Aleksandar Rakic believes he’s the new face of light heavyweight after UFC 259

This past Saturday at UFC 259, top four light heavyweight contenders kicked off the main card. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (21-9) took on Aleksandar Rakic (14-2). Both men were looking to take another step towards the UFC‘s light heavyweight title.

The expectation going into this fight was that it was going to be a fire fight. Both men possessed knockout power and both had highlight finishes inside the octagon. However, that isn’t the fight we got on Saturday night.

The fight was incredibly slow and featured Rakic just picking his shots from the outside. There were a few times where power shots were thrown, however, nothing serious ever landed. Neither man was in trouble at UFC 259.

In the end, Aleksandar Rakic had his hand raised by unanimous decision. After the fight was over, Rakic went over to Dana White’s table and told him that he was the new face of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. Is that the case?

What’s next after UFC 259?

I will give Aleksandar Rakic this, he’s been sensational since joining the UFC. Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2017, Rakic has gone 6-1 inside the octagon. The only time he lost was to Volkan Oezdemir by split decision.

However, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of people believe that Rakic won the fight against Oezdemir. You could very well make the case that Rakic is unbeaten in the UFC. Rakic has all the makings of a future champion at 205.

He’s got the size, strength, and the skills to make it happen. We’ve seen him show off great kickboxing and we’ve also seen him show off decent skills on the ground. However, his last three fights have failed to wow fight fans.

With that, we know that Rakic is not getting the next UFC title shot. That shot belongs to Glover Teixeira. So with that, where does Rakic go from here? I think where we go from here is we look at the upcoming light heavyweight matchup in May.

Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka will fight in May. Whoever wins that fight would matchup up perfectly with Rakic for a title eliminator. Based on rumblings in the background, it appears that the UFC is heading in this direction and that potential title eliminator should be a lot of fun to watch.

What’s next for Thiago Santos after another loss at UFC 259?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, former title challenger and top light heavyweight, Thiago Santos (21-9), returned to action. He took on fellow top light heavyweight contender, Aleksandar Rakic (14-2), to kick off the PPV main card.

For Santos, this was his second fight back since recovering from knee surgery. Santos had the opportunity of a lifetime when he earned a title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 239. However, the fight went very wrong very early on.

Early in the fight, Santos completely tore his knee apart. With the injury, Santos wasn’t able to explode and do the damage that he’s normally capable of doing. Somehow, Santos still fought the all time great to a split decision back in 2019.

After the fight, Santos had to have major reconstructive surgery to repair the damage in he knee. After about 17 months away, Santos returned last November to take on Glover Teixeira. At first, it looked like Santos was going to get back to normal.

Santos dropped Teixeira and looked like he was going to return to be the force in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division that he was before the knee injury. He ended up dropping Teixeira twice in their matchup, but ultimately gassed out and was submitted.

He turned right around to face Rakic at UFC 259. One thing I did notice in the Teixeira fight is that Santos didn’t quite have the same explosion that he did prior to the injury. This is something I also noticed a lot in the Rakic fight.

What’s Santos’ UFC future?

There was just no explosion from Santos on Saturday night. To me, it was clear that he had the power and the speed advantage at UFC 259. In the past, we’ve seen Santos explode forward to overcome range disadvantages. However, he couldn’t do that on Saturday.

He was always too far away and couldn’t get anything going. As a result, he was outpointed and he lost his third consecutive fight. Santos is still ranked fourth in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings, but where does he go from here?

To me, Santos needs a reset. He needs to fight someone in the top ten that’s in a similar position, but it needs to be a winnable fight. Personally, I love the idea of Santos taken on another former title challenger in Volkan Oezdemir (17-5) next.

We haven’t seen Oezdemir compete inside the octagon since his knockout loss at UFC 251 back in July. Both men are former title challengers, but they’re also top ten light heavyweights needing to bounce back. Seems like a great time for the UFC to pair these two up.

After having winning streak snapped at UFC 259, what’s next for Drew Dober?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Drew Dober (23-10) had the tough task of taking on Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev is already being called the next Khabib and many are saying he will be a future UFC lightweight champion.

However, Drew Dober is not someone anyone should just look past. Heading into Saturday night, Dober had only lost one time since 2017. That one loss came against top ten lightweight Beneil Dariush.

Dober had won three fights in a row by stoppage. He has very good grappling skills and tremendous power on his hands. On paper, he looked like he was going to be a very tough test for Islam Makhachev at UFC 259.

However, when it came to the actual fight, the odds makers were right. Dober was a massive underdog which made many scratch their heads considering it had been a lengthy layoff for Islam Makhachev.

He didn’t fight in all of 2020 so nobody quite knew what to expect. Well, Makhachev was as advertised. He completely dominated Dober and took him down at will. In the third round, Dober was forced to tap from an arm-triangle choke snapping his UFC winning streak.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After this winning streak, UFC 259 proved to be a humbling moment for Drew Dober. The fight taught him a valuable lesson on the levels to the game of MMA and showed him where he needs to improve if he wants to compete with championship level fighters.

After that kind of a loss, it’s time for a reset for Drew Dober. He will need to take on someone with decent name recognition, but someone outside the UFC rankings. With that, there are a couple of names that come to mind.

One fighter that would make a lot of sense is Bobby Green (27-11-1). Green had a great 2020 where he went 3-1. He had to pull out of his last fight due to some weight issues, but by all accounts, he’s ready to get back into the octagon.

Another fun UFC matchup for Dober could be Clay Guida (36-20). Guida looked very good in his last outing against Michael Johnson. He proved that he’s as tough as ever with a grinding style that just doesn’t stop. Both of these matchups would be good and tough rebound matchups for Dober.

After setback against Dominick Cruz at UFC 259, what’s next for Casey Kenney?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, the featured prelim was a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (23-3) was making his return against rising contender, Casey Kenney (16-3-1).

Entering UFC 259, Casey Kenney had a lot of momentum. He had won three fights in a row and was on the verge of a ranking. This fight against the former champion was his golden opportunity to bust into the top fifteen.

The first round went a lot like a lot of Dominick Cruz fights. Casey Kenney seemed a little thrown off by the movement and the defense of Cruz. The entire first round, it appeared that Kenney was a step behind.

In the second round, Kenney really started to find his groove. He was blasting the former UFC champion with low kicks and he kept pushing forward to cut off the movement of Cruz. The second round was a clear win for Kenney.

Going into the third, the fight was on the table. Both men did well in the first couple of minutes, but Cruz landed a big takedown in the second half of the round. In the end, two of the three judges gave the split decision win at UFC 259 to Dominick Cruz.

What’s next for Casey Kenney after UFC 259?

While he didn’t get the win on Saturday night, Casey Kenney showed me a lot. He showed that he belongs in there with some of the best in the division. So while it was a split decision loss, I don’t think he lost any ground in the division.

When thinking about what comes next for Kenney, there is one opponent that sticks out to me. That would be the Team Alpha Male product, Song Yadong (16-5-1, 1 NC). Song was also on the UFC 259 prelims and lost to Kyler Phillips.

This loss kicked Song out of the top fifteen at bantamweight. I believe that both of these guys are in a very similar position and I think a fight between the two would make a lot of sense. Whoever would win would have a great argument to get back in the UFC rankings.

After dominant win at UFC 259, what’s next for Islam Makhachev?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Islam Makhachev (19-1) took on Drew Dober (23-10) on the main card. Makhachev has a ton of hype surrounding him and many are considering him to be the next Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC‘s lightweight champion grew up with and is one of the lead training partners of Makhachev. Like Nurmagomedov, Makhachev is a world sambo champion and he possesses a lot of the same skills as the lightweight champion.

This matchup against Drew Dober was going to be a big test for Makhachev. Due to the pandemic, we didn’t see Makhachev inside the octagon in 2020. For that reason, many forgot about how talented he really is.

Drew Dober had been soaring coming into UFC 259. A three-fight win streak where he had won all three fights by knockout. The odds were stacked against him on Saturday, but the thought was that he would provide a tough fight for Makhachev.

Well, on Saturday night, Makhachev mauled Drew Dober. The fight wasn’t competitive at all. Like we’ve seen so many times with Khabib, Makhachev controlled Dober for the entire fight before submitting him in the third round. A dominant return to the UFC for Makhachev.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After that dominant win, Makhachev jumped up in the rankings to eleventh. After this fight, he needs to fight someone that’s in the UFC’s top ten. There are a few options that I like and one I think is a very real possibility.

One option for Makhachev would be Kevin Lee (18-6). Lee is gearing up for his return to the octagon after an injury layoff and he’s currently ranked 13th. He’s been vocal about his desire to fight and test Islam Makhachev.

Another option could be Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). Dariush is now inside the top ten and he’s won six fights in a row. However, Dariush has been very vocal about his desire to move up the rankings and not take on someone lower than him.

Then there’s the matchup that Makhachev and the world wants to see. That would be the matchup with the former UFC interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Ferguson has history with Makhachev’s camp due to the amount of times he was supposed to fight Khabib.

Khabib and Ferguson were scheduled to fight five times and all five times the fight fell through. Makhachev is looked at as Khabib 2.0 and he wants to be the one to retire Ferguson. Ferguson has lost two in a row so from a rankings perspective, this matchup does make sense for the UFC.

What’s next for Megan Anderson after loss at UFC 259?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Megan Anderson (11-5) finally got her shot at the featherweight title. Anderson was originally supposed to get her title fight back in December, however, Amanda Nunes (21-4) had to push back the fight a couple of months.

When the UFC brought Megan Anderson in, many considered her to be a future title contender. Anderson was the Invicta featherweight champion and she had a lot of skills that made her a formattable opponent for anyone at 145 pounds.

Up until Saturday night, Anderson was 3-2 inside the octagon with losses to Holly Holm and Felicia Spencer. However, she was coming off of back-to-back first round stoppages which earned her the shot at the UFC‘s two-division champion.

Anderson had an extremely tall task on Saturday night. Amanda Nunes has looked unstoppable over her last eleven fights. The two-division champion also seems to do her best work at 145 pounds when she doesn’t have to cut extra weight.

Megan Anderson was a massive betting underdog entering UFC 259 and the fight played out that way. Anderson looked extremely nervous and tentative in the cage. As soon as Nunes hit her clean for the first time, you knew she was in trouble.

Anderson retreated and Nunes swarmed. The UFC champion pummeled Anderson with more shots that forced a desperate takedown attempt. Nunes easily defended and locked up a triangle armbar to get the first round submission and retain her title.

What’s next after UFC 259?

Unfortunately for Megan Anderson, there are not a lot of options for her at the moment in the UFC. The women’s featherweight division is extremely shallow and they don’t even have a rankings system due to the lack of fighters.

With that, it’s hard to tell what’s next for Anderson. Dana White’s Contender Series makes it’s return in June and perhaps the UFC will look to add more 145 pound women through the upcoming season. More talent means more options for Megan Anderson.

When it comes to current UFC options, one fighter to look at is Leah Letson (5-1). Letson was a semifinalist on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter. She hasn’t fought since her 2018 win over Julija Stoliarenko, but she’s gearing up for her return to the octagon.

However, the most likely option would be the winner of the Felicia Spencer – Danyelle Wolf fight. This matchup is expected to take place in May. Whoever wins won’t likely warrant a title shot so a fight with Anderson would make sense. No matter how you slice it, there aren’t a lot of options at featherweight.

After another dominant title defense at UFC 259, what’s next for Amanda Nunes?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Amanda Nunes (21-4) defended her featherweight championship against Megan Anderson (11-5). Anderson’s physical attributes figured to give Nunes a new challenge that she wasn’t used to.

Anderson is very tall and she has good range striking as well as submissions. However, were those attributes going to be enough was the big question. The answer was emphatically no at UFC 259.

From the opening bell, Anderson looked extremely tentative. Her eyes were very wide and she had the look of someone who didn’t want to be there. Shortly into the first round, Nunes landed her first big bomb.

Anderson took the shot well, but she looked horrified. Nunes pushed forward and landed more shots that had Anderson hurt badly. Anderson shot for a desperation takedown, but Nunes ended up on top.

Once the UFC‘s two-division champion was on top, it didn’t last long. From the top, Nunes was able to lock up an inverted triangle choke. She transitioned that to a triangle armbar and Anderson was forced to tap. A beautiful performance by Nunes.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After this performance, it appears that the featherweight division will be put on ice for a bit. The UFC has no plans to close the division with Nunes’ desire to remain a two-division champion, but there simply aren’t any challengers there at the moment.

With that, Nunes will return to bantamweight for her next fight. As of now, it appears that the UFC is leaning towards having former Ultimate Fighter winner, Julianna Pena (10-4) challenge Nunes. This is a decision that I don’t personally agree with.

While Pena has been vocal about her desire to fight Nunes, she’s ranked sixth in the division. She was put to sleep by Germaine De Randamie (10-4) just a few months ago. Having Pena jump the line just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me even if there’s beef there.

Trilogies or Beef?

In my opinion the two women I’m interested in Nunes fighting next at 135 is De Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko (20-3). Shevchenko and De Randamie both have something in common. They are unbeaten inside the UFC outside of their fights with Nunes.

Shevchenko is 0-2, but many (including myself) through that she actually won the second matchup with Nunes. The UFC’s flyweight champion is defending her title in April, and if she wins, we could see the trilogy.

However, out of the contenders at 135, nobody is more deserving than De Randamie. Yes, she’s lost to Nunes twice, but she’s beat everyone else at 135. She showed great improvement on the ground against Pena and she showed that she can strike with Nunes.

Ultimately, I believe the UFC will go down the path of Julianna Pena. Again, this is something I don’t agree with, but at the end of the day, the promotion does a lot of things that the media doesn’t agree with.

After getting back in the win column at UFC 259, what’s next for Dominick Cruz?

Dominick Cruz

It’s been a tough last decade for the former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3). Back in 2011, Cruz was on top of the world as the bantamweight champion. He ended that year by defending his title against Demetrious Johnson.

However, after that win, it would be almost three years before Cruz would compete again in the UFC. A series of knee injuries kept the former champion out of action. During that time, the promotion and the division moved on.

Cruz came back and looked incredible against Takeya Mizugaki in 2014. However, it would be another year and a half before Cruz was to fight again. Between October 2011 and January 2016, Dominick Cruz fought one time.

In January of 2016, Cruz completed his comeback by defeating TJ Dillashaw to become UFC bantamweight champion once again. He then defended the title successfully against Urijah Faber. Cruz would go on to lose the title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.

After that loss, Cruz would remain out of action for three and a half years. Cruz returned last May to fight Henry Cejudo for the title at UFC 249. Cruz was finished in the second round and contemplated retirement.

However, he decided to give fighting another chance. He returned Saturday to take on Casey Kenney (16-3-1) at UFC 259. While it wasn’t the most high profile fight, it was a dangerous one. Cruz looked great in his return and was able to pickup the decision victory.

What’s next after UFC 259?

This past Saturday saw Dominick Cruz win for the first time since June of 2016. It was a massive win for Cruz and now The Dominator appears focused on another run at the UFC bantamweight title.

With the win, you should expect to see Cruz against someone in the top ten next. There are two fights that I would love to see for Dominick Cruz. The first fight is against Frankie Edgar (24-9-1).

Edgar is coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen. However, if Edgar would’ve won that fight, he would’ve been next in line for a title shot. The matchup between the two legends would be a lot of fun and it makes sense according to the UFC rankings.

Another fun matchup would be Cruz against Jose Aldo (29-7). Aldo is currently ranked near the top of the division and he’s coming off of a win against Chito Vera. This matchup of former champions is one that fans wanted to see years ago when Aldo dominated 145 and Cruz dominated 135.

I could easily see the UFC putting these two legends together in a fight next. Really, either of those options makes sense for Dominick Cruz. While we don’t know exactly what’s next, we know that Dominick Cruz is back.

Henry Cejudo teases UFC comeback on ESPN

UFC, Henry Cejudo

Is the King of Cringe coming back to the UFC? Former Olympic Gold Medalist and two-division world champion, Henry Cejudo (16-2), is once again teasing a return to the octagon. This time, he teased the news on ESPN.

Cejudo appeared on ESPN’s SportsNation this morning where he talked about the bantamweight division. Of course, a lot of the conversation centered around UFC 259. The event’s bantamweight title match ended in controversy with Aljamain Sterling (20-3) becoming champion by disqualification.

Petr Yan (15-2) looked like he was well on his way to retaining his bantamweight title. However, with 30 seconds left in the fourth round, Yan launched a knee that hit Sterling flush. The problem was that Sterling’s knee was still on the ground so the strike was illegal.

Sterling was unable to continue and ultimately he walked away as the new UFC bantamweight champion. The promotion has come out and said that the rematch will happen as soon as possible. 

Cejudo acknowledged that he believes the UFC will do the rematch with Yan and Sterling next. However, Cejudo then said that he would like to line up both Yan and Sterling and beat them both. He signed off the interview by saying, “Triple C’s coming back, what’s up!”

UFC return for Henry Cejudo?

The last time we saw Henry Cejudo was back at UFC 249 when he finished Dominick Cruz in the second round. It was the first successful title defense of his bantamweight title. After the fight was over, Cejudo announced that he was walking away from the sport on top.

Cejudo has a case for the most decorated combat sports athlete in history. He’s a two-division UFC champion and he won an Olympic Gold Medal in freestyle wrestling. He’s also only 34 years old which means he has plenty of career left if he wants to come back.

From 2018 – 2020, it’s hard to put on a run like Henry Cejudo did. First, he defeated Demetrious Johnson to become the UFC’s flyweight champion. Then, he knocked out TJ Dillashaw in seconds when Dillashaw was trying to become a two-division champion.

From there, he stopped both Marlon Moraes to win and Dominick Cruz to defend the UFC bantamweight championship. It was truly something special and it was enough where Cejudo felt comfortable walking away.

However, Cejudo has constantly been teasing a return. The UFC’s bantamweight division is in a very interesting spot at the moment. Throwing back in Henry Cejudo could make things even more interesting. This will definitely be something to watch.

State of the bantamweight division after UFC 259

UFC 259 was supposed to provide some clarity in the bantamweight division. While Petr Yan (15-2) was the champion, many questioned how legit he was as the champion seeing as the two wins he had leading to the title came against Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo (29-7).

While both are great former champions, neither are considered to be the cream of the crop at 135 pounds. Aljamain Sterling (20-3) on the other hands was considered by everyone to be the number one contender.

Sterling had been on an incredible run and was expected to be the biggest challenge for Yan. Had Yan defeated Sterling, you couldn’t question the legitimacy of his title reign. Well, for almost four rounds at UFC 259, it looked like we were heading that direction.

Aljamain Sterling was putting up a good fight, but Petr Yan was in control on Saturday night. Sterling was fading badly and it looked like we were getting close to a potential Petr Yan stoppage win. However, that’s when chaos erupted.

With about 30 seconds left in the fourth round, Aljamain Sterling was grounded with one knee on the floor. Yan looked to his corner for instructions and someone said he was good to throw a knee. Yan launched a knee that hit Sterling flush in the temple.

That knee ultimately prevented Sterling from being able to continue. As a result, Yan was disqualified and Sterling won the title. While Sterling was on his way to losing, he gets a DQ win and walked out of UFC 259 the bantamweight champion.

State of the UFC’s bantamweight division

With all of this controversy, Dana White said that the UFC will immediately book the rematch between Sterling and Yan. While Sterling has the title, there’s virtually no one that views him as the champion with him winning in that fashion.

To me, it’s almost like the title is vacant. I don’t think either man should have the title at the moment, but my opinion doesn’t matter. Sterling will go into the rematch with Yan as the bantamweight champion.

With that rematch in the works, the UFC will now look to book Cory Sandhagen (14-2) against former champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw is eligible to fight now that he’s off suspension and Dana White said he would be in a title eliminator in his first fight back.

Considering the spots in the division, it appears that Dillashaw and Sandhagen are on a collision course. The next spot in the rankings belongs to Rob Font (18-4). In my opinion, I would love to see Font fight former UFC champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3) next.

However, Garbrandt has been chasing a fight with Jose Aldo next. If that happens, Font will need a new fight. Based on the rankings, the only fight that would make sense for Font is Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC).

Munhoz is in the top ten and he’s coming off of a very impressive win against Jimmie Rivera. Prior to that he lost a debatable decision to Frankie Edgar. Had that decision gone towards Munhoz, he’d be in the top five right now. The promotion will get these guys paired up and it should be an exciting 2021 at 135.