UFC Vegas 31 went down last night (Sat., July 17, 2021) from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Islam Makhachev defeated Thiago Moises by sinking in a rear-naked choke to pick up his eighth straight win (highlights here). In the co-headlining act, Miesha Tate defeated Marion Reneau via third round technical knockout in her first fight back after a five-year hiatus (see it again here).
Winner: Islam Makhachev
Who He Should Face Next: Rafael dos Anjos
Makhachev has been calling for a fight against “RDA” for some time now, so now is as good a time as any to make it happen. Islam is on an eight-fight win streak and eying a spot in the Top 5. Dos Anjos, on the other hand, has been idle for eight months since defeating Paul Felder, so there really is no reason for him not to take this fight. He is just 1-2 in his last three fights so it’s not like he is in a position to be demanding his own big fights or turning down big opportunities. He can turn anything he wants down, obviously, but taking the fight against Makhachev would be very beneficial. If he beats him he takes all his thunder and puts himself in the thick of the championship picture. Of course, if Makhachev picks up the “W” it gives him the biggest win of his career.
Winner: Miesha Tate
Who She Should Face Next: Julia Avila
Tate picked up a huge win, stopping Reneau in the third and final round. Afterward, she said she’d be willing to face any and all comers. I’m feeling a fight against Avila next. She is also coming off a stellar win, defeating Julija Stoliarenko just last month. She is currently ranked No. 14, so if Tate can pick up her second straight win against a ranked opponent it should be good enough to get her back into the Top 15. There is a rematch against HollyHolm dangling, but I don’t see matchmakers making that fight just yet.
Winner: Mateusz Gamrot
Who He Should Face Next: Renato Moicano
Gamrot picked up a lightning-quick win over long-time veteran Jeremy Stephens by submitting him in little more over a minute in the first round. He can only go up from here, and his competition will only increase. A fight against Moicano seems appealing since he is also coming off a win, defeating Jai Herbert via second round submission last month. If Gamrot can pick up the win it would be another nice nice name on his resume and notch on his belt. Gamrot looks like a promising prospect and will give any future foe problems.
Winner: Rodolfo Vieira
Who He Should Face Next: Omari Akhmedov
Vieira redeemed himself after losing to Anthony Hernandez at UFC 258, submitting Dustin Stoltzfus via third round rear-naked choke. The jiu-jitsu ace definitely showed some improvement in his overall MMA game in this fight. Up next for the submission wizard, a fight against grappling guru Akhmedov seems fitting. Akhmedov is coming off a close loss to Brad Tavares at UFC 264, his second defeat in last three fights. Both men have grappling roots so it would be a great matchup between two contenders looking to carve their way in the division.
Winner: Billy Quarantillo
Who He Should Face Next: Herbert Burns
Quarantillo got back on the winning track by scoring a late stoppage win over Gabriel Benitez. Quarantillo was initially set to face Burns before he bowed out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. If he has his issues settled by now, then it only makes sense to re-book this match up. Burns is looking to bounce back after suffering a technical knockout loss at the hands of Daniel Pineda at UFC 252, snapping his five-fight win streak.
For complete UFC Vegas 31 play-by-play updates and results click here.