UFC 252 Aftermath: The Heavyweight GOAT

#UFC252 Aftermath: The Heavyweight GOAT

UFC 252 brought back pay per view level of events to MMA fans. The card was headlined by the fight that would “determine the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.” The main card went off without a hitch and now it’s time to look forward to what’s next for some of our fighters on this edition of Aftermath.

Note: new to Aftermath we will be looking forward to the next fight card and analyzing a fight or two! Enjoy!

Merab Dvalishvili and John Dodson Have A Scramble-Fest

Next opponent for Merab Dvalishvili: Song Yadong, Raphael Assuncao

Coming into this fight, I knew Merab Dvalishvili would have a hard time getting the type of wrestling he wanted against John Dodson. Dodson is incredibly fast and really an underrated scrambler. I was curious to see how Dvalishvili would handle the frustration from repeated failure in the fight. He handled it quite well. Instead of being frustrated and trying something new, Dvalishvili kept bringing the pace and shooting for takedowns all night. Dodson was on his back foot the entire fight and couldn’t get any offense going.

Dvalishvili continued his tear in the UFC’s bantamweight division. He’s extended his win streak to five. The guillotine loss to Ricky Simon feels like a lifetime ago with the performances put out by Dvalishvili. While Dvalishvili’s UFC career started off rocky with two straight losses to Simon and Frankie Saenz, he’s righted the ship and is now bound for title contention.

Now that Dvalishvili has another win under his belt, this time against the former title challenger, John Dodson, he is ready to climb the stacked bantamweight division. Song Yadong is the prime choice for the surging Georgian. Yadong has a win over Chito Vera, who we will be discussing later. While I will make the case for that rematch, Yadong is ranked slightly below Dodson but would be a logical step up for Dvalishvili.

If we’re fast tracking Dvalishvili, Raphael Assuncao is the choice. Assuncao suffered a huge knockout loss to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 250. Dvalishvili isn’t quite the knockout threat that Garbrandt is, but the fight would be a good opportunity for Dvalishvili to take on a very technically sound fighter and would give Assuncao a chance to have a good fight with little chance of knockout.

Herbert Burns Has a Big Setback

Next opponent for Herbert Burns: Chris Fishgold, Jared Gordon

Coming into UFC 252, Herbert Burns was beginning to get the push by the UFC brass. With his brother, Gilbert Burns, fighting for a title, Herbert was looking to make his own claim of his division. Unfortunately, the prospect was set back by the veteran, Daniel Pineda. Pineda now has 40 fights to his name and Burns was somewhat thrown to the wolves in this fight with the experience deficit. Burns also had a tough time making weight and missed weight by 3.5 pounds. It was just a recipe for disaster for Burns.

Burns is 32 and as a featherweight, that’s aging. Burns doesn’t have time to lose another fight and needs to take the best name he can get and get the win. Chris Fishgold might be one of the better fights for Burns. Fishgold has lost his last two fights and is looking for a rebound. The last loss suffered by Burns might be enough to lure Fishgold into a fight that he could capitalize on.

Jared Gordon is the second option for Herbert Burns. Gordon has a well-known name and he and Burns could easily co-main a fight night card and would be a fantastic stylistic matchup. A jiu jitsu player versus a striker always makes for a great treat for fans.

Jairzinho Rozenstruicks Back

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

Junior Dos Santos is finally showing his age. In his last three fights, he’s been knocked out cold. While it’s been by the top of the division (Francis N’Gannou, Curtis Blaydes, and now Rozenstruick), he’s showing that the former champion is aging in an already old division. Dos Santos managed to strike with the dangerous Bigi Boy, but he never had his opponent in trouble.

I’ve been calling for nothing but legacy fights for Dos Santos for some time now, and I will continue to call for them. Somehow, after all the time he’s been in the UFC’s heavyweight division, Junior Dos Santos has yet to fight Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski has a fight against Tanner Boser soon and win or lose, he and JDS should be matched up.

If the Arlovski fight doesn’t materialize, Alexey Oleinik is another good choice. It’s another legacy fight that somehow has been missed by Dos Santos and the UFC brass. Oleinik lost to Derrick Lewis last week at UFC Vegas 6 and will be out for some time, like JDS should. He and the grappler would be another fun fight of two legends going at it.

Next opponent for Jairzinho Rozenstruick: Curtis Blaydes, Derrick Lewis

Jairzinho Rozenstruick added another great name to his list of bodies. Now 11-1, Rozenstruick has knocked out Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Andrei Arlovski. Rozenstruick has made his name on destroying UFC heavyweight greats. Unfortunately, he’s way back in line after being starched by Francis N’Gannou at UFC 249. But there are fights for him to claw his way to the top.

For Rozenstruick he has an opportunity to get his name into the next level of the heavyweight division. Curtis Blaydes and Rozenstruick are both firmly behind N’Gannou for the next shot at Miocic. The two could be matched up and see who has the better will. Rozenstruick hasn’t really faced a wrestler yet and could use the tough test. Blaydes was knocked out brutally by N’Gannou as well, so a power puncher like Rozenstruick could be his statement that he’s ready to fight anyone in front of him.

If the UFC wants to make the world explode, Derrick Lewis is coming off of his win last week as well. The two power punchers have more excitement as well and, unless we get an N’Gannou-Lewis, could be a banger. Lewis brings the brawling that put Rozenstruick away against N’Gannou, and Lewis gets a power puncher to test his chin and speed.

Ain’t No Suga In Chito Vera’s UFC 252 Coffee

Next opponent for Sean O’Malley: Ricky Simon, Jack Shore

There was an ungodly amount of hype leading into the Sean O’Malley fight at UFC 252. He was compared to not only Conor McGregor, but cross sport with names like Lamar Jackson as well. Sean O’Malley has been a hype job with wins over Terrion Ware, Andre Soukhamthath, who aren’t in the UFC anymore, and Jose Quinonez and Eddie Wineland who are not players in the division. The fight with Chito was a giant leap in competition and I questioned how O’Malley would look. He did come out the gate looking good. He and Vera went kick for kick for the majority of the first round. Around the mid point in the round, Vera caught O’Malley with a thigh kick that messed up the nerves in O’Malley’s leg. O’Malley had trouble feeling his foot and stumbled. Unfortunately, O’Malley was on the bad end of a hellbow from Vera. While the stoppage was a bit premature, Herb Dean did O’Malley a favor saving him from getting any more punishment.

Now, O’Malley’s hype train has seemingly been derailed. It will be interesting to see how O’Malley carries over his persona now that he’s tasted defeat. Hopefully, he grows from this loss and becomes a better fighter and better person.

As for what’s next, it’s going to be a while until we see Sean O’Malley back after his loss at UFC 252. But when he comes back, there are some matches to be made. It’s going to be a can for O’Malley to get his confidence and a win back under his belt. Depending on how he looks, Ricky Simon would be a great fight for O’Malley. Simon is a striker and has decent wrestling to keep O’Malley honest. While Simon has a fight with Brian Kelleher scheduled, the layoff for O’Malley can set the fight up with a good timeframe.

But, if we are in the business of throwing Sean O’Malley to the fire, Jack Shore is the man. Shore is an insane wrestler who brings a great pace. Shore could build a name off of beating the popular Sean O’Malley and could boost his resume to the next level. Should O’Malley win, he’s back in the win column and has actually fought a wrestler.

Next opponent for Chito Vera: Song Yadong

Chito Vera came into UFC 252 with a chip on his shoulder. Vera was overlooked by most of the MMA media in favor of the Suga Show. Vera called O’Malley’s bluff on the leg kicks and it was the end, put O’Malley away. Vera managed to take advantage of the damage HE CAUSED to to O’Malley’s leg and win the fight with some vicious ground and pound.

Now, Vera has more hype behind him than ever before. His next fight will be the biggest of his career. Chito Vera was the victim of a questionable decision in his last fight against Song Yadong at UFC Florida. While I pitched Yadong-Dvalishvili earlier on, it would be a better fight for Vera to do the rematch and get that loss back to show he truly is the better fighter.

But if the UFC is keen on making Vera a contender quicker, John Dodson is the man. Dodson lost to Dvalishvili on the same card and is looking for where to go from here. Dodson, a former two time title challenger, would be another good name for the resume of Chito Vera and could be a fun fight overall due to a sheer amount of speed in the fight.

Stipe Miocic Clinches The Trilogy With DC

Daniel Cormier will go down and one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all time. Cormier’s resume includes second place in the NCAA D1 wrestling championships, Pan American gold medals, a bronze medal in the 2007 freestyle World Championships, a representative of the USA Olympic wrestling team in 2008, a Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix championship, the UFC light heavyweight championship, and the UFC heavyweight championship. Cormier called it a career after losing to Miocic at UFC 252.

Cormier fought well but simply didn’t have enough for Miocic. He did not find opportunities to wrestle against Miocic, a good job by Stipe and not abandoning to Cormier’s original gameplan. Cormier will leave his lasting impact on mixed martial arts for generations to come.

Next opponent for Stipe Miocic: Francis N’Gannou, Jon Jones

Stipe Miocic defended the heavyweight title for a fourth time, first of his second reign. He managed to not only keep Cormier at bay in their rubber match, but when he was on the ground, he managed to get back up. He kept Cormier’s wrestling at bay with wrist control, underhooks, and footwork. Stipe Miocic came out of UFC 252 cementing himself as the top dog in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He has wins over Daniel Cormier, Francis N’Gannou, Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt, and Gabriel Gonzaga. Miocic will hopefully continue his resume building, further cornering the division as his.

As for what’s next, Francis N’Gannou is the obvious next choice. N’Gannou has destroyed all other contenders that could even think about a heavyweight title shot. Miocic and N’Gannou have fought in the past, as previously mentioned, there really isn’t anything else for Stipe that exists in the division already. N’Gannou destroyed the other wrestler he’s faced in Curtis Blaydes. He is next in line unless…

That’s right, Jon Jones. He’s basically got bored with light heavyweight, having dismantled three generations of fighters in the division. Jones and Miocic have been linked in the past but fizzled when Jones failed a drug test after UFC 217. The title was given back to Cormier and he was granted the shot at becoming a double-champ, which he did. Jones is primed to become the next fight for Miocic, given how one sided Miocic-N’Gannou was. If Jones wants to come back, it could be the super fight he was looking for with the stakes he would be happy with.

Looking Forward to UFC Vegas 7

Austin Hubbard vs. Joe Solecki

Austin Hubbard and Joe Solecki were originally scheduled to fight at UFC Vegas 3. Solecki was forced to pull out due to a failed COVID-19 test, even though he was safe. He said in his interview with us that comes out this week that he was fine and was doing his due diligence.

Hubbard went on to fight Max Rohskopf in the infamous fight. Hubbard is insanely durable and brings the pain every fight. When the fight was originally announced, I thought the prospect-versus-prospect fight was awesome matchmaking. Both Solecki and Hubbard have been highly thought of and could be forces to reckon with in the future. This fight is a springboard for either fighter’s career that gives each the upward trajectory.

Pedro Munhoz vs. Frankie Edgar

The main event of UFC Vegas 7 is the bantamweight debut of the great Frankie Edgar. He takes on no breaks and takes on Pedro Munhoz. Edgar, a former lightweight champion, had three title shots at featherweight. Having nowhere else to go, Edgar decided bantamweight was the spot for him.

Edgar is a very talented wrestler and can cause some trouble for Munhoz. Coming down two weights is a tough feat and is almost impossible for most fighters. But for Edgar, his frame is small enough to make the weight and put himself in title contention in his new weight class.

Munhoz is coming off of a loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 238 a year ago. He’s had this fight rescheduled four times with a COVID-19 positive test stopping one of them. He will finally get the opportunity to redeem himself against another former champion at UFC Vegas 7.

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