Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back in action last night (Sat., April 7, 2018) as UFC 223 took place inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In the main event of the evening, Khabib Nurmagomedov smothered an dominated Al Iaquinta in a five-round title fight to become the promotion’s undisputed Lightweight champion (full video here). In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas retained her women’s Strawweight strap by defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the second time in six months (recap here).
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Who He Should Face Next: Conor McGregor
If you think Conor McGregor will no longer fight inside the Octagon after his blow up in Brooklyn last which hurt plenty of fighters and cancelled four fights for UFC 223, you’re either new to the game of just fooling yourself. Yes, fighters have been cut for less, but when you are the biggest money-making machine UFC has, all you get is a slap on a wrist, a scolding and then get rewarded with a title fight.
And that’s what will likely happen either later this year or early next. Tony Ferguson still thinks he’s a champion, even though Dana White has already stated he is no longer interim champion. While he is the top contender, he will be out of action for quite sometime due to his “freak injury.” That only leaves McGregor as the logical option to face Khabib next. Plus, the promotion -- for better or worse -- has it teed up perfectly thanks to Conor’s rampage. Yes, they will use that footage to promote the fight.
Winner: Rose Namajunas
Who She Should Fight Next: Winner of Jessica Andrade vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Sure that fight isn’t booked, yet, but it is the one to make, as both women are riding two fight win streaks, and both came up short in their respective bids to win the strap from Joanna Jedrzejczyk. With Andrade ranked No. 2 and Karolina coming at at No. 4, this fight will determine Rose’s next challenge and it should be a good fight, too. Karolina, In fact, Karolina was the last person to defeat “Thug Rose,” taking a split decision from her back at UFC 201.
Winner: Renato Moicano
Who He Should Fight Next: Yair Rodriguez
Moican got back on the winning track with an impressive and dominant win over Calvin Kattar. Rodriguez, meanwhile, is ranked one spot ahead of the Brazilian and would make a good challenge and measuring stick for Renato. Yair is close to an Octagon return after getting worked over by Frankie Edgar last May. A win for Renato definitely puts him in the top 10, while Rodriguez can get back into the thick of things if e can stop the Brazilian’s momentum.
Winner: Zabit Magomedsharipov
Who He Should Fight Next: Miles Jury
Zabit and Kyle Bochniak put on a fight for the ages in a thrilling three-round “Fight of the Night” scrap. That is now 11 straight wins for Zabit, who has proven he is a legit threat in the 145-pound weight class. Still, he needs a couple more big wins to crack the top 10 and start getting the high-profile fights that are sure to come his way. Jury, meanwhile, is on a two-fight win streak, is ranked No. 14 and has the experience to challenge Zabit.
Winner: Chris Gruetzemacher
Who He Should Fight Next: Evan Dunham
While Chris’s dominant win over Joe Lauzon was impressive, we have to remember he was coming off two straight defeats, so taking a fight against someone coming off a loss like Dunham isn’t exactly a downgrade. In fact, Evan -- who was knocked out by Olivier Aubin Mercier at UFC 223 — hold a spot in the top 15, so it will be a step up or Chris. Don’t think about it too hard, book it.
For complete UFC 223: “Khabib vs. Iaquinta” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.