Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last Saturday night (Feb. 9, 2019), staging UFC 234 form inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia which was headlined by a Middleweight showdown featuring Anderson Silva taking on Israel Adesanya.
You can thank this for the change in headlining act.
Adesanya did enough to edge out “The Spider” in what proved to be a highly-entertaining three round fight (see it again here). In the co-main event, Lando Vannata got back in the win column after taking out Marco Rosa Mariano (recap).
Winner: Israel Adesanya
Wo He Should Face Next: Title shot
This one is a no-brainer, as “The Last Stylebender” firmly cemented his spot as the No. 1 contender at Middleweight. Unfortunately for Israel, he will have to wait a while before he gets the chance to win UFC gold, as Robert Whittaker will be out of action for a bit due to emergency surgery. When he does return, he still has to to face Kelvin Gastelum, so Adesanya could be on the bench for a bit. And he is just fine with that. Should “Bobby Knuckles” have to be out longer than expected, do not be surprised if UFC opts to book Adesanya vs Gastelum in an interim title fight.
Winner: Lando Vannata
Who He Should Face Next: Jim Miller
Why not? “Groovy” called for a fight against the longtime veteran during his post-fight victory speech, and I am not opposed to it one bit. Jim — much like Lando — hasn’t had the best run as of late, losing five of his last six bouts including his previous first round submission loss to Charles Oliveira.
Both men like to get after it so it should be right up their alley and would give fight fans a treat to enjoy. Despite his strange UFC record, Lando is one of the most exciting fighters in the Lightweight division and pairing him up against the scrappy Miller won’t disappoint.
Winner: Ricky Simon
Who He Should Face Next: Cody Stamann
Simon scored his eighth straight win, three inside the Octagon, by taking out longtime veteran Rani Yahya in Bantamweight action. While Simon may earn a spot on the official UFC rankings after taking out the No. 15 guy, he still has a ways to go before he gets a top 10 foe.
That said, a fight against Cody (No. 11) would help him get there quicker. Prior to losing to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 228 last September, Cody was riding an impressive 10-fight win streak, so he’s very capable of stopping Ricky’s momentum.
Winner: Montana De La Rosa
Who She Should Face Next: Paige VanZant
Montana expressed her desire to face “12 Gauge” before and after her win over Nadia Kassem in “The Land Down Under,” so now that she’s officially in the win column again, putting pen to paper is the only thing stopping it from seeing the light of day. Interestingly enough, Montana and Paige share the No. 14 spot on the official UFC rankings, so having them face off against one another is the only way to see who gets top billing. VanZant recently made her triumphant return to action by defeating Rachael Ostovich at UFC on ESPN+ 1 last month. Both hold wins over Ostovich, as well. I really like this matchup for both ladies and there really isn’t anything else that makes sense for either of them at the moment.
Winner: Jim Crute
Who He Should Face Next: Patrick Cummins
“The Brute” kept his momentum going by knocking out Sam Alvey in the very first round, improving his record to 9-0, 2-0 UFC. A fight agaisnt Cummins may seem like too much of a step up to some, but I think it feels just right.
“Durkin” has struggled over the last few fights, dropping two in a row to Misha Cirkunov and Corey Anderson. Though a bit more experienced than Crute, Cummins could provide that stiff test that will allow us to better gauge where exactly Jim stands right now among the 205-pound competitors.
For complete UFC 234 results and coverage click here.