After his big win at UFC Vegas 83, what’s next for Khalil Rountree?

MMA: UFC 226-Saki vs Roundtree
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 83, we saw a big time matchup in the light heavyweight division. Top contenders battled it out as Khalil Rountree (13-5) took on former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (37-19).

Originally, Rountree was supposed to face off against Azamat Murzakanov. However, Murzakanov was unable to fight and as a result, the former title challenger Anthony Smith stepped up. This was a break for Rountree as Smith’s name comes with much more recognition.

This fight was going to be about whether or not Smith could weather the storm of Rountree and whether or not Rountree’s cardio would holdup. Through two rounds, the answer to both of those questions was yes. Smith kept pushing forward, but Rountree looked fresh as a daisy.

In the third round, Smith opened with a ton of pressure knowing he needed a big round. It proved to be his downfall as Rountree landed a vicious combination that sent Smith falling backwards. Rountree didn’t even need to follow up as the fight was stopped giving Rountree the biggest win of his UFC career.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 83?

Rountree didn’t get off to the best start in his career inside the octagon. There were a lot of mixed results and through ten fights, he was just 4-5, 1 NC. However, starting in late 2021, he really started to turn things around. Back-to-back knockout wins got him a fight with Dustin Jacoby.

That fight could have gone either way, but Rountree got the split decision win. Now, he’s scored back-to-back knockout wins including one over a former UFC title challenger. After his fight, Rountree said he knew he was just entering the top ten, but he really wants a fight with champion Alex Pereira.

Rountree acknowledged and I agree that he’s still a couple of wins away from that. In my opinion, a great next fight for him would be Nikita Krylov. Like Rountree, Krylov went through a tough stretch where he was just 2-4 in six fights. However, he’s won three fights in a row and has looked sensational. It’s a perfect fight to see which of these two is ready for UFC title contention.