UFC Vegas 82 went down last night (Sat., Nov. 17, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a Middleweight showdown that saw Brendan Allen defeat Paul Craig via third round submission (see it here). In the co-main event, Michael Morales defeated Jake Matthews via unanimous decision (recap), while Chase Hooper choked out Jordan Leavitt in main card action.
Winner: Brendan Allen
Who He Should Face Next: Marvin Vettori
There is no telling if Allen will crack the Top 5 as a Middleweight fighter this week following his sixth straight win, but he sure has been competing like one. Allen has five submissions in his six wins, and will be look to improve his stock with a fight against a higher-ranked foe in his next outing. And Vettori fits the bill perfectly. “The Italian Dream” is currently ranked No. 5 in the division. I normally don’t like pairing up streaking fighters against one coming off a loss, but in this case it makes sense because Vettori can’t get someone in the Top 5, while Allen is looking to break into the cream of the crop of the division. I also dig a potential scrap between Allen and Paulo Costa, but that would be a hard fight to book seeing as how Costa probably wants a bigger name for his next challenge since he was in line to face Khamzat Chimaev before a disgusting elbow injury derailed those plans.
Winner: Michael Morales
Who He Should Face Next: Bryan Battle
Morales scored his fourth straight win inside the Octagon and improved his undefeated win record (16-0) with a big win over Matthews. He might need another win or two before he cracks the Top 15, but Morales is more than ready to put in the work. I like a fight between he and Battle next. Battle is riding a two-fight win streak and is coming off a big win over A.J. Fletcher two months ago. Like Morales, Battle is a rising contender in the 170-pound division, racking up a 5-1 record inside the Octagon so far.
Winner: Chase Hooper
Who He Should Face Next: Marc Diakiese
Hooper managed to score his first back-to-back wins inside the Octagon after choking out Jordan Leavitt, and will now look to build of that momentum. I like a fight against Diakiese next. The British striker has had trouble getting into the win column, but he finally snapped his two-fight skid by defeating Kaue Fernandes via split decision earlier this month (his first win in more than 1.5 years). Diakiese prefers to stand-and-bang, while Hooper has shown he prefers to twists his foes into pretzels ... a true clash of styles.
Winner: Payton Talbott
Who He Should Face Next: Jose Johnson
Contender Series star, Payton Talbott, made an emphatic impression in his UFC debut, choking out Nick Aguirre in round two of their Bantamweight scrap. Talbott is undefeated (7-0, 1-0 UFC) with six stoppage wins to his credit. As for Johnson, he was also successful last night in “Sin City,” defeating Chad Anheliger via third round submission (rear-naked choke). Both men are just starting out in their UFC careers, and both came out of the Contender Series, though Johnson lost in his first try on the show before earning a win in Aug. 2022, punching his ticket to the big show.
Winner: Amanda Ribas
Who She Should Face Next: Tracy Cortez
Ribas picked up an awesome highlight reel knockout victory over Luana Pinheiro, but she has to be a bit more consistent with the wins because she has been alternating wins and losses for three years now. And if she wants to climb the rankings that simply isn’t going to cut it. She is still currently ranked No. 9 in the division, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a fight between her and the No. 10-seeded fighter, Tracy Cortez, who is coming off a win over Jasmine Jasudavicius. Cortez has won 11 straight fights and has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon, going 5-0 in her young UFC career.
Winner: Myktybek Orolbai
Who He Should Face Next: Nasrat Haqparast
After making an impressive UFC debut as a Welterweight by defeating Uros Medic, Orolbaj revealed that he would be dropping back down to the Lightweight division for his sophomore effort inside the Octagon. Now on a seven-fight win streak, a fight against Haqparast would be a good matchup. Not only would it be a fight between to men with two of the most hard-to-announce (and spell) names, but it would be a great pairing. Sure, Haqparast has the UFC experience edge on Orolbaj, but will be more than up for the challenge against the long-time veteran.
For complete UFC Vegas 82: “Allen vs. Craig” results and play-by-play, click HERE.
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