This past weekend at UFC 272, top featherweights went to battle as “Thug Nasty” Bryce Mitchell (15-0) took on Edson Barboza (22-11). This was the first true test for Mitchell to see where he stacks up compared to top contenders at 145 pounds.
One thing I said that would be key at UFC 272 would be leg kicks from Barboza. Well, as soon as the fight started, Barboza started unleashing vicious kicks to the legs. That part was playing out exactly how I thought it would.
However, what I didn’t see happening was what happened next. With a blitzing combination, Mitchell dropped the elite striker in Barboza. Once he was on top, he really never let Barboza up and you could see Barboza’s confidence just drain.
For the rest of the fight, Mitchell continued to use his superior grappling and Barboza couldn’t get him off of him. Every round at UFC 272 featured Mitchell getting Barboza to the ground and just beating him up. In the end, it was a lopsided decision win for Thug Nasty.
What’s next after UFC 272?
Now that Mitchell has a win like this under his belt, there’s no denying the fact that he’s at true contender in the featherweight division. In fact, in the latest UFC rankings that just came out, Mitchell is ranked ninth.
So, what should be next for Thug Nasty? Well, I think a great fight for him would be taking on the man that is directly in front of him in Giga Chikadze (14-3). Chikadze is coming off of his first loss in the UFC to Calvin Kattar.
Had Chikadze won that fight, many thought he would be getting a title shot. However, the loss set him back and it’s still to be determined what would be next. I would be in complete favor of pairing these two up in another striker versus grappler matchup.
Another potential next matchup for Mitchell could come from this weekend’s UFC Vegas 50 main card. Sodiq Yusuff and Alex Caceres will be battling it out. Whoever wins that fight will be right behind Mitchell in the rankings. That could be another fight that makes a lot of sense.