UFC 267 went down from inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island,” located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday (Sat., Oct. 30, 2021). In the main event of the evening, Glover Teixeira submitted Jan Blachowicz to win the Light Heavyweight title (highlights). In the co-headlining act, Petr Yan won the interim Bantamweight title by out-pointing Cory Sandhagen after 25 minutes of action (see it here).
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Fight Next: Jiri Prochazka
After his history-making, championship-winning performance on “Fight Island,” Teixeira revealed that he was going to take some time to take it all in, recover and relax before making his first title defense. But, the new 205-pound champion already knows who he will be facing because Prochazka was dubbed the backup for this fight, and is ranked No. 2 at the moment. Prochazka only has two wins so far inside the Octagon, but they came against former title contenders Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, both via knockout. And let’s not forget that Prochazka came in as the RIZIN Light Heavyweight champion and is on a 12-fight win streak. It should be a tough first defense for “Hands of Stone,” but it likely won’t happen until early 2022.
Winner: Petr Yan
Who He Should Fight Next: Aljamain Sterling title unification bout
After five rounds of violent back-and-forth action, Yan did enough to defeat Sandhagen in an epic Bantamweight title fight that left fight fans wanting more. Now, Yan can set his sights set on a much-desired rematch against Aljamain Sterling, whom he coughed up the title to earlier this year thanks to an illegal knee. The two have been going back-and-forth at each other on social media, and now they will have the chance to face off one more time to see who will have the right to lead the stacked 135-pound division in 2022.
Winner: Islam Makhachev
Who He Should Fight Next: Title shot, Beneil Dariush, Gaethje vs Chandler winner?
Makhachev picked up consecutive win No. 9 by once again dominating his opposition. This time it was Dan Hooker who was on the wrong end of the Makhachev freight train that looks absolutely unstoppable at the moment. He called for a shot at the title, which could be warranted, but there is another man who is on a great run and ranked above him in Beneil Dariush, who sits at No. 3 with a seven-fight win streak. That said, booking them against each other in a title eliminator fight makes all the sense in the world. Plus, Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler are set to throw down next week at UFC 268 and the winner there could make a case for a title shot, too. We can’t say for certain what’s next for Makhachev until after the dust settles at UFC 268 as well as UFC 269, where Charles Oliveira defends his title against Dustin Poirier. It’s going to be an interesting month, but regardless, Makhachev is in the thick of the championship race.
Winner: Alexander Volkov
Who He Should Fight Next: Derrick Lewis rematch
Volkov bounced back nicely following his loss to Ciryl Gane, picking up a big win over Marcin Tybura, who was on a five-fight win streak. “Drago” is still sitting in the Top 5 and in the Heavyweight division it doesn’t take but a few impressive wins in a row to get thrown into the championship conversation. For my money, I would love to see him rematch Lewis. “Black Beast” knocked him out in their first fight at UFC 229 three years ago. But, if you recall, Volkov was on the verge of pulling out the decision win before Lewis pressed the turbo button and unleashed a couple of vicious strikes to pull out the comeback win via knockout. Volkov would love nothing more than to get that one back and since “Black Beast” is ranked ahead of him at No. 3, he needs to get through him if he wants a shot at the title.
Winner: Khamzat Chimaev
Who He Should Fight Next: Neal vs Ponzinibbio winner
Chimaev picked up right where he left off, collecting another quick and impressive victory, this time taking out No. 11-seeded Li Jingliang in the first round via rear-naked choke. Many people weren’t buying the hype from “Borz” after he racked up three quick wins in 2020, only to have his roll slowed a bit because of COVID-19. But, now that he defeated a ranked foe, Chimaev may have won over even the toughest of critics. Things are only looking up for Chimaev, which means his opposition will only get tougher. I’d love to see him face off against the winner of the upcoming bout between Geoff Neal and Santiago Ponzinibbio, which goes down at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021. He just took out the No. 11-ranked guy in the division, so facing either the No. 10 (Neal) or No. 12 (Ponzinibbio) makes sense. If he wants to fight sooner, perhaps a fight against Michael Chiesa is in order.
Winner: Magomed Ankalaev
Who He Should Fight Next: Thiago Santos
The Light Heavyweight division has a legit problem on its hands with Ankalaev, who won his seventh straight fight in Abu Dhabi by defeating Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision. Ankalaev has quietly gone on this run, and other than dropping his UFC debut to Paul Craig, he has won every fight in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. With the current streak he is on he deserves a Top 5 opponent and Santos fits the bill perfectly. Santos — a former title contender — got back on the winning track last month with a big win over Johnny Walker, snapping his three-fight skid. A win for Ankalaev could propel him into the top three and get him that much closer to his first-ever shot at the 205-pound title.
For complete UFC 267 results and coverage click here.