Matches to make for Thompson, other UFC Vegas 17 winners

Here are the opponents we think should be next for the winners at UFC Vegas 17.

With UFC Vegas 17 and this year’s schedule finally wrapped up, UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard have some work to do come 2021.

2020 was a wild year that saw massive upsets, retirements, new champions and much more. This Saturday’s card saw Stephen Thompson remind everyone why he’s still at the top despite being 37 years old, a new contender emerge in Rob Font, and an unlikely heavyweight go 4-0.

Potential next opponents for the UFC Vegas 17 main card winners

Stephen Thompson

Next Opponent: Loser of Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns

Stephen Thompson put on a clinic of how to hit and not get hit on Saturday night, defeating Geoff Neal with a clean 50-45 sweep on all three judges’ scorecards.

Although Thompson called for a rematch with Jorge Masvidal in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, it doesn’t seem likely to happen. It would appear Masvidal and Colby Covington are on a collision course and will meet sometime next year. Besides, Wonderboy already beat Masvidal pretty handily when they fought in 2017. Now ranked No. 5 and riding a two-fight winning streak, Thompson definitely deserves someone ranked above him, problem is, its a bit of a logjam up there. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will most likely defend his title against Gilbert Burns in the first half of 2021, and the loser of that fight seems like a worthy opponent for Thompson given his ranking and success in recent outings.

Jose Aldo

Next Opponent: TJ Dillashaw

Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo proved he’s not done yet following a decision win over Marlon Vera in the co-main event. Aldo threw in some body work, leg kicks and even some Jiu-Jitsu en-route to his first win since early 2019. Despite a losing bid for the bantamweight title back in July, Aldo is still ranked on the top 10 at 135 lb and should receive a big name next. Following his victory, Aldo called out former two-time bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw is eligible to return to action in January 2021 once his USADA suspension is up, and a fight between the two sells itself. A win for either fighter puts them back into the mix for title contention, and Dillashaw needs someone with name value for his return fight. A+ callout by Aldo and hopefully the fight gets booked for the first half of 2021.

Michel Pereira

Next Opponent: Tim Means

Michel Pereira was able to edge out a unanimous decision victory over fellow welterweight Khaos Williams (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). While not the usual high-energy, dancing Pereira fans are used to seeing, he was still able to get the job done and set a frenetic pace at times. Perhaps Pereira is finally keen on settling down in the Octagon and saving his energy to avoid gassing out in the later rounds. Pereira went 2-1 this year with wins over Zelim Imadaev and now Williams, and should be matched up with a notable name for his 2021 opener. While Pereira did call out Anthony Pettis in his interview, Pettis has plans to move back down to 155 lb, and for all we know may not even be in the UFC next year. With that being said, an interesting next opponent for Pereira would be Tim Means. Means is coming off a decision victory over Mike Perry and looked solid in doing so. Both fighters like to stand and bang, so what’s not to like?

Rob Font

Next Opponent: Cody Garbrandt

Rob Font just continues to get better and better each time he steps into the Octagon. Font obliterated former title contender Marlon Moraes via first-round TKO at UFC Vegas 17 following a yearlong layoff. At 33 years old with a win over the No. 3 ranked bantamweight in the UFC, it seems Font is in his prime and his time is now.

Like other weight classes, the top of the bantamweight division is a logjam, with most of the fighters, including the champion, all booked for bouts in 2021. Yan is going to fight Sterling, Garbrandt is most likely moving down to flyweight, and Edgar is facing Sandhagen in February. With Font likely moving into the top-5, he might have to wait a bit for his next fight. However, there is the option of Garbrandt staying at 135 lbs for his next fight considering the outcome of last weekend’s flyweight title bout. Figueiredo and Moreno will most likely rematch, and with Garbrandt not fighting since July, I’m not sure he wants to remain inactive for a over year at the very least. If Garbrandt is looking to fight, Font’s his guy. Both men are incredible strikers and it would make for an exciting standup war.

Marcin Tybura

Next Opponent: Walt Harris

Marcin Tybura put the Greg Hardy train to a screeching halt when he finished him with ground and pound in the second round to open up the main card. Tybura was able to lean on his grappling in order to finish Hardy, someone not exactly known for their abilities on the mat.

Tybura has seriously flown under the radar this year, despite the fact he is now 4-0 in 2020 with wins over guys like Sergey Spivak and Ben Rothwell. “Tybur” deserves a chance to get back into the top-15, and a fight with No. 12 Walt Harris makes a sense at this time. Harris went 0-2 this year with both losses coming via stoppage due to strikes. This matchup serves as both a step up for Tybura as well as chance for Harris to get back into the winning column.

UFC Vegas 17 took place on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, live from UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided, who was on-site, for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Mon, 21 Dec 2020 02:28:07 +0000

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