UFC on ESPN 9 went down last night (Sat., May 30, 2020) inside Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event featured a Welterweight bout that saw Gilbert Burns dominate former division kingpin, Tyron Woodley, over 25 minutes (video replay here). Also, Augusto Sakai edged out Blagoy Ivanov to score a split-decision win in their Heavyweight collision, while Mackenzie Dern submitted Hannah Cifers in the first round (see it). Now let’s take a look at what could be on the horizon for all of the main card winners.
Winner: Gilbert Burns
Who He Should Face Next: Leon Edwards
Yes, Burns is on a roll, but if you think he should get a title shot over Leon Edwards you are out of your mind. First of all, Jorge Masvidal should be getting Kamaru Usman next. After that, it could be a long wait time for Edwards or Burns to get their shot. That’s why the only option is a title eliminator bout between “Rocky” and “Durinho.” Edwards has won eight in a row since 2016, while Burns is currently on a six-fight win streak. It’s a shame that one of these two will have their streak and title hopes dashed, but that’s the name of the game when you’re eyeing the biggest prize in the sport. That said, the fight should be fire, as both men are clicking on all cylinders at the moment.
Winner: Augusto Sakai
Who He Should Face Next: Cyril Gane vs Shamil Abdurakhimov winner
Don’t look now, but there’s a new player in the Heavyweight division, as Sakai has now won six straight, including all four of his UFC fights. Sakai’s ascension couldn’t have come at a better time, as the 265-pound weight class could use an infusion of rising talent, especially with the looming departure of Daniel Cormier. The win should be enough to launch Sakai up a few spots in the rankings, though a win over either Shamil or Gane would push him up further. Shamil and Gane were set to face off at UFC 249, but an injury to Gane derailed those plans. Now, they will finally handle their business at UFC 251 on July 11, 2020.
Winner: Billy Quarantillo
Who He Should Fight Next: Omar Morales
Quarantillo upped his win streak to seven after defeating Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision. The “Contender Series” alum is now 14-2 and looks to be a promising Lightweight prospect. But the road will be slow and steady for Billy, who can’t rush into things too quickly in a division filled with sharks. For Quarantillo’s next bout, I’d like to see him face off against Omar Morales, who also caught his big break on “Contender Series.” Morales is 10-0 in his MMA career and is coming off a big win over Gabriel Benitez at UFC on ESPN 8.
Winner: Roosevelt Roberts
Who He should Face Next: Thiago Moises
Roberts moved his UFC record to 4-1 after submitting Brok Weaver in the second round on UFC on ESPN 9. I like a fight against Moises next for Roberts, as the two 155-pound contenders have the potential to make some noise in the coming year or so if they can rack up some impressive wins on a consistent basis. Moises is coming off a second round submission win over Michael Johnson at UFC Jacksonville and is 2-2 so far in his young UFC career. The rising contenders have a well-rounded and loaded arsenal of attacks, so it would be nice to see them test it all out against each other.
Winner: Mackenzie Dern
Who She Should Face Next: Randa Markos
Dern bounced back nicely from the first loss of her MMA career, submitting Hanna Cifers with a slick kneebar, earning her a cool $50,000 bonus for her efforts. And while the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace may have aspirations to become UFC’s first-ever “mom champ,” she has a way to go before she even starts sniffing a title shot. Dern is currently still not ranked at the moment, and she likely won’t break the list this coming week, as Amanda Ribas — who handed Dern her first loss — is holding onto the No. 15 spot. A fight against Markos seems ideal next, as she also suffered her last setback against Ribas. Markos has a wealth of UFC experience but has been rather inconsistent throughout her run, alternating wins and losses over her last 14 fights spanning six years. That odd run has been good enough to keep her spot on the UFC roster, but a win over Dern could be what gets her momentum going. For Mackenzie, defeating a long-time veteran like Markos can help elevate her stock and start eying bigger fights down the road.
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