Leah Letson

Megan Anderson has been really confusing in her career in the UFC so far. She defeated Zarah Fairn via first round triangle at UFC 243. Now she’s 9-4 and 2-2 in the UFC. The former Invicta champ had so much hype behind her coming into the promotion. Unfortunately she was dominated by Holly Holm. But she wasn’t out struck, she was out wrestled by the 18 time kickboxing champ. She got the fluke win with the toe to the eye against Cat Zingano next. Then she lost her opportunity to fight Cris Cyborg by losing to Felicia Spencer. Now she’s back in the win column and looking to put together a win streak again.

With the UFC being so light on women’s featherweights, it’s hard to find someone to fight for her. The promotion could always call up newly crowned Invicta featherweight champ, Pam Sorenson. But if they want to stay in promotion, Leah Letson would be another good fight if she can stay healthy.

Pickings are slim here. While attention was on men’s flyweight to be cut, it’s women’s featherweight that’s never taken off and might have several great fighters looking for new homes.

Tai Tuivasa Should Have Never Had A Hype Train

Sergey Spivak dominated Tuivasa all night.
Sergey Spivak dominated Tuivasa all night.

Next opponent for Tai Tuivasa: Allen Crowder, Todd Duffee

Tai Tuivasa’s career has been incredibly frustrating to watch. He came into the UFC and went 10-0 in his career with brutalizing wins over Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker. Another close win over Andrei Arlovski and it was clear Tuivasa needed to improve. Unfortunately he didn’t. Now, three straight losses later, people are actually wondering if he belongs in the UFC anymore.

Once dubbed the second coming of Mark Hunt, he’s not panned out so well. It’s easy to understand the comparisons. Big, not really in shape, Samoan guy who punches hard. He even trains at Hunt’s gym. The issue is, he doesn’t have one punch power like Hunt did. Tuivasa needs to batter opponents.

I feel as if Tuivasa is kept around because of his personality. Remember the shoey with Donald Cerrone? Well, it’s all fine as long as you’re winning, and Tuivasa is not.

I’m sure he will get one more shot in the UFC. It’ll likely be a softball to let Tuivasa get some momentum back. Allen Crowder, the man to give Greg Hardy his first career loss, would be a good fight to do this. Crowder is tough and has decent cardio and could test Tuivasa’s cardio, something of question now. Todd Duffee is also active again and likely wanting to fight after his no contest with Jeff Hughes last September.

Dan Hooker Notches Quality Win at UFC 243

Next opponent for Dan Hooker: Paul Felder, Donald Cerrone

Don’t get me wrong. Dan Hooker has plenty of good wins in his UFC career. He’s beaten Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, and James Vick already, all quality wins for a contender. But the win over Al Iaquinta does something different for him; he has a direct link to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta, of course, lost to Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 (a fight people give Iaquinta too much credit for). Now Hooker wants a path to the title.

He called out Dustin Poirier, who also just lost to Nurmagomedov, as a fast track to the top. Unfortunately for him, that fight will likely not happen, as it makes little sense.

Hooker came into the fight ranked 15th and a win over Iaquinta, who is ranked 6th will get him a giant boost in rankings and another shot at top of the division talent. A fight with Paul Felder makes a lot of sense and is very fun for fans. Felder gives Hooker a challenge with better striking that’s not Edson Barboza, who brutalized Hooker.

Another fighter that is great at striking that would challenge Hooker’s striking and length is Donald Cerrone. Cerrone is coming off a loss to Tony Fergueson and the rematch will likely not happen. Cerrone’s veteranship would make a great challenge for Hooker and a great skill check for the higher ups in the lightweight division.

Next opponent for Al Iaquinta: Alexander Hernandez, Islam Makhachev

Raging Al Iaquinta did not look good in this fight against Hooker. The length of Hooker gave Iaquinta issues all night. Iaquinta desperately dove for takedowns, which were ugly as you can get in the UFC. His toughness saved him from being knocked out. Al might have had an off night, but now he’s lost three of his last four.

Al’s toughness is always fun for fans to watch. He is never out a fight, as seen in the second Kevin Lee fight. One fight that would make fans get absolutely hype is a scrap with the explosive Alexander Hernandez. The two styles make for a bomb waiting to explode.

The second option is Islam Makhachev. Iaquinta would be a good skill check to see if Makhachev to see if he is ready for top ten competition in the lightweight division as well.

Israel Adesanya’s Meteoric Rise

Israel Adesanya gave Whittaker no room for error.
Israel Adesanya gave Whittaker no room for error.

Next opponent for Israel Adesanya: Paulo Costa, Jon Jones, Gastelum/Till winner

Israel Adesanya is something special. We’ve known that since he’s gotten into the UFC. Now, he has gone 7-0 in the promotion since joining in February of 2018. In just twenty months, he captured the middleweight title.

The fight with Robert Whittaker went perfectly for Adesanya. Whittaker tried to take a note out of Adesanya’s fight with Kelvin Gastelum, which saw Adesanya in trouble multiple times. Whittaker threw overhand after overhand in an attempt to hurt Israel Adesanya. What Whittaker failed to do was set them up with takedowns like Gastelum did. He became predictable and Adesanya rolled with his punches and countered all night which got him the knockdown at the end of the first and the finish in the second round.

Now, the 30 year old has his title reign ahead of him. The obvious next choice for his next fight is Paulo Costa. Costa fought and beat Yoel Romero in his last outing cementing him as the number one contender. It’s really the only option for Adesanya that makes the most sense. Then there is always the Jon Jones beef. In my opinion, that fight needs a little while to develop, let Adesanya grow and get a few defenses under the belt. A third option, if Costa misses weight or over plays his hand with the UFC is the winner of Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till. Gastelum and Adesanya was an instant classic at UFC 236. Darren Till might not have the win streak, but in his middleweight debut, he could beat Gastelum and fast track himself to a title fight as well.

Next opponent for Robert Whittaker: Kelvin Gastelum, Darren Till, Yoel Romero

As mentioned earlier, the game plan from Bobby Knuckles was uncharacteristically off. The cost of that mistake was his title. Now, Whittaker becomes former-champ with no official title defenses. Even a couple takedown attempts or pushing Adesanya against the cage would have kept him honest and gave more respect to Whittaker in the fight.

Now, Whittaker is in an odd place in the middleweight division. With several fighters for contenders to the title, he throws a monkey wrench into things. Luckily, Whittaker stated after the fight that he likely wouldn’t seek an immediate rematch, which is appropriate.

One option comes with two possibilities. Till and Gastelum fight next month. Whittaker could take the winner or the loser of that fight. This especially makes sense if the winner goes on to fight Adesanya and the loser is out to dry.

Another option is the Yoel Romero trilogy. The first two fights were out of this world with the second being many’s Fight of the Year. The question is, does Robert Whittaker want to put his body through that hell again? Both Romero fights had him battered and beat up.

Check out Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker’s post fight interviews below!

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Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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