This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 76, we saw a showcase in the lightweight division between ranked contenders. Grant Dawson (20-1-1) was looking to continue his impressive rise up the lightweight ranks when he took on Damir Ismagulov (24-3).
Ismagulov had won 18 fights in a row leading into December’s bout against Arman Tsarukyan. He had a lot of hype behind him and that was a big matchup for the lightweight division. He lost that fight and hinted at potential retirement afterwards. However, he returned to take on Grant Dawson.
After winning a contract on the Contender Series, Grant Dawson had gone 7-0-1 in eight UFC fights. He was looking for the biggest win of his career in defeating Ismagulov in a co-main slot to get him in a good position to climb the rankings.
He did just that on Saturday night. His control and dominance were something to behold as he had control of Ismagulov for nearly 90% of the entire fight. Ismagulov couldn’t get going and it ended up being another dominant win for Grant Dawson at UFC Vegas 76.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 76?
With this dominant win, Dawson jumped five spots in the rankings all the way to the tenth position. He’s now in the top ten and looks to be in a good spot to continue his climb up the rankings. So, who should he fight next? Well, the answer could come at UFC 290 this upcoming weekend.
On the main card, Jalin Turner and Dan Hooker are fighting each other. Hooker and Turner occupy the two spots directly behind Dawson in the rankings. Whoever wins could be an excellent fight for Dawson as he continues climbing up the ladder towards title contention.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing a battle between Nelson and Mateusz Gamrot if the UFC wants to move Dawson closer to the top five. That would be a very intriguing battle given the styles. That would likely be Dawson’s preference to get him close to that top five spot with Gamrot currently ranked seventh.