UFC Raleigh Aftermath: Out With the Old, In With the New

UFC Raleigh brought some of the best fighters to North Carolina for MMA fans to see. In this card’s Aftermath, we take a look at what’s next for some of our favorite fighters on the card.

Herbert Burns Makes His Statement

Next opponent for Herbert Burns: Kron Gracie, Bryce Mitchell

The brother of Gilbert Burns, Herbert Burns, made his promotional debut. The highly touted prospect completely dominated his fight. It was apparent Burns has the advantage on the feet. He also quickly got Landwher in the ground and put him in a submission attempt. When Landwher got to his feet after being stuck in a choke for about a minute and a half to two minutes. He had urgency, knowing he wasn’t long for this fight. He started to press Burns. Burns saw an opportunity with Landwher’s wild bombs and promptly threw a knee that did the job. Landwher was out as Burns threw one ground and pound strike before the ref got in and stopped the fight.

Burns showed a high skill level in his first fight in the UFC. He remained calm under pressure, patient when he had the advantage, and he wasn’t scared to throw anything on the feet. Now Burns requires a tougher challenge. He will likely see a quick rise in the featherweight division, being one of the Promotions premier prospects.

Give fans a wet dream and match Burns up with Kron Gracie. In a perfectly perfect Jiu Jitsu showdown, Gracie and Burns would be a fantastic matchup for grappling fans. It would be a great test for Burns. Just being 100% honest, I want to see this fight. It’s a bucket list type thing, just like Herbert’s older brother, Gilbert, taking on Demian Maia.

While we’re doing Jiu Jitsu matchups, let’s throw Bryce Mitchell’s name in the hat as well. While I love both fighters and do not want either to lose, it’s a fantastic fight and would put both fighters on the map big time with a win.

Check out our podcast with Herbert Burns!

Michael Chiesa Towers Over Rafael Dos Anjos

Next opponent for Rafael Dos Anjos: Li Jingliang, Maia/Burns winner

The former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos found a brief career revival in the welterweight division. He was on the way to a title shot until he fought Covington in 2018. He’s been spotty since then. While he’s notched some great wins, like against Robbie Lawler, he’s also struggled against the wrestlers in the division. Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington are the most notable of those two names. I am unsure where Dos Anjos goes from here. He is in the twilight of his career and a shell of his former self.

The entirety of the fight, Dos Anjos, a noted striker, struggled with the length of Chiesa. And, as Dos Anjos has repeatedly in the past, he struggled with the wrestling of Chiesa and UFC Raleigh.

Li Jingliang is one option that might be in the cards for Dos Anjos. It’s a lower ranked fight for Dos Anjos but still a good test for both him and Jingliang. Dos Anjos is in need of a win at this point and Jingliang is not a wrestler, which seems to be Dos Anjos kryptonite. For Jingliang, it would provide a great win over a former champ and take him to the next level.

The second option for Dos Anjos would be the winner of Gilbert Burns and Demian Maia. Should Burns win, he would need another quality win before taking part in a title eliminator. If Maia wins, it’s a great stylistic matchup for both fighters.

Next opponent for Michael Chiesa: Colby Covington, Stephen Thompson

I’ve criticized Michael Chiesa in the past for being very passive when he has an advantageous position. He seemingly liked holding someone down without doing much damage. In the fight against Dos Anjos he was much more aggressive. But it wasn’t just on the feet where his output was higher, he also gave more pressure on the feet.

The win over Dos Anjos at UFC Raleigh really put Chiesa in a favorable spot. Dos Anjos was ranked 5 and being unranked, Chiesa vaulted himself into the top ten and right in the conversation for a shot at the welterweight crown. His call out of Colby Covington was an appropriate one. While I think Covington has the advantage on the feet and the ground, Chiesa’s length and size could be a problem for the former title challenger. A win over Covington would have him next in line for a shot at the title.

While the Covington fight is a fun one, I do believe the more appropriate fight would be another test against a top welterweight. Since coming up to welterweight, Chiesa has had a fairly easy ride in the division. He’s beat Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez and now Dos Anjos. While those fighters are all legends of the sport, they’re also not the same fighters now as when they fought Chiesa. It’s time he takes on a real test.

Let’s take away Chiesa’s size advantage for a fight and pit him against Stephen Thompson. Thompson is long and rangey, he would be able to intercept Chiesa before coming in for a takedown. If Chiesa can deal with that length, he may well be ready for a title.

Can Anyone Not Named “Francis N’Gannou” Beat Curtis Blaydes?

Next opponent for Junior Dos Santos: Alexey Oleinik, Andrei Arlovski

Junior Dos Santos didn’t have much for Curtis Blaydes. He struggled with striking the entire night, and Blaydes striking wasn’t incredibly impressive. Dos Santos seemingly was worries about the takedown from Blaydes, his strong suit.

Dos Santos is in a bad spot to become heavyweight champion again, which he’s stated is his goal. With two straight losses to Blaydes and Francis N’Gannou, Dos Santos has a long climb back to the top. And at the age of 35 and all the wars he has been through, there isn’t much time left for “Cigano.”

Dos Santos, as I said, is in a bad spot. He has plenty of fights available but none are very appealing for his goal. Alexey Oleinik is one such option. Oleinik is coming off a win at UFC 246 and he has some of the gnarliest grappling. It would be awesome to see these two go at it in their careers as a legends match.

Another legends matchup that has somehow evaded the UFC’s matchmaking is Dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski. The two have never fought through all the years they’ve been in the promotion together. It’s time to make this matchup happen.

Next opponent for Curtis Blaydes: Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruick

Curtis Blaydes looked better than normal in the striking department at UFC Raleigh. He knew Dos Santos was scared of the takedown so he took his time to find the right openings on the feet. Blaydes did look a little desperate for takedowns at times, but with seemingly no threat on the feet, Blaydes wouldn’t be punished by it.

Blaydes is in an awkward spot after winning at UFC Raleigh. He’s certainly in the running for a title shot at heavyweight. But the champ, Stipe Miocic, and Daniel Cormier are in the gunning for a rubber match between the two. Then there is Francis N’Gannou, who is the only man to beat Curtis Blaydes. It’s definitely N’Gannou who gets the next shot assuming he beats Rozenstruick.

Blaydes needs another win to get his long awaited title shot. Alistair Overeem is one name we could see matched up with Blaydes. The two have never fought and it would make sense to see the two heavyweights rumble. Seeing Blaydes handle some more experience would be a nice addition to his body count.

The second option is Jairzinho Rozenstruick, should he fall to N’Gannou. Blaydes has suffered two knockouts because of N’Gannou’s freakish power. Rozenstruick has that kind of power and I would like to see Blaydes beat someone with that power. It would make sense for Rozenstruick as well, testing his wrestling as well.

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UFC Raleigh Aftermath: Out With The Old, In With The New