UFC 243 went down last night (Sat., Oct. 5, 2019) live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, featuring a Middleweight title unification match that saw Israel Adesnaya knockout Robert Whittaker in the second round to unify the titles and become the undisputed 185-pound champion (highlights). In the co-main event, Dan Hooker dominated Al Iaquinta to take home an impressive unanimous decision win, upping his stock in a talent-rich 155-pound division (full recap here).
Winner: Israel Adesanya
Who He Should Fight Next: Paulo Costa
This one is a no-brainer, as UFC didn’t fly “The Eraser” out to Melbourne just for fun, as he is indeed the next man up. Costa is coming off an impressive win over Yoel Romero and is currently the No. 2-ranked fighter at 185 pounds.
This promises to be a one of the biggest fights of 2020, as both men are undefeated and are rising stars in the promotion. They have been at each other’s throats since forever, so the build up to this fight will be electric. The fight itself should be one to remember, as both men like to bang. And while Costa has the clear power advantage, Adesanya’s technical striking could give the hulking Brazilian problems.
Winner: Dan Hooker
Who He Should Fight Next: Anthony Pettis
Hooker called for Dustin Poirier next, but that fight is not going to happen — “The Diamond” took to Twitter to shut it down. Nevertheless, a fight against Anthony Pettis seems more fitting. “Showtime” is eying a move back down to 155 pounds after a short stint at Welterweight.
And after his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 241, a showdown against Hooker seems like the right thing to do. Pettis is still lurking around in the Top 10 ... somewhere “Hangman” desperately wants to be. Come later this week, Hooker will likely find himself there, which should put him closer to Pettis in the rankings.
Winner: Sergey Spivak
Who He Should Fight Next: Juan Adams
Spivak came up big against Tai Tuivasa, dominating him before earning a second round submission win. Now that he has his first UFC win under his belt, Spivak can look forward to his next challenge inside the Octagon, preferably against Juan Adams.
Adams has dropped his last two UFC fights, but he was undefeated (5-0) prior to that. Adams isn’t too much of a step up for Spivak, despite Sergey only having two UFC fights on his resume. It’s an even match up for both men moving forward. I’d pick Spivak to be the more technical fighter of the two, but Adams has heavy hands that can sleep any foe.
Winner: Dhiego Lima
Who He Should Fight Next: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Don’t look now, but Lima is slowly climbing up the 170-pound ladder, winning three straight following back-to-back losses to start his UFC career. I’d like to see him fight someone like dos Santos next. Elizeu is coming off a tough loss to Li Jingliang this past August, giving him his first loss since 2016. Like Lima, Elizeu is simply trying to slowly carve out some real estate in the thick of the 170-pound landscape, which is pretty stacked at the moment.
Winner: Yorgan de Castro
Who He Should Fight Next: Allen Crowder
Yorgan made good on his UFC debut, knocking out fellow UFC newcomer Justin Tafa violently in the very first round. It’s not a bad way to start off his UFC career, which was made even sweeter after collecting a $50,000 bonus check. I would like to see UFC pair up de Castro against Crowder next in a battle of hard-hitting big men. Allen is just 1-2 so far in his young UFC career, so it won’t be a huge step up for de Castro (6-0, 1-0 UFC) coming off his debut win.
Allen was last seen getting knocked out by Jairzinho Rozenstruik in lightning-quick fashion. While Crowder is coming off a loss, I think the fight against Yorgan make sense given their similar experience level. You don’t want to put Yorgan up against a higher-ranked foe too quickly, as taking the slow road seems to be the best route to take. That said, Crowder is no push-over and the fight won’t be a walk in the park for Yorgan. But if he can put that win on his resume, it will be a step in the right direction.
For complete UFC 243 results and coverage click here.