Aftermath is back on this beautiful Monday morning. After digesting this weekends UFC 245 card with tons of fights and tons of title potential, we will take a look at what’s next for some of our fighters.
Petr Yan Will Be The Next Bantamweight Champion
Next opponent for Urijah Faber: Rob Font, Garbrandt/Assunção winner
The California Kid bit off a little more than he could chew at UFC 245. Aside from a high kick in the first exchange in the first round, Urijah Faber was in trouble the entire night. Faber couldn’t tie up Yan in any meaningful clinch and got battered repeatedly upon breaking from said clinch. Faber didn’t look absolutely abysmal l, however. He was fast and crisp on the feet. He simply ran into a brick wall that is Petr Yan.
It’s unclear what Faber will do now. His goal coming back was to become champion. Now, at 40, he’s got almost no time. Faber will likely need a short notice fight to get his name back in title contention fast enough. If he intends to fight, he still deserves a top ten opponent still. Rob Font just came off of a win Ricky Simón last weekend. Being ranked nine, Font is that step up into the top ten that Faber will need.
Urijah Faber will likely take some time off before his next fight. He took a good bit of a bartering from Yan. That will give some time to let the division play itself out a little more. Former champ, Cody Garbrandt, has a fight coming up at the end of March with Raphael Assunção in Columbus. Faber would be keen to take on the winner for another top ten fight.
Next opponent for Petr Yan: Henry Cejudo
Petr Yan fought brilliant at UFC 245. He took his time and felt out the explosive Faber. Yan capitalized on all the right moments, hurting Faber on almost every break. His take down defense was superb against a crafty veteran. He is truly ready for a title shot.
As he called for in his post fight interview, it’s time for bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo, to quit resting and defend his belts. There really is no other fight at bantamweight for him except Yan. With the completeness or Yan’s game, it’s a tough fight for Cejudo too. I predict Petr Yan will be an he bantamweight champion by the time 2020 comes to a close.
Marlon Moraes Spoils Jose Aldo’s Bantamweight Debut
Next opponent for Jose Aldo: Vera/Rivera winner, Calvin Kattar
Jose Aldo received a lot of criticism for such a drastic weight cut leading into his fight with Moraes. But, like the veteran he is, Aldo came in, made the weight, and he actually fought well. While the explosiveness of Jose Aldo may be gone, he is still a very cerebral fighter. But, to be considered the greatest of the great, you have to adapt with time and to the changes of your body, see Floyd Mayweather.
We are seeing Jose Aldo do just that. While he may not be as dominant as a 25 year old Aldo, his patience is improving every fight, even his losses. Aldo did look trigger shy at times but overall, he took Moraes’ shots well, a big concern of mine going into the fight with the weight cut.
Now, Jose Aldo is at a crossroads. He may be rejuvenated at bantamweight. But having his debut spoiled could also deter him from pursuing a future in the division as well. If Aldo intends to continue his bantamweight phase of his career, Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Vera are set to scrap in February. Aldo could take on the winner of that fight for a pure banger of a fight.
If Aldo decides bantamweight isn’t for him, featherweight is still wide open. If you want Aldo to have a winnable, yet challenging, fight, Calvin Kattar is your man. Kattar has great boxing and would put on another great show for fans if matched against Jose Aldo.
Next opponent for Marlon Moraes: Aljamain Sterling, Cory Sandhagen
Marlon Moraes showed a lot of improvement since his title loss to Henr Cejudo earlier this year. We have become accustomed to Moraes being a round one finisher and Cejudo exposed his gas tank. In his fight with Aldo, a bigger man, Moraes was still explosive in the first round, but he didn’t expend all his energy and was the fresher fighter going into round five.
Now Moraes has a win over legendary Jose Aldo. While he won’t likely get the title shot that he called for, he will likely get a contender’s fight next. With one or two more wins, he will be right back where he wants to be for a shot a UFC gold. Currently, Aljamain Sterling is left the fighter looking in on the bantamweight division’s title pecking order. He and Moraes fought in 2017 and Moraes finished the fight a minute in. Sterling has said that he wants that fight back. That would be a good contender fight to see who possibly gets to fight for the title next.
Cory Sandhagen has also been left out to dry by the UFC when his original opponent, Frankie Edgar, abandoned the fight card to fight The Korean Zombie. While January 25th is likely too soon for Moraes to get back in the cage, Sandhagen would benefit from a win over number one ranked Marlon Moraes if victorious. If Moraes were to win the fight, he would get another win under his belt. It is a win-win for both fighters.
Amanda Nunes Has Spoiled Her Fans
Next opponent for Germaine de Randamie: Ketlen Vieiera, Juliana Pena
Germaine de Randamie came in a massive underdog in her rematch against Amanda Nunes. The two fought in 2013 and Nunes knocked her out in the first round. At UFC 245 de Randamie took the fight with Nunes the distance. Unfortunately, Nunes, who isn’t known for her wrestling as much, took de Randamie down at will. de Randamie did have her moments, hurting Nunes occasionally while the fight was standing. de Randamie should put in time to improve her takedown defense if she wants a shot at another title.
de Randamie is in no woman’s land at this moment, however. She will need to string together three or four straight emphatic wins for her to even get mentioned in the same breath as Amanda Nunes. Earlier on the card, Ketlen Vieira lost a dramatic knockout against Aspen Ladd. Vieira and de Randamie would do well to fight each other. It would be a great stylistic fight and a test for de Randamie’s improvement with her takedown defense.
Juliana Pena is also looking for a fight. She and de Randamie could use each other’s name power. Pena would fare well with a win over Germaine de Randamie. de Randamie, as mentioned in the Vieira section, could simply use a win. It’s another case of a win-win situation in the booking of a fight.
Next opponent for Amanda Nunes: Aspen Ladd, Felicia Spencer, Valentina Shevchenko
Amanda Nunes really has spoiled her fans. Her last three fights have been pretty brutal beatings and this time, her fight went the distance and fans were not having any one of it. The casuals in the audience could not wrap their hands around Nunes not wanting to trade with the longer de Randamie. They refused to see the absolute wrestling clinic Nunes was putting down. While it may not be what her fans have become used to, it was still a domination.
While Amanda Nunes has beat every challenger put in front of her, the division has progressed well in her dominance. New contender, Aspen Ladd, just beat the number two contender and put herself next in line for the shot at Amanda Nunes. While Ladd is only on a one fight win streak, the win over Vieira should provide enough to get Ladd in there for the title.
Don’t forget about Nunes being the women’s featherweight champion as well. She stated that she wants to defend that belt also, making her the first double champs to defend both belts. The best name for that is none other than Felicia Spencer, who gave Cris Cyborg all she wanted in her title reign. Spencer’s stock rose. She is the only option at featherweight for Amanda Nunes.
Oh, and a Valentina Shevchenko superfight at 135 too.
Alexander Volkanovski Brings The Belt Home To Australia
Next opponent for Max Holloway: Alexander Volkanovski
Max Holloway has had a rough 2019. He came into UFC 245 on a thirteen fight win streak. He lost to Dustin Poirier in April, snapping that win streak. Luckily that fight was at lightweight and did not cost Holloway his belt. He turned aound and beat Frankie Edgar at UFC 240. Now, he’s lost his belt to Alexander Volkanovski. Holloway fought like he always does, with toughness and pressure. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for him this time. Holloway didn’t out man Volkanovski this fight.
Many called Max Holloway the best featherweight of all time. He had three title defenses and was a fan favorite. Max Holloway, without a doubt, deserves an immedate rematch with Volkanovski. The only question is if Max Holloway will make the proper adjustments, like actually checking the leg kicks, to get his belt back.
Next opponent for Alexander Volkanovski: Max Holloway
Alexander Volkanovski came in with the perfect game plan against Max Holloway. He was explosive, patient and didn’t let Holloway bully him like Holloway has done to so many people. Volkanovski showed incredible gameplanning against Aldo when they fought, and now he’s repeated the success against Holloway. His coaches over at Fortis MMA have made the perfect gameplan for a tough fight and got the job done, plain and simple.
As mentioned earlier, Max Holloway deserves an immedate rematch. The pressure is on Volkanovski to not be a one and done champion. He and his camp need to improve now more than ever. The trick will be anticipating Holloway’s game plan and executing properly.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington Live Up To The Hype
Next opponent for Colby Covington: Tyron Woodley, Leon Edwards
Colby Covington fought well against Kamaru Usman. He had pressure, hit with great shots, and fought great. And not a drop of wrestling to be seen. Colby Covington’s hands have improved since his infamous Demian Maia fight. He even showed improvement going into this fight. If he wants to beat Kamaru Usman, he needs to start to work on his head movement for a rematch, whenever that happens.
Covington is likely a win out from a rematch with Usman. There are a couple contenders that need a win as well. There is built in beef between Covington and former champion, Tyron Woodley. The two went at it while Woodley was the champ and the promos from that could do well in a Fight Night main event or a co-main pay per view event.
The second option is Leon Edwards. Edwards has well earned a title shot but the UFC likes money. More on that later. Edwards and Covington would be a perennial number one contender fight. Edwards is a giant welterweight as well with good hands. It would be a good test to see that improvement on Covington’s head movement improvement.
Next opponent for Kamaru Usman: Leon Edwards, Jorge Masvidal
Kamaru Usman stepped up on the biggest fight of his career and fought well against Colby Covington. He didn’t wrestle, he just punched on Covington until his brain gave out. He got hit quite a bit, although. He struggled under Covington’s pressure, despite being the bigger guy. That could pose problems with the next few contenders for Usman.
As mentioned earlier, Leon Edwards has more than earned a title shot. He’s won eight straight fights in the welterweight divison. His last win over Rafael Dos Anjos was his best. Usman and Edwards fought back in 2015 and Usman has said that Edwards was his toughest fight yet. Usman was also the last man to beat Edwards. The fight has UFC marketing written all over it. But…
The UFC likes money, a lot. Jorge Masvidal is their new money maker fight and he, too, has earned a title shot. With his last three wins being over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, Masvidal earned his shot at UFC gold finally. Masvidal will literally print money for the UFC in a real title fight. This is the real fight to make, and will likely be the one that happens next.