Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., Feb. 6, 2021) to stage UFC Vegas 18 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, which saw Alexander Volkov knockout Alistair Overeem in the headlining act (highlights). In the co-main event of the evening, Cory Sandhagen knocked out former Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, in the first round with a dazzling flying knee (see it again here).
Winner: Alexander Volkov
Who He Should Face Next: Rozenstruik vs Gane winner
Volkov made a huge impression in “Sin City,” knocking out Overeem and ending his championship dreams in the process. That is now two straight wins for the Russian big man, who will have a huge challenge in his next outing. If it were up to me, I’d love to see him face off against the winner of the upcoming big man bout between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane, who will fight in a couple of weeks. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes will throw down soon, as well, but both of those men own wins over Volkov and are looking for bigger things once the dust settles. For now, Volkov can set his sights on the Rozenstruik vs. Gane match up.
Winner: Cory Sandhagen
Who He Should Face Next: Yan vs Sterling winner for the Bantamweight title
Sandhagen secured his shot at a title fight after obliterating Edgar with a spectacular flying knee just 28 seconds into the fight. With the win, “The Sandman” is without a doubt the No. 1 contender at Bantamweight who should face the winner of the upcoming title fight between division king, Petr Yan, and Aljamain Sterling, who are set to throw down at UFC 259 on March 6. Sandhagen’s lone defeat inside the Octagon came against Sterling, so you know he wants that one back. Furthermore, becoming the first to hand Yan a loss inside the Octagon is something he’d also like on his resume, so either way Sandhagen has a good fight coming up next.
Winner: Clay Guida
Who He Should Face Next: Lando Vannata
Guida picked up a huge win over Michael Johnson by absolutely smothering “The Menace” for 15 minutes. In doing so, “The Carpenter” snaps his two-fight skid and lives to fight another day inside the Octagon. As for his next match up, perhaps a fight against fellow wild man, Vannata, is in order. Both men have energy for days and always put it all on the line. Now imagine pitting them against each other. Vannata is coming off a loss to Bobby Green, so he needs a good showing and win to stay in UFC’s graces. Taking out a long-time veteran such as “The Carpenter” is a good start.
Winner: Alexandre Pantoja
Who He Should Face Next: Alex Perez
The only fight that makes sense for Pantoja next after defeating Manel Kape is one against Alex Perez. That’s because Perez is ranked one spot ahead of him in the rankings, and anyone else in front of him doesn’t make sense for Pantoja. Perez is coming off a tough loss to Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255 in Nov. 2020 in his first-ever UFC world title fight. Book it.
Winner: Beneil Dariush
Who He Should Face Next: Dan Hooker
Dariush went up 2-0 on Diego Ferreira, snapping his six-fight win streak in the process, by narrowly escaping with a split-decision win in “Sin City.” The win will likely put him in the Top 10 after picking up his sixth win in a row. While many people may think it’s ludicrous to put Dariush up against Hooker next, the fight makes sense. “Hangman” is ranked No. 8, but he is on a two-fight losing streak. Furthermore, you can’t give Hooker anyone ranked ahead of him next because it simply doesn’t make sense. As for Dariush, the people in front of him are either on bad losing streaks (Al Iaquinta), recovering from injuries (Kevin Lee) or uncertain about their fighting future (Paul Felder).
Winner: Danilo Marques
Who He Should Face Next: Marcin Prachnio
Marques picked up his fourth straight win — second inside the Octagon — after putting Mike Rodriguez to sleep with a rear-naked choke. While impressive, Marques has a way to go before he can crack the Top 15, so he’ll have to take on any and all comers thrown his way to gain some traction. A fight against Prachnio is a good one for him in his next outing. Prachnio snapped his three-fight losing streak at UFC 257 by defeating Khalil Rountree, saving his UFC career in the process. Both men are at the point in their UFC careers where they aren’t in the position to turn down fights. so this one is good for both men.
For complete UFC Vegas 18 results and play-by-play click here.