clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for Ben Rothwell following loss to Junior dos Santos?

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 86 blew the roof off Zagreb Arena in Zagreb, Croatia, yesterday (Sun., April 10, 2016) on FOX Sports 1.

For complete coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 86 card click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Gabriel Gonzaga, who was beat down by Derrick Lewis in the very first round (see it again here). And Cyril Asker, who was on the receiving end of a first-round knockout from Jared Cannonier (video replay here).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now two days removed from the show?

Ben Rothwell.

The heavy-handed heavyweight landed in Croatia hoping to pick up his fifth win in a row and inch himself closer to his much-desired shot at the division strap.

Unfortunately for "Big Ben," he ran into a very determined Junior dos Santos, who was looking to capture his first victory after getting knocked out by Alistair Overeem a few months ago.

From the get-go, both men came out swinging heavy leather, hoping to land an early home run punch to put the fight to bed early. Despite being the aggressor for the majority of the bout, Rothwell couldn't seem to get going; especially since "JDS" implemented a stick-and-move strategy thanks to his accurate striking and clever footwork.

Despite his best efforts (see them again here) -- especially in the closing moments of the five-round fight -- "Big Ben" couldn't find his mark, while "Cigano" was finding his early and often.

In the end, the judges awarded the Brazilian a unanimous decision victory, giving him a much-needed win while snapping Rothwell's four-fight win streak.

So, where does "Big" Ben go from here?

Despite the loss, Rothwell shouldn't tumble too far down in the heavyweight rankings. After all, no other big man has been doing what he has over the last year, taking on all comers whenever the chance presented itself.

In fact, much credit has to be given to the towering brawler, as he was seemingly the only one in the 265-pound division willing to give dos Santos a fight, according to the Brazilian himself. And it was a rather risky move, too, as "Cigano" was fresh off a loss to "The Reem."

And while you normally don't see a scorching fighter risk a win streak against someone going the opposite way, "Big Ben" didn't mind taking on all comers. If you want to prove you're the best in the division, you have to be confident enough to beat all the top guys.

Unfortunately, the risk didn't pay off for "Big Ben" this time around, but his gutsy performance against a former champion should be nothing to hang his head over.

That said, perhaps a showdown against the loser of the upcoming heavyweight collision between Antonio Silva and Stefan Struve this May would be a good option for Rothwell's return bout.

Unless, of course, you have a better suggestion in mind.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania