UFC 268 provided fight fans with en electric night of fights yesterday (Sat., Nov. 6, 2021) inside Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the main event of the evening, Kamaru Usman retained his Welterweight title with another big win over Colby Covington (see it here). In the co-headlining act, Rose Namajunas defeated Zhang Weili for the second time, earning a split decision win to retain her women’s Strawweight title (recap).
Winner: Kamaru Usman
Who He Should Face Next: Leon Edwards or Vicente Luque
Usman is starting to lap the competition, so in his next title defense he will either get another rematch or a fresh face to tango with. If Leon Edwards defeats Jorge Masvidal at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021, then “Rocky” should without a doubt get the next title fight. Usman already has a win over Edwards, defeating him six years ago in what was Usman’s second fight with UFC. If Edwards isn’t successful next month, then the next logical step would be to give the fight to Luque, who is currently on a four-fight win streak and ranked No. 4 in the division. Because no matter how bad Usman wants this, it’s not going to happen.
Winner: Rose Namajunas
Who She Should Fight Next:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk Carla Esparza
I still think the Weili rematch was a waste of a title defense for Namajunas, but she came out on top again and “Magnum” should now be in her rear-view mirror for the foreseeable future. Up next for “Thug Rose” should be a rematch (one that makes senses) against Esparza. “Cookie Monster” is currently ranked No. 2 in the division and is the owner of a five-fight win streak. Interestingly enough, Esparza defeated Namajunas in their respective UFC debuts way back in 2014 to win the inaugural Strawweight strap. Seven years later these two talented ladies should be crossing paths in 2022.
Winner: Justin Gaethje
Who He Should Face Next: Oliveira vs. Poirier winner
Business in the Lightweight division is starting to pick up. Islam Makhachev made a great case for a title shot after he scored his ninth straight win last week at UFC 267, but Gaethje’s memorable performance and win over Michael Chandler may have just earned him the title shot over Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege. Gaethje is ranked No. 2, while Makhachev is sitting at No. 5, so “Highlight” also has that argument in his favor. What I foresee happening is UFC booking Makhachev against Beneil Dariush and giving Gaethje the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier, which is set to headline UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021.
Winner: Shane Burgos
Who He Should Face Next: Bryce Mitchell
Burgos snapped his two-fight skid with a huge win over Billy Quarantillo in a truly entertaining Featherweight bout. I’d like to see Burgos face Mitchell in his next outing. “Thug Nasty” is currently undefeated at (14-0, 5-0 UFC), and is ranked three spots ahead of Burgos at the moment so it could take some convincing to get him to take the fight. But it would behoove him to do so because if he can get a win over Burgos it could up his stock quite a bit. For Burgos, handing Mitchell his first loss could be his one-way ticket into the Top 10.
Winner: Marlon Vera
Who He Should Face Next: Dominick Cruz vs Pedro Munhoz winner
Vera picked up his second straight win after re-arranging Frankie Edgar’s face with a nasty front kick to the face. Up next for “Chito,” I would like to see him take on the winner of the upcoming Bantamweight showdown between Dominick Cruz and Pedro Munhoz, which is expected to go down at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021. Vera has yet to face either of those two men and when you look at the rest of the stacked landscape at 135 pounds, there really isn’t anyone else that makes sense for him next.
For complete UFC 268 results and coverage click here.