What’s next for Alexandre Pantoja after big win at UFC Vegas 18?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, we saw a big matchup in the flyweight division. The fifth ranked flyweight in the world, Alexandre Pantoja (23-5), welcomed former RIZIN champion, Manel Kape (15-5), to the UFC.

There was a ton of hype surrounding Kape and many were looking at him as a potential challenger for the title. However, the UFC gave him no layup in his first fight with him taking on the dangerous Pantoja.

Pantoja has been in there with some of the best in the UFC including the flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1). The fight was promised to deliver and I have to say that it was a little underwhelming.

I was expecting more of a barnburner, but Kape’s cautious approach stalled the action at times. Pantoja didn’t land amazing shots at UFC Vegas 18, however, he was the much more active fighter on Saturday night.

For that reason, the judges unanimously gave the decision win to Alexandre Pantoja. While it wasn’t the sexiest win in the world, it was still a win at the end of the day and a big win at that.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

After the fight was over, Pantoja stated that he wanted a rematch with the UFC’s flyweight champion. However, the odds of Pantoja fighting for the title in his next fight are slim to none.

Figueiredo will have his rematch against Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) next. After that fight, it’s been said that the winner will take on former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3). With that in mind, the title is booked for most of 2021.

Of course, that means Pantoja will need to take another fight. There are a couple of options for Pantoja out there. One option could be a matchup with Alex Perez (24-6). Perez is coming off of a title loss at UFC 255.

Another option could be the winner of the Joseph Benavidez – Askar Askarov matchup that takes place next month. However, I’m not sure that fight would get made should Askarov win considering Askerov just beat Pantoja in July.

UFC: Cody Garbrandt wants Jose Aldo in April before flyweight title shot

One of the best highlight reel knockouts of 2020 came back at UFC 250. That night, Cody Garbrandt (12-3) unleashed a vicious right hook in the final seconds of the first round to completely flatten Raphael Assuncao.

The former UFC bantamweight champion picked up his first win since December of 2016 with that knockout. Prior to that victory, he had been knocked out in three straight fights.

After Garbrandt won, he was moved up to third in the bantamweight rankings. However, he wanted to drop down to 125 pounds and fight at flyweight. He had his eyes set on the newly crowned flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1).

The UFC booked their title fight for November. However, due to injuries and a battle with COVID, Garbrandt had to pull out of the fight. Garbrandt has been healing on the sidelines while awaiting his flyweight title opportunity.

The former bantamweight champion was all set to take on the winner of the UFC 256 headliner between Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2). However, the two men fought to a draw and the UFC is going to give Moreno an immediate rematch.

Garbrandt is ready for another fight, however, if he wants to wait for a flyweight title shot, he won’t fight until late in the summer. Instead, Garbrandt has his eyes on a big fight at bantamweight while he waits.

Will the UFC book Garbrandt – Aldo?

Cody Garbrandt told ESPN this week that the fight that he wants is Jose Aldo (29-7). He pointed out the fact that at this stage he only wants to fight big names if he’s not getting a title shot. His desire to remain active is why he’s wanting to fight again at bantamweight.

Aldo is coming off of a win in December over Chito Vera. The win snapped a three-fight losing streak for Aldo. Aldo has looked rejuvenated since dropping down to bantamweight in late 2019.

Currently, both men are ranked in the top six of the division. Aldo has been calling out TJ Dillashaw (16-4), however, there’s no traction on that fight at the moment. Garbrandt also told ESPN that he wants to fight a “clean” TJ Dillashaw.

No Love made it very clear that he still intends on dropping to 125 pounds when he’s presented with the title shot. The desire to fight Aldo just stems from remaining active and getting to fight a big name. Personally, I love the matchup if the UFC can get it done.

UFC: Rob Font wants a March headliner against TJ Dillashaw

One of the UFC bantamweight contenders with the most hype right now is Rob Font (18-4). Font starched Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) with a devastating performance in his last fight. It was a fight where Font had to show a number of his skills.

Going into the December matchup at UFC Vegas 17, we knew that Rob Font had really good boxing. However, there were questions around how he would handle someone with strong kicks and how his grappling would hold up.

Well, he was taken down early, but he got back up. He did take some kicks from Moraes, but the damage he did with his own punches was far more severe. Just under four minutes into the first round, Font put Moraes out.

It was the third straight victory in the UFC for Font. After the win, Font rose to fifth in the bantamweight rankings. A spot well deserved after the performance that he put on last month.

Font has made it very clear in what he wants next. He wants a shot at the former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw’s two-year suspension ends this week, and he needs an opponent.

Will the UFC make it?

Font told MMA Junkie that he would love to headline a card with March against Dillashaw. He also said that he believes the former champion is mentally broken now that he has to compete after being a proven cheater.

Dillashaw is currently weighing his options for his next matchup in the UFC. He’s made it clear that he wants a title shot right out of the gate, however, it isn’t clear on if the promotion is a fan of that option.

Jose Aldo (29-7) also said that he would like to be the one to welcome Dillashaw back to the octagon. At this point, there is no telling on what direction the promotion is leaning. However, the Font fight does make sense.

Rob Font has a ton of momentum after his last fight. It was a great performance and he could be looking at a title shot if he has one more big win. Well, it wouldn’t get much bigger than a win over the former UFC champion.

Cody Garbrandt (12-3) and his management have been asking the UFC for a fight with Aldo. Garbrandt is currently waiting for a flyweight title shot, however, with the title tied up until mid-2021, he’s looking for a big fight.

The promotion could book Garbrandt and Aldo which would open the door for Dillashaw to face Font. It’s a fight that makes a ton of sense for the division and whoever wins would earn themselves a title shot with that performance.

UFC: If Henry Cejudo returns in 2021, who will he fight?

UFC, Henry Cejudo

At UFC 249 in May of last year, Henry Cejudo (16-2) successfully defended his bantamweight title when he stopped Dominick Cruz (22-3). The fight capped off an incredible three-year run for Cejudo.

Cejudo lost a split decision to Joseph Benavidez (28-7) in December of 2016. However, after that loss, Cejudo would not lose again in the UFC. He climbed to the top of the flyweight division where he was the first flyweight to defeat Demetrious Johnson (30-3-1).

From there, he defeated TJ Dillashaw (16-4) before moving up to bantamweight. At bantamweight he stopped Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) to capture the title before of course stopping Cruz at UFC 249.

After the fight was over, Cejudo said that he was walking away on top. At just 33 years old, Cejudo seemed comfortable with his decision to retire. However, he’s been constantly active on social media over the last few months.

Cejudo doesn’t talk like someone who’s fought his last fight in the UFC. He’s hinted at returning to the octagon at some point and perhaps 2021 is the year. So if Cejudo does return, who should he fight?

Who would the UFC pair him with?

The fight that Cejudo really wants is a fight with the UFC’s featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). Fighting Volkanovski would give Cejudo the chance to do something truly remarkable.

Cejudo is already an Olympic Gold Medalist and a two-division UFC champion. However, if he were to fight and defeat Volkanovski, he would become the first fighter in the promotion’s history to have held a title in three divisions.

However, given the landscape of featherweight, I think this is unlikely. Volkanovski has a big challenge in front of him in Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). After Ortega, there is a plethora of top contenders waiting.

I can’t imagine the UFC giving Cejudo that fight because I don’t think he would commit to defending that title. I believe if he moved up for that fight it would be a one and done type of situation.

Now, if Volkanovski clears out the division over the next year or two, then I could see the UFC doing it. However, that division is too fluid right now to have a one and done type of title fight.

The same situation could be said about bantamweight. Petr Yan (15-1) and Aljamain Sterling (19-3) are getting ready to fight for that title. Bantamweight is one of the more stacked divisions in the UFC. I can’t see them letting Cejudo hold up the division.

Return to flyweight or a catchweight?

Of course that leaves flyweight and Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1). To me, this is the most likely fight as things currently stand. Figueiredo is set to have a rematch with Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) followed by a fight with Cody Garbrandt (12-3) should he beat Moreno.

If Figueiredo wins both of those fights, I could see the UFC pairing him up against Cejudo in a one-off fight. It would be a massive fight for Figueiredo who the UFC is putting a lot of stock into. They’ve already had some fun back and forth which could fuel the potential fight.

As you can see, there are a number of options across three divisions. If Cejudo commits to coming back and competing more than once, any of the divisions are a possibility. However, if it’s just a one-time deal it will likely be against the flyweight champion of the world.

UFC: State of the men’s flyweight division entering 2021

2020 was a transition year for the UFC‘s flyweight division. When the year got started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) had just vacated the flyweight title. The promotion setup a fight in February to crown a new champion after Cejudo moved to bantamweight.

That fight put Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) against Joseph Benavidez (28-7). Benavidez was always looked at as one of the best fighters in the UFC, but he just could never quite climb the mountain to become a champion.

Many believed that February would be his best chance. However, Figueiredo proved to be too much for Benavidez. Benavidez was completely dominated and stopped in the second round by Figueiredo.

However, Figueiredo missed weight so he didn’t capture the title. The UFC decided to have the two men run things back on Fight Island. This time, Figueiredo made weight and he ended up finishing Benavidez quicker than he did the first time.

Figueiredo has become a star in the UFC‘s flyweight division. After he choked out Benavidez, he defended his title against Alex Perez (24-6) at UFC 255. Figueiredo forced Perez to tap within the first two minutes of the fight.

With taking such little damage, the UFC turned Figueiredo right around to fight Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) at UFC 256. The two men had a war and the fight was ultimately ruled a majority draw.

UFC flyweight in 2021

Dana White said shortly after UFC 256 that the promotion would have Figueiredo and Moreno run things back. The fight was a fight of the year candidate and with no winner declared, he said it make sense to do the rematch.

With that, the odd man out becomes Cody Garbrandt (12-3). The former UFC bantamweight champion decided to drop to flyweight to pursue another title. He was originally supposed to get the title shot at UFC 255.

However, he had to pull out of the fight. He was hoping to face the Figueiredo – Moreno winner in March, however, that’s not likely now. Garbrandt and his team have discussed taking an interim fight at bantamweight while he waits, but that’s not settled.

A very compelling matchup to watch at flyweight is Manel Kape (15-4) and Alexandre Pantoja (22-5). Kape is the former RIZIN champion at 135 pounds and he will be making his UFC debut against Pantoja on February 6th.

Whoever wins that fight will be in excellent position in the flyweight division. Another matchup to watch is Benavidez taking on Askar Askarov (12-0-1). Askarov trains under Khabib Nurmagomedov and he looks like he can be a future champion.

At one point, the UFC’s flyweight division looked like it was going to be closed for business. However, business is booming at the moment with a number of intriguing matchups. Should be a fun year for the promotion at 125 pounds.

UFC: What’s next for Cody Garbrandt?

Former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3), is still waiting to make his debut in the flyweight division. The former champion made a successful return to the octagon in June when he knocked out Ralphael Assuncao.

That fight took place at bantamweight, but it was announced shortly after that Garbrandt would be dropping down to flyweight. After Deiveson Figueiredo won the flyweight title in July, the UFC booked the two up for a title fight.

Originally, Garbrandt was set to face Figueiredo at UFC 255 in November. However, Garbrandt tore his bicep and he’s been dealing with lengthy symptoms from COVID. As a result, Alex Perez got the shot against Figueiredo.

Of course, Figueiredo was able to win by first round submission. The champion quickly turned around to fight Brandon Moreno at UFC 256. The two had a fight of the year candidate that resulted in a draw.

After the fight was over, Dana White announced that the UFC would be booking the rematch between the two. Garbrandt said on Twitter that he’d be ready to fight by March. However, it now appears that he won’t be getting a title shot next.

What does the UFC do with Garbrandt?

If Cody Garbrandt wants a UFC flyweight title shot in his divisional debut, he’s going to be waiting a while. After the war that Figueiredo and Moreno had at UFC 256, I think it’s safe to say that fight won’t happen until April or May.

With that timeline, Garbrandt would have to sit out over a year in between fights. I think the smart thing would be for him to take a fight at flyweight in the meantime. He’s never fought at 125 so taking a fight would allow him to go through the process and get his feet wet.

There are a couple of fights that would be fun for Garbrandt in the UFC‘s flyweight division. One fight that I would personally love to see is Garbrandt against Manel Kape (15-4). Kape was the backup at UFC 256 after his fight with Alexandre Pantoja fell through.

Kape is one of the best in the world at 125 pounds. A fight between those two would be a lot of fun. The UFC could also pair Garbrandt against Alex Perez (24-6) who just lost in the title fight at UFC 255.

No matter what they decide to do, I think the promotion needs to give Garbrandt a flyweight fight. Let him make the weight and get a win in the division as opposed to shelving him and waiting for the title shot.

Cody Garbrandt wants the UFC flyweight champion in March

Tonight at UFC 255, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) completely dominated his first challenger in Alex Perez (24-6). Figueiredo showed beautiful skills on the ground on his way to pulling off a guillotine choke in the first round.

It was a dominant performance by the UFC‘s flyweight champion. However, he didn’t fight the guy he was originally scheduled to face. Originally, Figueiredo had a different challenger. A former world champion.

That former world champion was former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3). Garbrandt was scheduled to take on Figueiredo in the main event of UFC 255. However, a torn bicep forced Garbrandt off the card.

Garbrandt was going to be making his flyweight debut fighting for the title. Back in the summer at UFC 250, Garbrandt snapped a three fight losing streak with a highlight knockout over Raphael Assuncao.

After the knockout, rumors started circulating around what Garbrandt wanted to do next. He decided he wanted to drop down and try to capture a second UFC title. He’s been healing up and he has a timeframe on when he wants his shot.

UFC flyweight title fight in March?

After the event concluded tonight, Garbrandt told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, “Alex Perez was just someone they gave Figueiredo to build up our fight more. I knock that guy (Figueiredo) out in the first or second round. I’ll be ready by March.”

It appears that Garbrandt has laid down the time table for his return to the UFC. The promotion has not said anything regarding Garbrandt’s status as a top contender since he fell out of this fight with the torn bicep.

After UFC 255, Dana White announced that Figueiredo would likely be fighting again in a few weeks. He told the media that he wanted Figueiredo to defend his title in December against top contender Brandon Moreno.

Both fighters had a first round finish at UFC 255. If the promotion does book that fight, Garbrandt seems primed to welcome the winner around March or April.

TJ Dillashaw’s UFC return is upon us

The former two time UFC bantamweight champion is getting ready to make his return to the octagon. In about three months, the suspension will be lifted from TJ Dillashaw (16-4) and he will once again be allowed to compete in the UFC.

A couple of years ago, Dillashaw was riding an incredible wave in the UFC. He had regained his bantamweight title by knocking out Cody Garbrandt, then he knocked Garbrandt out again in the rematch that took place at UFC 227.

Following that, Dillashaw attempted to do something that only Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and Amanda Nunes had done. Dillashaw wanted to become a two division champion and hold both belts at the same time.

Dillashaw’s task was to take out the UFC‘s flyweight king, Henry Cejudo. TJ Dillashaw appeared to nearly kill himself making the flyweight limit, but he successfully made it and the fight was on. However, the fight ended in just 32 seconds after Cejudo connected with a shot and put Dillashaw down.

Dillashaw protested the stoppage and wanted to run things back. The UFC seemed interested in the rematch as well. Then out of no where, Dillashaw announced that he was relinquishing his bantamweight title due to a positive drug test.

Long road back to UFC glory

Later, it came out that Dillashaw had popped for EPO. A performance enhancing drug that specifically aides in your energy levels. Dillashaw said he was struggling to maintain energy while trying to cut down to the flyweight limit. Dillashaw was suspended for two years.

Since then, Dillashaw has used the time away from the UFC to get his body right. He had a couple of shoulder surgeries to repair some damage that had been lingering for some time. Now, he feels like he is better than ever ahead of next UFC run.

There are going to be a lot of questions surrounding Dillashaw. There is also going to be a lot of pressure on his shoulders. If he can come back, test clean, and win the UFC title once again, it will be a big statement to the level of fighter that Dillashaw is.

However, if he can never return to his past form, people will always wonder if it was just the PEDs that aided Dillashaw. Granted, he never had failed a test, but popping for EPO after rumors had circulated for some time about Dillashaw isn’t a good look. Dillashaw is expected to return in early 2021 to the UFC.

BREAKING: Deiveson Figueiredo gets new opponent at UFC 255

UFC 255 was dealt a bit of a blow today. First reported by Combate and now confirmed by ESPN, Cody Garbrandt (12-3) is out of his title fight against flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1). Figueiredo will now defend against a new opponent.

The UFC‘s flyweight champion will now be taking on Alex Perez (24-5) per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. Perez was already scheduled to be on the card taking on Brandon Moreno (17-5-1). However, Perez will now jump into the main event of the evening.

This is a tough blow for the former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt had gone through a rough time over the past couple of years, but made a big return at UFC 250 where he knocked out Raphael Assuncao.

After that knockout victory, Garbrandt announced he wanted to move down to flyweight to try to capture a second UFC title. Garbrandt wasn’t the biggest guy at bantamweight, and he felt he could easily make 125. His title opportunity is going to have to wait now.

UFC 255’s New Main Event

What a golden opportunity this has turned into for Alex Perez. Perez is currently ranked fourth in the UFC‘s flyweight rankings. He will come into this title fight at 11-1 in his last 12 fights. The only loss coming to Joseph Benavidez back in 2018.

Perez has earned this title shot however, he’s going to have his hands full with the UFC‘s flyweight champion. Figueiredo will be making his first title defense after dominating Joseph Benavidez for the second time back in July.

Figueiredo was able to capture the undisputed UFC flyweight crown by choking Benavidez out cold in the first round. It was the second time this year that Figueiredo had stopped Benavidez cementing himself as the best flyweight in the UFC.

While it’s not the main event everyone wanted, it will still be a very solid flyweight title fight for the promotion. A huge opportunity for Perez and another tough blow for Cody Garbrandt.

BREAKING: UFC 255 headlined by Figuiredo – Garbrandt and Shevchenko – Maia flyweight title fights

The UFC news is coming fast and furious today. Dana White told ESPN today that the promotion is going to have two flyweight title fights at UFC 255. Deiveson Figuiredo (19-1) will be taking on Cody Garbrandt (12-3) and for the women, Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) will be taking on Jennifer Maia (18-6-1).

Two UFC Flyweight Title Fights

This is massive news for the promotion. The UFC has said that they were working on Figuiredo’s first title defense, and he has a tall order. The former bantamweight champion, Garbrandt has teased moving down to flyweight.

He said recently in an interview that he wanted to go down and claim a second title. Figuiredo is coming off of a dominant victory over Garbrandt’s former teammate, Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Island 2.

This is a massive matchup and a very interesting one. TJ Dillashaw tried doing what Garbrand’s doing and showed a diminished chin in a first round TKO loss to Henry Cejudo. Will Garbrandt fair better?

Figuiredo looks like he can become a dominant champion in the UFC that can reign for a long time. However, Garbrandt is by far the biggest challenge that he could face at flyweight. This will be a fantastic matchup.

One of the most dominant fighters in the UFC is flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. She has walked through who has stood in her way outside of Amanda Nunes.

She was scheduled to fight JoJo Calderwood back in June, but an injury forced the UFC champion to withdraw. Jennifer Maia defeated Calderwood last week to earn her title shot. The victory prompted a callout from the champion.

Two massive flyweight title fights headline a very impressive card from the UFC. The promotion is going to really be kicked into high gear for the rest of 2020. Who do you think will walk away from UFC 255 with flyweight gold?