The last UFC event of the year is behind us. The last UFC of the decade at that. The 10s were a wonder of the sport of mixed martial arts. Let’s do our last Aftermath piece as we gear up for 2020 after UFC Busan.
Volkan Oezdemir Shows Even More Improvement
Next opponent for Alexander Rakic: Johnny Walker, Misha Cirkunov
I had Alexander Rakic fighting for the title early in 2020. But with a loss to Volkan Oezdemir, that may be put off by a year or more now. Oezdemir isn’t bad, in fact he’s improved a lot since having his cardio busted by Daniel Cormier. Rakic didn’t fight terrible either. He attemted to wrestle against Oezdemir to no real avail, a true energy zapper that cost him the fight. Had Rakic not wrestled and simply worked on out-pacing Oezdemir, this fight would likely have gone the other way.
Now, Rakic has a setback for the first time since his first ever professional fight. He fought Oezdemir well and deserves a top ten fighter. Johnny Walker is that fight. Both are exciting fighters and coming off losses closing out 2019. This fight would be a battle of the contenders to see whose career will take the quicker turn for a shot at Jon Jones in 2020.
Most of the top ten in light heavyweight is either injured or in a title contender fight. That leaves limited other options for Alexander Rakic after UFC Busan. Misha Cirkunov is an outside the top ten option for Rakic to take on his rebound fight.
Next opponent for Volkan Oezdemir: Thiago Santos, Blachowicz/Anderson loser
Since being beat three times in a row, Volkan Oezdemir looks to have turned it around with two wins in a row. Having beat Ilir Latifi and now Rakic, Oezdemir is on his way back up the ladder to a title shot. This time, he’ll face a different champion at the top, Jon Jones.
Of course, Oezdemir needs to win a couple more fights before he gets that title shot, or simply wait for Jones to beat everyone. But, that’s no fun for a speculation piece. So, Oezdemir can face off with Thiago Santos who will need to make a comeback in 2020. Santos and Oezdemir have that exciting stylistic matchup that can make for a great Fight Night main event.
The other option is for Oezdemir to take on the loser of Corey Anderson versus Jan Blachowicz. The winner of that fight will likely fight for the title next assuming Jones wins his matchup with Dominick Reyes. The loser of that fight will still be in a good position within the light heavyweight rankings and the fight between that person and Oezdemir would be one of those classic winning outcomes no matter what’s that I like to see the UFC set up.
The Korean Zombie Caps Off His Year With A Giant Win
Next opponent for Frankie Edgar: Cory Sandhagen, Aljamain Sterling
Frankie Edgar has had a rough 2019. Losing both of his fights, Edgar is at a crossroads post-UFC Busan. He was scheduled to move down to bantamweight and face Cory Sandhagen at UFC Raleigh. But, that fight absolutely won’t happen now that Edgar was beat pretty badly by Korean Zombie. Edgar was just never in the fight. Being away in South Korea on such short notice may have had an effect on Frankie Edgar, but he’s not the type to make these kind of excuses.
Now, he needs to figure out what he wants to do career-wise. Edgar can make his bantamweight debut in 2020. That will be his likely path going forward. Cory Sandhagen might not get the fight he wants at UFC Raleigh, but the Edgar fight is not out of the question. Sandhagen and Edgar should be on a collision course and fans will get to eat every ounce of it up.
The other option at bantamweight is the odd man out, Aljamain Sterling. Henry Cejudo is doing all kinds of weird callouts, like calling out Jose Aldo after Aldo loses a fight. He seems to be avoiding Petr Yan, who is the real number one contender. Aljamain Sterling’s last fight was this June. He needs a fight and there aren’t much options out there for Sterling. He might be forced to wait. Edgar would be wide open and it would be a high enough stakes fight for Edgar as well.
Next opponent for The Korean Zombie: Alexander Volkanovski, Zabit Magomedsharipov
The Korean Zombie has had an absolutely phenomonial 2019. Renato Moicano was in line for a title shot with a win earlier this year in less than a minute. Now, he’s capped of 2019 with a win over former champion, Frankie Edgar. Zombie ran through Edgar at UFC Busan. Edgar tried to lock up Zombie and wrestling and Zombie was having none of it. He slowly and methodically picked his shots and hurt Edgar with some ground and pound. Yet another first round finish for The Korean Zombie.
While a title fight should be in line for Zombie, with Max Holloway losing his title to Alexander Volkanovski, he is likely to get a rematch. If that fight doesn’t materialize because Holloway wants a break from his packed schedule, Korean Zombie is your guy. He and Volkanovski will be a banger of a scrap for exciting fans. With Zombie having gone 3-1 since returning to the UFC, he’s certainly earned it with all the right wins. Even the one loss was basically a fluke, the Yair Rodriguez fight was a hail mary up elbow with one second to go.
If Volkanovski and Holloway do fight, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Korean Zombie is a match made in heaven. Since coming over from ACB in 2017, Zabit has gone 6-0 in the UFC, he’s quickly become one of the top fan favorites in the featherweight division. Unfortunately, Zabit hasn’t had the best contenders. He’s fought Jeremy Stephens, who is the only fighter with tons of experience. Zombie is the veteran that Zabit hasn’t faced. Korean Zombie is on a tear and has fought for a title. Both fighters will benefit for a win over each other. And it would be so damn fun. Just do it
UFC Busan Aftermath: The Korean Zombie Cannot Be DeniedTweet