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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Junior dos Santos after suffering TKO loss at UFC Raleigh?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 166 blew the roof off PNC Arena last Sat. night (Jan. 25, 2020) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Rafael dos Anjos, who suffered his second straight loss after coming up short against Michael Chiesa.

And Lucie Pudilova, who suffered her fourth straight defeat, this time at the hands of Justine Kish. And let’s not forget Nik Lentz, who incurred some nasty injuries to his eye in his loss to Arnold Allen (see the carnage here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?

Junior dos Santos.

Coming into his headlining bout against Curtis Blaydes, Dos Santos was eager to erase the stench of his knockout loss to Francis Ngannou last summer (see it here).

With an impressive performance, "Cigano" could've likely made a case for a shot at the strap given the 265-pound division's lack of title contenders. Instead, the Brazilian bomber came up short against "Razor" after eating some heavy shots from his younger counterpart, resulting in a second round technical knockout (TKO) defeat.

For Dos Santos, a second straight loss via strikes sends his stock plummeting, which will see him lose a few spots in the official rankings later this week. Normally, a fighter could find a way to get back in the mix, but “Cigano” has been around the block a few times, and with guys like Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruick coming up and determined to get their first shot at UFC gold, Dos Santos simply can't afford to lose too many fights.

That said, as tough as the defeat is for "JDS," it's not the end of the road for the ex-division champion. Since heavyweights don't have the luxury of moving up or down a weight class like other combatants in hopes of starting fresh, Junior will have to ride out the storm.

As for who he should fight next, perhaps a showdown against Alexander Volkov is in order. The two strikers were set to face off against one another a few months back before a staph infection forced Junior out. In his place, teammate Greg Hardy stepped in and suffered a unanimous decision loss to "Drago."

Sure, "Cigano" is coming off two defeats while Volkov recently got back into the win column, but "Drago's" win over Hardy shouldn't be reason enough to make him believe he can start turning down that kind of fight, especially when Dos Santos is ranked two spots higher at this point in time.

And let's face it, when you look at the Top 10, no one else makes sense for either heavyweight, as Volkov (No. 7) likely won't want to face someone ranked lower than him, while that's the only option for Dos Santos (No. 4) at this point.

Unless you have a better idea?

For complete UFC Raleigh results and coverage click here.