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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Vicente Luque following loss at UFC Vegas 51?

MMA: UFC 265-Chiesa vs Luque Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Vegas 51 went down inside UFC Apex last Sat. night (April 16, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a bevy of fights that provided great action and highlight-reel finishes. As a result, several fighters were sent home feeling the post-fight blues, including Miguel Baeza, who was knocked out by Andre Fialho in the very first round (see it).

And Brandon Jenkins, who was bagged and tagged by Drakkar Klose, who ended the fight in rather violent form (video replay). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Vicente Luque.

Coming into his headlining bout against Belal Muhammad, Luque was riding a four-fight win streak and the owner of the No. 5 spot in the stacked Welterweight division. He also had his confidence sky high since he already holds a knockout win over “Remember The Name.”

But while Luque has improved leaps and bounds since their first encounter, so has Muhammad... and it showed.

Luque did have several shining moments, rocking Muhammad in the third round with a thunderous left hook. But the story of the fight was Muhammad’s wrestling, scoring several takedowns throughout the fight while avoiding the onslaught Luque was trying to dish out.

And that’s what ultimately proved to be the winning recipe for Muhammad, who stuck to his gameplan and executed it perfectly to earn the unanimous decision win. Afterward, Luque acknowledged that Muhammad’s takedowns were the key to victory, but what really stood out to him was “Remember The Name’s” constant switching of stances.

“The stance switching really confused me,” Luque said post-fight. “I wasn’t expecting it. I really expected him to fight orthodox, like he does most fights, so I was surprised. There are no excuses, though. I was feeling well, I was prepared, I didn’t gas. I think we both got equally tired. He was able to find his takedowns, though.

“He connected some good shots, and so did I. I think it was really close on the feet, maybe I landed the harder shots. But takedowns and ground control ended up getting him the win. Kudos to him.”

As far as who Luque should face next, perhaps a fight against Jorge Masvidal is in order. Not everyone is going to ride with this fight suggestion because Luque doesn’t have that name value like a Nate Diaz, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, etc., but “The Silent Assassin” is still ranked above the struggling “Gamebred.”

Masvidal recently signed a lucrative contract extension with UFC, which means he and his management team are going to be eyeing big-name matchups that not only generate buzz, but money. And, no disrespect to Luque, but he simply doesn’t have that yet, as talented as he is.

What he does have, though, is the skill set to defeat someone like Masvidal, which makes him a high-risk, low-reward type matchup for “Gamebred.” That being said, how picky can a fighter on a three-fight losing streak be?


For complete UFC Vegas 51 results and coverage click here.

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