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UFC Vegas 13 delivered. It really delivered. From sliced ears to a Romanov’s forearm choke on Rogerio de Lima, it was a unique card from top to bottom.With the old guys ruling the main and co-main event, it’s safe to say you don’t have to teach an old dog new tricks, they already have great tricks. It’s time to to take a look at what’s next for some of our favorite fighters on the card!
Editor’s note: we ran the last six editions of Aftermath on Rokfin but now, we’re moving it back over to the website! Enjoy!
Xiaonan Yan Efficient on the Feet
Next opponent for Xiaonan Yan: Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Carla Esparza
The women’s strawweight division is one of the best in the UFC. With Weili Zhang on top and contenders like Rose Namajunas and Tatiana Suarez, the division is full of opportunity for fantastic fights. China’s Xiaonan Yan is now near the top of those contender lists. Yan came in the fight against Claudia Gadelha ranked eighth taking on the number four contender. Now she will be ranked top five.
On the feet, Xiaonan Yan was incredibly effective. She pumped the jab that frustrated Gadelha all night, which was visible on her face. While the clinch troubled Yan some, she did a mostly-good job stopping the takedowns and keeping the fight standing. Yan’s striking is some of the most technical you’ll see in the women’s division. She looks to secure her name for title contenders.
Zhang is Chinese as well. But in our first interview with Xiaonan Yan, she said fighting her would be an honor. ““If we can compete for the golden belt, it proves that the MMA players in China are getting stronger and stronger. I hope that such a thing will happen,” said Yan of a potential showdown between the two.
But, Yan is likely not to get the next title shot, as that will likely go to Rose Namajunas. So she will need to take a number one contender fight in the meantime. The best name for that is Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The former champion is coming off of a war with the champ, a fight she lost. Jedrzejczyk is tough and very technical in the striking department as well. Her and Yan would be a fantastic fight to enjoy for fans and see who could be next for the title shot.
Carla Esparza is your second choice. Esparza is also a former champion and ranked above Yan in the rankings. While a win over Esparza would be great, the UFC would likely give Jedrzejczyk the fight over Yan should she win. But, a win over Esparza would be a former champion win nonetheless.
Giga Chikadze Continues Georgian Dominance at UFC Vegas 13
Next opponent for Giga Chikadze: Jeremy Stephens, Youssef Zalal
Giga Chikadze is incredibly fun to watch. His knockout at UFC Vegas 13 earned a performance of the night award. It was one of the most insane sounding kicks as well. Chikadze did great staying out of the clinch against the shorter Simmons. His striking was crisp as always. The finishing sequence was picture perfect. Chikadze is known for his body kicks. He blasted Simmons with one that made him visually grimace. Chikadze then went up high on the very next exchange he goes up high, which worked because of the ferocity of the body shot. Then you hear “clunk” like a baseball bat to the noggin and Simmons is done for.
Chikadze is one of the more fun prospects in the division and is looking for his shot at the top, understandably so. In his post fight, he called out Jeremy Stephens, which is a great matchup. Stephens is powerful and an adequate wrestler to boot. He’s fought some of the best in the division and held his own most of the time. Chikadze would have to be on all of his P’s and Q’s in a fight with Stephens to avoid being decapitated by the division’s hardest hitter.
But, I’m going to be greedy and offer a better option: Youssef Zalal. Zalal was on a tear in the UFC’s 2020 year, winning three fights over Austin Lingo, Jordan Griffin, and Pete Barrett. He suffered his first loss, a domination by Georgia’s Ilia Toupuria. Zalal is a fantastic striker and would matchup in an explosive way with Chikadze that has that co-main event spot written all over it.
Raoni Barcelos is a Dark Horse in the Bantamweight Division
Next opponent for Raoni Barcelos: Sean O’Malley, Merab Dvalishvili
On Twitter, I said that Raoni Barcelos is a true dark horse of the bantamweight division. Watching him fight against Khalid Tafa was incredible. Tafa was incredibly tough as well. Barcelos kept coming and coming. So much so that the two got Fight of the Night bonuses at UFC Vegas 13. What really impressed me about Barcelos was how complete of a fighter he really is, which is scary. On his feet, Barcelos mixed up between punches, kicks and knees. Anyone other than Tafa would have been put away. Just when the casual viewer thinks, “Oh, this guy’s a striker, cool. Get it to the ground,” the fight goes to the ground and you realize, Barcelos is a grappler first that has turned into a fantastic striker. Barcelos is a threat. He’s going to have a hard time finding fights, especially after the attention he received at UFC Vegas 13.
My dream fight is Sean O’Malley for Barcelos. Both fighters would be tested more than they have ever been. While I don’t know the status of O’Malley’s leg from losing to Chito Vera at UFC 253. Should he be recovered enough, they could be a potential mega-prospect versus mega-prospect. O’Malley could test just how good Barcelos is on the feet and Barcelos is a major threat on the ground. This fight is pure action in the making.
If Barcelos is keen on a quick turnaround, Merab Dvalishvili is the man with the plan. Dvalishvili is an incredible wrestler and the current best fighter out of Georgia right now. He was supposed to fight Cody Stamann in mid-December. If he wants to truly fight one more time in 2020, Barcelos is a great opponent with a tough challenge for Dvalishvili. It will be a classic wrestler versus jiu jitsu matchup. Let’s see who wins. Hopefully, Dvalishvili has been practicing his Khridoli.
Andrei Arlovski’s Evolution
Next opponent for Andrei Arlovski: Junior Dos Santos damnit!, Greg Hardy
Former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, is back on a two fight win streak. Arlovski bounced back from his last loss to beating Philipe Lins at UFC Jacksonville and now beating the great heavyweight prospect, Tanner Boser. Arlovski has done a good job in recent fights becoming more measured and calculated, something heavyweights often lack. Boser is a tough fighter and very calculated as well. Arlovski fought fantastic and ended up getting a quality win over a good opponent.
I’ve been calling for Arlovski versus Junior Dos Santos since at least January of this year, probably earlier. UFC Vegas 13 Aftermath’s call will be no different. These two are absolutely on the backside of their careers and with all the time they’ve been in the UFC, have not fought. Make this fight so we can say we did it already.
Second option is one I floated at UFC Moscow last November. Greg Hardy lost to Alexander Volkov and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Arlovski is smart and a very experienced fighter with over fifty fights to his name. If we’re not going to led Dos Santos get the fight, why not test Hardy. He showed improvement big time in his last win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 12 last week. Let’s see if he’s made even more improvements.
Glover Teixeira Keeps Whoopin’ Up These Young Bucks
Next opponent for Thiago Santos: Reyes/Prochazka winner, Aleksandr Rakic
Thiago Santos caught a rough break at UFC Vegas 13. He almost had Teixeira put away on two different occasions. But, he left his hips exposed and allowed Glover to hang on just enough to stay in the game. Santos was then brought to the ground where he was way overmatched by the top-heavy Teixeira. The year and a half layoff didn’t look to affect Santos too much, he was fast and as powerful as before. Teixeira was simply better.
I liked the matchup between Santos and newly crowned champion, Jan Blachowicz. It was a rematch where Santos won the first. Now, that is shot in favor of either Teixeira or Israel Adesanya. Next matchup could be a contender fight with Dominick Reyes. Reyes, of course, lost his second shot at the belt to Blachowicz at UFC 253. While Reyes is matched up with newcomer, Jiri Prochazka, the winner will be in line behind Teixeira and will need another win. Santos, after he recovers, will be a great option for both fighters.
Aleksandr Rakic is your second option. He dominated Anthony Smith and is looking for a way in to the top echelon of the division. Santos could provide that route. The speed from both Rakic and Santos would be electrifying and would need tons of slow motion. Let’s do it.
Next opponent for Glover Teixeira: Jan Blachowicz, Reyes/Prochazka winner
Another mint performance for Glover Teixeira. Teixeira showed heart, being knocked down twice and managing to hang on to the leg and get the fight to the ground. Santos had no answer for the takedowns of Teixeira. With his ground and pound, he softened up Santos and tired out the explosive fighter. In the third, the softening up didn’t matter, however, as Teixeira got caught again. This time, he reversed the ground and pound and choked out Santos in an amazing display of composure.
Now on a five fight win streak, beating two former title challengers, it’s time for Teixeira to get a second shot at UFC gold. His first came in 2014, a decision loss to Jon Jones. Teixeira has made his case for a shot at Jan Blachowicz. Blachowicz was wrestled to death by Alexander Gustafsson and this matchup with Teixeira is intriguing because of that. Screw Blachowicz versus Adesanya. Give Glover his shot. Let Izzy fight Jon Jones on the McGregor-Poirier card.
If Adesanya is given what he wants and fights for his second belt, Glover Teixeira will be left out in the cold. He will likely want to fight in the mean time. The winner of Reyes and Prochazka is another option here. Let’s let Glover feast on another young buck.