Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again last night (Sat., Sept. 14, 2019) as UFC Fight Night 158 went down from inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the headlining act, Justin Gaethje earned his third straight knockout victory by cleaning Donald Cerrone’s clock in the very first round (video here). In the co-main event, Glover Teixeira scored a split-decision victory over Nikita Krylov to earn him a three-fight win streak (recap).
Winner: Justin Gaethje
Who He Should Fight Next: Khabib vs Ferguson winner ... (or maybe Conor McGregor)
After knocking out “Cowboy” in the first round, Gaethje called for his shot at the 155-pound title, saying he’d prefer to face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson — which should be on deck — as opposed to facing a retired fighter like Conor McGregor.
Then again, he did change his tune at the presser, saying he'd gladly shut up McGregor once and for all. Gaethje has been putting in the work, winning three straight fights via first-round knockout. And while McGregor may sell more and draw more eyeballs, he hasn’t won a UFC fight in a few years — he was choked out by Khabib back in Oct. 2019. Therefore, giving him the next shot at the strap simply isn't right. Gaethje is the rightful owner of the next title shot, as the only people in front of him are Dustin Poirier — who just lost to Khabib — and Ferguson, so there is no reason to deny “The Highlight” of what is rightfully his. But, if UFC can somehow convince McGregor to take the Gaethje fight, then book it as soon as possible.
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Fight Next: Volkan Oezdemir
Teixeira registered his first three-fight win streak since the 2015-2016 campaign after defeating Krylov via decision. Indeed, it’s been a good year for “Hands of Stone,” who should be in line for a fight against Volkan Oezdemir next. “No Time” recently broke his three-fight losing streak by scoring a knockout win over Ilir Latiifi.
It was a much-needed win for the former title challenger, so now it’s time to see if he can start another streak. Glover may be 40 years of age, but he is still going strong, and he’d be a huge challenge for Oezdemir. Both men can stand-and-bang, but in Teixiera, Oezdemir will be facing perhaps the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner he’s faced inside the eight-walled cage. This is a solid, logical fight — UFC matchmakers should go ahead and book it to see which man can keep his momentum going.
Winner: Misha Cirkunov
Who He Should Fight Next: Mauricio Rua
Misha picked up a huge win over Jimmy Crute, submitting him via a rare Peruvian necktie (see it) to get back into the win column after getting flattened by Johnny Walker in just 38 seconds. Up next, I’d love to see Cirkunov face off against long-time veteran, Mauricio Rua. “Shogun” hasn’t been heard from since defeating Tyson Pedro way back in Dec. 2018.
Rua (No. 14) is barely one spot up on Cirkunov (No. 15), so the fight makes sense in that aspect. Plus, since Cirkunov barely broke a sweat last night, he could be in line for a quick turnaround against a man who hasn’t competed in 10 months. Rua, meanwhile, needs another big win to try to insert himself back in the Top 10, and one over Cirkunov could help him get there. For Cirkunov, a victory over a legend like Rua could help climb the ranks a bit faster, as well, after not living up to initial expectations.
Winner: Tristan Connelly
Who He Should Fight Next: Alex Morono (welterweight) or Joe Duffy (lightweight)
Connelly came in and did work, upsetting Michel Pereira in his Octagon debut via unanimous decision. And it was well-deserved, as he shut down a very-cocky foe who was obviously underestimating him. While impressive, Connelly is still in the beginning stages of his UFC career, which means he has a ton of work to do.
That said, he is off to a mighty-fine start, scoring many new fans last night for humbling Michel. I’d like to see Pereira take on Alex Morono next. Morono has won his last two UFC fights, and was last seen taking out Zak Ottow via first round technical knockout this past March. Yes, Morono has way more UFC experience, but he has yet to win more than three in a row inside the Octagon. Connelly proved he’s the real deal, and taking on someone like Morono isn’t too much of a mismatch at the moment. But, if he does indeed decide to drop back down to Lightweight, then perhaps a fight against someone like Joe Duffy — who has lost his last two bouts — could be in order. At this point, it’s just a wait and see approach.
Winner: Uriah Hall
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Brad Tavares and Ian Heinisch
Hall picked up huge win over Antonio Carlos Junior to score his first back-to-back wins since 2015. Still, he’ll need a lot more than that to infiltrate the crowded cream of the crop at 185 pounds.
A good next fight for “Primetime” would be to take on the winner of the upcoming contest between Brad Tavares and Ian Heinisch, which is set to go down at UFC Fight Night 162 on Oct. 26, 2019. Both men are just ahead of him on the official UFC rankings, and both men are capable of giving Hall a great challenge. That said, a win over either of these two heavy-hitters would be huge for Hall’s progression moving forward. Plus, it will help him get back some of that aura he had coming out of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) if he can beat either of those two men impressively.
For complete UFC Fight Night 158: “Gaethje vs. Cerrone” results and play-by-play, click HERE!