UFC Vegas 45 went down last night (Sat., Dec. 18, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, signaling the end of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) slate of events for 2021. In the main event, Derrick Lewis returned to his head-ringing, knockout-collecting ways by absolutely obliterating Chris Daukaus in the first round (highlights). In the co-main event, Belal Muhammad picked up a huge win over former two-time title contender Stephen Thompson.
Winner: Derrick Lewis
Who He Should Fight Next: Stipe Miocic ... possible last-minute title shot?
Who knows what’s going on with Miocic at the moment. After he was knocked out by Francis Ngannou and lost his title, he was hoping to get an immediate rematch that never came. Instead, he opted to sit on the sidelines going on 10 months now. It’s not like he’s strapped for cash, so he has the luxury to take his time and pick his shots. But, a showdown against Lewis makes sense because a win over “Black Beast” could send him to a title shot. There is the possibility that Stipe is waiting for a potential scrap against Jon Jones, but “Bones” will likely wait to see how everything plays out between Ngannou and Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. Speaking of which, there are rumblings that Gane might have trouble getting to California from France because of newly-imposed travel restrictions as a result of a recent spike in COVID-19 numbers. Dana White said during the post-fight presser that it would behoove Lewis to be on standby just in case they need him to step in to face Ngannou last minute.
Winner: Belal Muhammad
Who He Should Face Next: Sean Brady or Neil Magny
Muhammad’s big win over “Wonderboy” upped his win streak to six, though there is a “No Contest” sandwiched in there. Still, Muhammad has won 10 of his last 12 fights inside the Octagon, which should inch him closer to a Top 5 ranking. As for what’s next for him, I am digging two options: Sean Brady or Neil Magny. Brady is undefeated (15-0) so far, winning his first five fights inside the Octagon, while Magny is 4-1 in his last five fights. I have a feeling the promotion is ready to book Magny vs. Khamzat Chimaev, so if that fight gets booked then set up Muhammad vs Brady next. If not, then Magny vs. Muhammad works all the same.
Winner: Amanda Lemos
Who She Should Fight Next: Tecia Torres
Lemos picked up her fifth straight win after taking out Angela Hill, improving her record to 6-1 in her last seven fights inside the Octagon. A fight against Torres makes sense on many fronts. “Tiny Tornado’s” last win also came against Hill, upping her win streak to three in a row. She is ranked three spots ahead of Lemos so it’s not a bad pairing rankings wise. If Lemos can take out the long-time veteran, she could make a jump into the Top 10.
Winner: Ricky Simon
Who He Should Fight Next:Song Yadong
Simon is starting to make his move, winning his fourth straight last night by knocking out Raphael Assuncao. But, believe it or not, it’s going to take a bit more than that to break into the Top 15 in the stacked Bantamweight division. I like a fight against Yadong next. After all, the Chinese-born fighter’s last win came against Assuncao, as well. Furthermore, he is 7-1-1 inside the Octagon, so both he and Simon are on pretty decent hot streaks.
Winner: Mateusz Gamrot
Who He Should Face Next: Brad Riddell
After losing his UFC debut, Gamrot has turned it around to win three straight, including his win over Carlos Diego Ferreira last night via technical knockout. While not ranked just yet, taking out the No. 12 guy at 155 pounds is a big step forward for Gamrot. That said, I’d love to see him matched up against Riddell next. Sure, Riddell is coming off a tough loss to Rafael Fiziev, but he is 7-1 in his last eight, 4-1 under the UFC banner. Riddell is currently ranked No. 14, so if Gamrot can take out another Top 15 fighter he could find himself ranked in the near future.
Winner: Cub Swanson
Who He Should Face Next: Alex Caceres
Swanson picked up a highly-impressive first-round technical knockout win over Darren Elkins, giving him his third win in last four fights, bouncing back nicely from his own stoppage loss at the hands of Giga Chikadzee. It was a beautiful, clean performance from the long-time veteran, proving that he still has a ton left in the gas tank. A fight against Caceres would be absolute fireworks. “Bruce Leeroy” is currently on a five-fight win streak and is ranked No. 15 at the moment. While Swanson isn’t currently in the Top 15, it’s a good fight for Caceres to take. A win gives him a nice notch on his belt over a longtime veteran and boosts his rankings. For Swanson, stopping Caceres’ streak could get him into the Top 15 for the first time in a long time.
For complete UFC Vegas 45 results and coverage click here.