UFC 284 went down last night (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) inside RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, featuring a Lightweight title fight that saw Islam Makhachev defend his belt against Featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski, in a very entertaining (and close) contest (watch highlights). In the co-main event, Yair Rodriguez put on one of his best performances against Josh Emmett, submitting him in round two to win the interim Featherweight title.
Winner: Islam Makhachev
Who He Should Face Next: Let’s wait and see ...
This one may seem clear-cut, but we have to wait to see how the upcoming fight between Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush plays out when they collide at UFC 288 on May 6, 2023. Oliveira lost to Makhachev in his last outing, and Dariush was in line to fight the current champ (when he wasn’t the champ) a few years ago. If Dariush wins then he should without a doubt get the next title shot. If Oliveira wins, then he does have a small case for a rematch against Islam, but that also opens the door for Dustin Poirier to start his own campaign to get the next shot. Time will tell.
Winner: Yair Rodriguez
Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander Volkanovski
This one is a no-brainer because after Rodriguez submitted Emmett, he secured his title unification bout against Volkanovski. “The Great” was asked when he wanted this fight to go down shortly after his loss to Makhachev and he was ready to jump right into it. While that was his adrenaline talking, mostly, he is still very active so I do not think we will have to wait too long to see this fight.
Winner: Jack Della Maddalena
Who He Should Face Next: Michel Pereira ... maybe?
Maddelena continued his streak of first round finishes, submitting Randy Brown in the first round (video here), improving to 4-0 inside the Octagon in the process. The fast-rising star is rising in rather impressive fashion, so it will be interesting to see just how the promotion plans to match him up moving forward. He isn’t ranked in the Top 15 yet, but that may change this upcoming week. I was thinking about suggesting he face the winner of Sean Brady vs. Michel Pereira, but news recently broke that Brady tore his groin and was forced out the match up, which was set to go down at UFC San Antonio on March 25, 2023. That is still more than one month away and Maddalena didn’t take any damage last night, so he could be a perfect fit to replace Brady.
Winner: Justin Tafa
Who He Should Face Next: Jailton Almeida
Tafa picked up his second straight first round knockout win, destroying Porter in just 66 seconds. He might have to do a bit more before he can start sniffing around the Top 15, even if the division isn’t as deep as others, so perhaps a fight against against Almeida would be a good fit. Some may wonder why I am suggesting since they are seeing Almeida as a rising prospect, but he has four fights inside the Octagon to Tafa’s six. Tafa is 3-3 so far with the promotion, while Almeida — who was recently seen beating the breaks off Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 283 last month — is undefeated (4-0); therefore, their turnaround times could line up for an eventual showdown.
For complete UFC 284: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski” results and play-by-play, click HERE.