Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back in action last night (Sat., March 3, 2018) as UFC 222 took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Cris Cyborg knocked Yana Kunitskaya out to retain her women’s Featherweight title (highlights).
In the co-main event, Brian Ortega scored the biggest win of his career by knocking out Frankie Edgar in the first round, handing him his first-ever stoppage loss of his career (recap).
Winner: Cris Cyborg
Who She Should Face Next: Megan Anderson (But it will likely be Amanda Nunes)
This fight was set to go down at UFC 214 last July but was ultimately scratched after Megan bowed out due to personal reasons. They were rumored to be finally going head-to-head at UFC 221, but those plans never came to be. Still, there isn’t anyone else for Cris to fight that is a true 145-pounder. Megan was the former Invicta FC 145-pound champion, and has the size and strength to give Cris trouble. Sure, Amanda Nunes is always lurking, and it is the fight Dana White wants to make next, but that fight simply doesn’t do much for me at this point. I mean, it would be champion vs champion, but Amanda has her hands full with Raquel Pennington, and there are no guarantees that she will escape that fight with the belt over her shoulder. Cris wants the fight to go down at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018, but since Nunes will have just competed at UFC 2224 in May, it won’t make sense for her should she defeat Pennington. Megan is the one for Cris, and they already have a budding rivalry going. too. Remember, this column is about “who she SHOULD fight next.”
Winner: Brian Ortega
Who He Should Fight Next: Max Holloway
No-brainer alert. After handing Frankie Edgar his first-ever stoppage loss, “T-City” asserted himself as the clear-cut contender to the title. It was a beautiful finish on the part of Ortega, who seems to be on a collision course with “Blessed” at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Two of the best 145-pounders in the world will collide in “Sin City.” The best part? They are both in their prime, which should make for one of the best title fights of the year.
Winner: Sean O’ Malley
Who He Should Fight Next: Cody Stamann
O’ Malley escaped Vegas with a win despite suffering a nasty leg injury which Andre Soukhamthath failed to take advantage of. For Sean, it’s his second win inside the Octagon after earning his shot by wining on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Luckily for him, Dana seems to be very fond of him, which means if he keeps his head on straight, keeps winning, the sky is the limit for him, as the UFC’s public relations machine can do wonders for one’s career. Up next for Sean I’d like to see him face off against Stamann, who was also victorious at UFC 222 by taking out Bryan Caraway. Cody is riding a 10-fight win streak, and is 3-0 inside the Octagon.
Winner: Andrei Arlovski
Who He Should Fight Next: Mark Hunt
Why not? Hunt is fresh off a loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221, and is nearing the end of his fight contract -- and eventually his time with UFC. Before he goes, I’d like to see him face off against “The Pitbull.” It’s a fight I have personally wanted to see for the longest time. Of course, it’s one I would’ve preferred to see it go down four or five years ago when both men were on a hot streak. But better late then never, in my humble opinion. Sure, Arlovski is on a two-fight win streak, while Hunt is -2 in his last three fights, but “Super Samoan” is still six spots ahead of Arlovski. A win for Andrei would be huge, as he has no plans on slowing down despite his age and time in the sport.
Winner: Ketlen Vieira
Who She Should Fight Next: Marion Reneau
Marion is fresh of an impressive win over former title contender Sara McMann at UFC on FOX 28, a former title contender Ketlen recently choked out with a nice arm-triangle. Kelten is currently ranked No 5, while Marion is behind her at No. 7, so it kind of makes sense in that aspect. Facing anyone else in front of her at the moment doesn’t make much sense, as far as availability, so a bout against Reneau would be perfect to fill the void. There is always Germain de Randamie, who is the No. 4 ranked 135-pound fighter in the world, but there is no telling when and where she will compete at next. Vieira is undefeated at 10-0, 4-0 UFC, so if she can take Marion out, sh can firmly insert herself at the top of the title race.
For full UFC 222: “Cyborg vs Kunitskaya” play-by-play updates and results click here.