UFC Jacksonville went down yesterday (Sat., June 24, 2023) inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., featuring a Featherweight bout that saw Ilia Topuria dominate Josh Emmett for 25 minutes to win a lopsided unanimous decision (recap). In further action, Maycee Barber stopped Amanda Ribas in round two via technical knockout in what was one of “The Future’s” best performances to date (video replay here).
Winner: Ilia Topuria
Who He Should Face Next: Title shot
I mean really, who else warrants a shot at the winner of the upcoming title unification bout between champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and interim title holder, Yair Rodriguez? Yes, Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung are set to fight later this year, but “Blessed” has already lost three times to the champion and “Korean Zombie’s” last fight was a one-sided defeat to “The Great.” There could be a case for Holloway if he and Rodriguez both win, but I’d rather give the title shot to Topuria. He improved to 14-0, 6-0 UFC and his masterpiece of a win over Emmett is more than enough to get him to the big dance.
Winner: Maycee Barber
Who She Should Face Next: Jennifer Maia
Barber will be in the Top 10 after picking up her fifth straight win by beating Ribas’ face to a pulp before securing a second round finish (see it). “The Future” has been on quite the run since she suffered back-to-back losses in 2021. When looking at the bottom-half of the Top 10, most fighters are coming off losses except for Jennifer Maia, who is on a two-fight win streak. Maia is currently ranked No. 8 at Flyweight and is coming off a win over Casey O’Neill. I was kind of feeling a fight between Barber and Jessica Andrade, but “Bate Estaca” is on a two-fight losing streak. Beating someone on a run as opposed to someone struggling will do a bit more for “The Future.”
Winner: David Onama
Who He Should Face Next: Charles Jourdain
Onama got back on the winning track by knocking out Gabriel Santos in the first round (see it again here). Up next for “Silent Assassin,” a showdown against Charles Jourdain could be appealing to him. Jourdain is coming off a win over Kron Gracie at UFC 288 this past May, snapping his two-fight skid. Jourdain is 5-5-1 inside the Octagon, while Onama improved to 3-2. Both rising Featherweights are trying to climb the ranks, a tough road that requires several impressive wins in a row. The victor here would take a huge step forward.
Winner: Brendan Allen
Who He Should Face Next: Roman Dolidze
Allen continued his hot streak, picking up his fifth straight win by submitting Bruno Silva via rear-naked choke in the first round (his third straight win in that manner). Allen is making a strong case to be put into the Top 10, and called for fights against Jared Cannonier and Dricus du Plessis. Allen should expect a huge boost in the rankings, but pitting him against Top 5 foes isn’t in the cards just yet. That’s why I a like a potential bout against Dolidze even though the Georgian is coming off a loss. Prior to losing to Marvin Vettori, Dolidze was on a hot streak with four straight wins. Despite his setback to “The Italian Dream,” Dolidze is currently hanging onto the No. 9 spot on the official rankings, so taking him out gets Allen in.
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