This past Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 78, we saw an intriguing matchup in the light heavyweight division. Former top heavyweight contender Chris Daukaus (12-7) was looking for a change of scenery as he moved down to 205 to take on the ranked contender Khalil Rountree (12-5).
Rountree entered the bout having won three fights in a row while Daukaus had lost three fights in a row. After surging to the top of the heavyweight division, three straight knockout losses had Daukaus rethinking his career. He dedicated himself to getting in better shape and dropped to 205.
There were a lot of questions around how he would perform, but many were excited to see how he would look at 205. In dropping down, he was taking on one of the more dangerous strikers at 205. Given how his chin had looked and factor in a new weight cut, it was a dangerous proposition for Daukaus at UFC Vegas 78.
That proposition turned out to be devastating as just over halfway through the first round, Rountree landed a massive left straight. Daukaus fell back and Rountree was all over him causing the referee to stop the action giving Daukaus his fourth straight loss and Rountree his fourth straight win.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 78?
At UFC 257, Khalil Rountree suffered a loss that dropped him to 8-5 in his career and 1-3 in a four-fight stretch inside the octagon. Things were not looking great in terms of his career. However, he really focused himself throughout 2021 and came back strong to end the year and he hasn’t looked back since.
He stopped Modestas Bukauskas and then Karl Roberson. The Dustin Jacoby win was a little controversial in terms of the decision, but at the end of the day, he got his hand raised. Then, this knockout on Saturday night. Four straight wins has him primed for a shot against someone in the top ten.
Rountree made it clear that he wants to fight five rounds to show that he’s truly ready for championship level competition. On this winning streak, the UFC might be willing to give him a Fight Night headliner. That said, who would they pair him with?
I actually really like the idea of him fighting fellow light heavyweight finisher Azamat Murzakanov (13-0). This would be a sensational fight that would tell us a lot about both men. Murzakanov is coming off a win against Dustin Jacoby at UFC Kansas City earlier this year and is currently ranked 11th. To me, it’s the perfect matchup to tell us which contender is ready to jump into the top ten.