After falling short at UFC Vegas 85, what’s next for Roman Dolidze?

MMA: UFC 286 - Vettori vs Dolidze
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC Vegas 85, we saw a middleweight bout with a top ten ranking on the line. Roman Dolidze (12-3) entered the contest ranked eighth and he was looking to defend that spot against Nassourdine Imavov (13-5).

Dolidze entered the UFC with a perfect 6-0 record. After winning his first two bouts, he suffered a setback against Trevin Giles by losing a decision. However, after that, he went on an impressive run winning four straight including a TKO win over Jack Hermansson to get him into the top ten.

He was booked against Marvin Vettori last March and saw his momentum halted when he lost a decision. This headliner at UFC Vegas 85 was his chance to get back in the win column and re-establish himself. However, that didn’t happen on Saturday night.

He was utterly dominated in the first round and didn’t look good at all through three rounds. He showed tremendous toughness and really never stopped coming forward, but he was just a step behind The Russian Sniper. When the fight was over, he lost a majority decision dropping him out of the UFC’s top ten at 185.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 85?

As mentioned above, Roman Dolidze was potentially a win away last March from being in serious title contention. Now, he finds himself on the outside of the top ten and he’s really going to need a win in his next fight. After this latest loss, what should the UFC do with him next?

If you’re wanting a ranked opponent for Dolidze, I actually wouldn’t mind him facing the loser of either the Brendan Allen – Marvin Vettori fight or the Paulo Costa – Robert Whittaker fight. If Whittaker defeats Costa, I actually really like the Costa fight.

That said, there’s a fight in March I’m keeping my eye on for Dolidze. Michel Pereira is taking on Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC 299. Whoever wins that fight is likely going to be in the rankings or right around that 15th spot. A great next fight for the winner would be Dolidze especially if the winner is Michel Pereira.