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Monday Morning Hangover: Featherweight title picture is a hot mess after UFC Vegas 63

Road to UFC Semifinals: Kiwram v Park Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 63 went down last Saturday night (Sat., Oct. 29, 2022) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was overshadowed by the Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva boxing match that went down 280 miles away in Glendale, Arizona. The outcome of the ESPN+-streamed main event further complicated what is going on at the top of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Featherweight division, as Arnold Allen won his twelfth straight fight (tenth inside the Octagon), by defeating Calvin Kattar after “The Boston Finisher” suffered a devastating knee injury (watch it).

And while one would think Allen is sitting pretty when it comes to the championship picture, the fact that the fight ended the way it did could hinder that progress.

Allen — who currently sits at No. 6 — should be breaking into the Top 5 as a result of his unmatched win streak, though he will still likely be behind Josh Emmett — who has won four straight — as he sits at No. 5. In this post, I stated that perhaps Emmett and Allen should fight for the No. 1 contender spot, but there are other factors at play.

Max Holloway, it seems, will never be bumped from the No. 1 spot no matter how may times he loses to division champion, Alexander Volkanovski (he’s down 0-3 to him). On that note, another title fight against “The Great” is highly-unlikely for “Blessed. At No. 2, we have Yair Rodriguez, who is coming off a technical knockout win over Brian Ortega, who suffered a shoulder injury early into their fight this past summer.

Speaking of which, “T-City” is 1-3 in his last four fights, but he is still holding onto the No. 3 spot.

And to top it off, it is a very realistic possibility that Volkanovski will not defend his 145-pound title until possibly mid-2023 if he does indeed get booked to face Lightweight champion, Islam Makhacehv, in Feb. 2023. That’s a long time to keep the Featherweight division on ice with no title fights.

On that note, if Allen and Emmett is the fight to make, should it be for an interim title? If so, what happens to Rodriguez? Do we have him rematch Holloway, who defeated “El Pantera” one year ago rather handily? Or, do we just go ahead and book Emmett vs. Rodriguez for the interim title, instead? Those seems like logical steps to take, but it all really depends on if UFC officials decide to have Volkanovski tango with Makhachev.

And that’s the problem with “champion vs. champion” fights. While great, entertaining and all around fun for the sport — which some say is not a “true sport” to begin with — it holds up divisions and keep contenders waiting around hoping for the creation of an interim title to help pass the time. And in the case we have another “champ champ,” promises like this almost always never come to pass.

If you had the keys to the division, what steps would you take to clear up the mess at the top?


For complete UFC Vegas 63 results and coverage click here.

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