After a close loss at UFC Vegas 66, what’s next for Sean Strickland?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 66 we saw a battle between two top middleweights who were looking to bounce back. Former title challenger Jared Cannonier (16-6) took on top contender Sean Strickland (25-5).

Entering the bout, it appeared it was going to be a story of volume versus power. For Cannonier, he was going to need big shots while Strickland was going to need to frustrate Cannonier with movement and straight shots.

Throughout the fight, Strickland did a really good job of sliding out of the way of most of Cannonier’s power shots. However, Cannonier did land at times and those shots were felt. Cannonier also through with much more volume than Strickland which was a little surprising.

Near the end of the fight, the striking totals were very close. However, Cannonier through with more heat throughout and that’s what ended up winning him the fight. When the cards were read, two judges gave the fight and the win to Cannonier at UFC Vegas 66.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 66?

For the first time in his career, Sean Strickland has lost back-to-back fights. Now, this loss isn’t like the one to Alex Pereira. Pereira ran through Strickland with no issues. This fight between Cannonier and Strickland could have truly gone either way.

Nevertheless, it’s a loss for Strickland. So, what should the UFC do with Strickland? I think he needs a slight step back just to regain some momentum that he had entering 2022. In looking at the middleweight division, I think a good fight for Strickland would be the winner of Nassourdine Imavov – Kelvin Gastelum.

These two headline the first Fight Night of 2023 and would still be ranked behind Strickland regardless of the result. It would be a good step up for the winner and a good rebound fight for Strickland.