After his TKO loss at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Diego Ferreira?

Entering 2021, one of the hottest names in the UFC‘s lightweight division was Diego Ferreira (17-4). Ferreira entered the year having won six fights in a row including a finish over former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

In his career, Ferreira had only been defeated by Dustin Poirier and Beneil Dariush. That alone showed people just how good Ferreira was. Back in February, he had his first UFC appearance of the year.

He took on Beneil Dariush in a rematch. Unfortunately for Ferreira, their second fight went a lot like their first. Dariush was able to get the better of the grappling and ended up winning a decision.

Ferreira wanted to get right back in there and the promotion offered him a spot at UFC Vegas 26. He was offered a fight against Gregor Gillespie (14-1) in a big matchup of top fifteen contenders.

Ferreira took the fight and in the first round on Saturday, he looked very good. He was able to hurt Gillespie and get the better of some of the exchanges. However, by the second round, Gillespie started to break him.

One thing leading into last weekend is the fact that Ferreira missed weight by over four pounds. A horrific miss heading into UFC Vegas 26. Ultimately in the second round, Gillespie got the TKO victory. So Ferreira had to give up 30% of his purse and he suffered a TKO loss.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

As mentioned, Ferreira rode into the year on the highest of highs. Had he defeated Dariush in February, he could’ve been in the co-headlining spot against Tony Ferguson this weekend at UFC 262.

Instead, Ferreira has lost two in a row and now he’s on the verge of falling out of the UFC’s top fifteen. With that, what should the promotion do with him next? Well for that, I look to UFC 263.

At UFC 263, there’s a lightweight contest between Drew Dober (23-10) and Brad Riddell (9-1). I think a fight with Ferreira and either the winner or the loser makes a lot of sense given their status in the division.

Another fight that could make sense for Ferreira is a matchup with Al Iaquinta (14-6-1). Iaquinta hasn’t fought since 2019, but he’s in a similar spot as Ferreira. Perhaps that’s a matchup the UFC could look at next.

UFC books Drew Dober – Brad Riddell

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a fun lightweight matchup for their June PPV. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is in the final stages of booking Drew Dober (23-10, 1 NC) – Brad Riddell (9-1).

The matchup would take place at UFC 263 on June 12th. This would be a relatively quick turnaround for Dober who just fought back at UFC 259 in early March. That night, Dober took on the tough Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev is being looked at as a future UFC lightweight champion. However, Dober was 6-1 in his previous seven and many thought he’d give Islam problems. That is not what happened when they fought on March 6th.

Makhachev completely dominated Dober and handed him just his second loss since 2016. Now, Dober is looking to bounce back in taking on Riddell at UFC 263. This is a tremendous matchup between two fringe top fifteen lightweights.

Riddell seeks to stay perfect in the UFC

Brad Riddell is another intriguing prospect that has come out of City Kickboxing in New Zealand. Riddell trains alongside UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

So far, Riddell has fought three times inside the octagon and he’s a perfect 3-0. He was set to take on Gregor Gillespie just a few weeks ago and if he were to win that fight, he likely would’ve been inside the UFC’s top 15.

However, due to a COVID breakout with the City Kickboxing group, the fight was called off. Now, Riddell is ready to get back to work and he’s getting a very tough test in Drew Dober.

If Riddell is able to defeat Dober, it will say a lot about where he is in the UFC lightweight picture. Whoever wins this matchup will likely get a ranked opponent in their next matchup so there is a lot on the line for both of these lightweight contenders.

UFC Vegas 22 Preview: Gregor Gillespie – Brad Riddell

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 22, we will see a very intriguing matchup in the lightweight division. The 15th ranked contender at lightweight, Gregor Gillespie (13-1), will be taking on rising contender, Brad Riddell (9-1).

Gregor Gillespie is making his UFC return after being off for the last year and a half. The last time we saw Gillespie, he had his first big challenge at lightweight in the form of Kevin Lee. Gillespie had looked dominant, but taking on a former UFC title challenger was a big step up in competition.

In the end, Gillespie was flatlined by a headkick and Lee handed him his first loss. Prior to that loss, Gillespie had been 6-0 in the UFC with five of those wins coming via stoppage. Gillespie hasn’t been hurt, but he’s taken some much needed time off to improve on some things for his next run.

Standing across from him is the City Kickboxing product, Brad Riddell. Riddell is one of the best pure strikers to come out of City Kickboxing. He’s incredibly entertaining to watch and so far he’s only stumbled once in his professional career.

So far, Riddell is 3-0 with three decisions in the UFC. He’s going to be looking for his seventh straight win overall tomorrow night. If Riddell is able to win tomorrow, expect a ranking to be by his name next week.

UFC Vegas 22 Prediction

Tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 22 we are going to see that classic striker versus grappler matchup. In reality, it’s not that difficult of a fight to break down. It’s ultimately going to come down to who can execute their game plan.

Gregor Gillespie is a Division 1 national champion wrestler. He is suffocating when he gets his hands on you and it’s incredibly difficult to get him. For Gillespie, he’s going to be trying for takedowns right away tomorrow night.

On the flip side, you have Riddell. Riddell is one of the best strikers from a gym that producers sensational strikers. For him to be successful tomorrow, he’s got to keep the fight standing. If this fight is contested on the feet, Riddell should be in good shape.

Usually when you look at these matchups, they favor the wrestler. I don’t believe that UFC Vegas 22 is going to be any different. Would I be shocked to see Riddell pull off a slick KO? No, but at the end of the day, I don’t see him keeping Gillespie off of him. This fight is going to Gregor Gillespie tomorrow night.