Last night’s stacked card lived up to all the expectations and more. Paulo Costa emerged as the new frontrunner for a welterweight title shot following the Whittaker/Adesanya title fight in October. Following a three-year hiatus, Nate Diaz proved that he had not lost a step and outclassed Anthony Pettis for three rounds. To cap off the night, Stipe Miocic regained the UFC Heavyweight Championship after knocking out Daniel Cormier in the fourth round. Here are my predictions as to what should be next for our competitors from last night.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2
Three first-round knockouts have earned Ngannou a second shot at the title against Miocic. However, the only way a potential rematch would look any different from their first fight will be any improvements Ngannou makes in his takedown defense. If Miocic can take him down and grind him out for five rounds, he will happily take that route over a bloody war he had with Cormier last night. Book it.
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 3
Cormier has nothing left to prove in his illustrious MMA career but one thing, defeating Jon Jones. The most brutal rivalry in UFC history would reach its conclusion in a potential fight between the two men at heavyweight without a title on the line. Forget the belts. These men want nothing more than to inflict damage on each other, regardless of the stipulation. Win or loss, this is the perfect swan song for Cormier with a fat payday to go along with it.
Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal
In his post-fight interview, Diaz called out Masvidal for a fight with Masvidal in the crowd. While the callout seemed friendly and without any animosity, you can bet things will change in the buildup for this fight. Both men just want to fight and a five-round pay-per-view main event shall do the trick. This is the hottest fight to book in the UFC right now.
Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael Dos Anjos 2
Both men are coming off losses and RDA dominated Pettis in their first fight back in 2015 to claim the UFC Lightweight Championship. Neither man is out of his prime yet and this could give Pettis another shot of confidence if he can defeat the man that turned his MMA career upside down.
Paulo Costa vs. winner of Whittaker/Adesanya
Costa proved that he is the real deal after a back-and-forth war with Yoel Romero. With his high offensive output and pressure, Costa will be a tough out for either Whittaker or Adesanya, making for a very interesting title fight. If Costa wants to fight soon, he can compete in a title eliminator against Jack Hermansson.
Yoel Romero vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Romero and Gastelum are coming off losing ends of insane battles, so it only makes sense to match them up. Gastelum would be able to set himself up for another title shot and a win would easily put Romero back in the mix. Both men have the all-around skill on the ground and on the feet, which could create a recipe for another war.
Other fights to make: Sodiq Yusuff vs. Hakeem Dawodu, Gabriel Benitez vs. Gavin Tucker, Derek Brunson vs. Krzysztof Jotko, Cory Sandhagen vs. Petr Yan
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