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I’m tired of “UFC Vegas XX Aftermath.” I’m ready for the UFC to go to some new places. Regardless, last nights fights happened. We didn’t get the finishes we were all hoping for but we learned a lot about some of the players in a couple divisions. So, without any pressure, let’s talk a couple fights from UFC Vegas 20.
Magomed Ankalaev Overcomes Adversity at UFC Vegas 20
Next opponent for Magomed Ankalaev: Rakic/Santos loser, Glover Teixeira
Magomed Ankalaev took on a tough Nikita Krylov at UFC Vegas 20. We’ve become accustomed to Ankalaev finishing everything that steps foot in the cage with him. Krylov did a fantastic job of neutralizing the power of Ankalaev in the first round with grappling. Ankalaev impressed me most by taking that loss in the first round and adjusting in rounds two and three taking the fight away from Krylov. Now he looks to the top of the division and has some stellar matchups.
With light heavyweight going through a resurgence. There are tons of new contenders, Ankalaev included. His next matchup should be someone with some upper-tier experience. My first option is the loser of Aleksandr Rakic and Thiago Santos. Should Ankalaev fight Santos, the fireworks would be immense. And Santos has championship fight experience to boot. If it’s Rakic, it’s a very technical matchup and a good rebound for Rakic or a quality win for Ankalaev.
Glover Teixeira is my second bet for Ankalaev. Teixeira is on a tear and is ready for a title shot. But, with Adesanya coming fight for the title, Glover will need another fight. Ankalaev is another young gun for Teixeira to feast on. But if we’re ruining Teixeira’s Cinderella man late career to the title, I’d rather it be against someone like Magomed Ankalaev.
Cyril Gane Shows He’s A True Mixed Martial Artist
Next opponent for Cyril Gane: Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes
The fight between Cyril Gane and Jairzinho Rozenstruik was billed as a heavyweight banger for UFC Vegas 20. It was not that. Many fans saw the fight as boring and an uninspired performance from Gane, who took the decision 50-45. But what I took away from Gane’s performance was just how much he’s not simply a kickboxer competing in MMA. Gane had shown us in the past that he has some grappling chops with his first to wins in the UFC by arm triangle and heel hook. Then he showed his striking prowess. At UFC Vegas 20, Gane showed masterful striking and surprised us with some clinch work and wrestling. Make no mistake about it, Cyril Gane is a threat to the throne, weather Stipe Miocic, Jon Jones, or Francis N’Gannou had the belt.
That said, Gane’s schooling of Rozenstruik will not get him the title shot he wants. He will need to fight again, much like I said about Derrick Lewis last week in his win over Blaydes. That said, one of those two will be who Gane should fight next.
Derrick Lewis is the obvious choice. The number one contender not named Jon Jones, Gane and Lewis would most likely look near-identical to the Gane-Rozenstruik fight with more dire consequences. Gane should fight the exact same, a stick and jab and frustrating Lewis by not giving him any room to land his shot he looks for.
But, Gane also needs a test to see if he’s ready for the elite and that test seems to be Curtis Blaydes. While he’s coming off of a loss, Blaydes would provide that wrestling pedigree that Gane will have to neutralize that wrestling pedigree of Blaydes. His footwork will be what needs to be on point with this fight without a doubt.