Matches to make for Ciryl Gane, Magomed Ankalaev, other UFC Vegas 20 winners
Here are the opponents we think should be next for the winners at UFC Vegas 20.
Although it wasn’t the hard-hitting main event fans had envisioned for UFC Vegas 20, it was enough for Ciryl Gane to extend his undefeated record to 8-0. All three judges scored the contest 50-45 for the Frenchman after controlling all five rounds against No. 4 Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The co-main event saw light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev secure his first victory over a top-10 opponent while stretching his winning streak in the promotion to six.
Now that the event is over and the bonuses have been handed out, let’s take a look at what’s next for the winners from Saturday’s main card.
Potential next opponents for the UFC Vegas 20 main card winners
Next Opponent: Derrick Lewis
Gane was able to outpoint a powerful striker in Rozenstruik and cruised to a unanimous decision win, further cementing his status as a future title challenger. Gane did work on the feet as well as the mat, taking down “Bigi Boy” twice en route to the victory. The fight was certainly a lackluster affair, but Gane did what he needed to do to secure the victory and move into the top-5 of the UFC’s heavyweight division. As for what’s next for the undefeated striker, a fight with No. 2 Derrick Lewis seems like a no-brainer. Lewis defeated Curtis Blaydes via KO last weekend, and with Jon Jones likely facing the winner of Miocic vs. Ngannou II, both men will need to fight at least once more before any talk of a title shot is brought up. Gane is clearly the more technical fighter, but as we saw last weekend, one punch from Lewis is all it takes to end someone’s night early. This fight keeps both men active and will be yet another test for Gane to see if he belongs in that upper echelon at 265 lb.
Next Opponent: Volkan Oezdemir
With the win over Nikita Krylov, Ankalaev extended his winning streak in the division to six, which is now the record among active UFC light heavyweights. Ankalaev was able to land at times on the feet, but did most of his best work on the canvas where he could grind and wear out Krylov. If you forget about the last-second submission loss to Paul Craig in his UFC debut, Ankalaev has looked like a real contender and has rattled off wins over some tough fighter in the division.
With many of the top-15 light heavyweights scheduled to face one another in the next few months, one of the only competitors without a fight booked is No. 7 Volkan Oezdemir. Oezdemir is coming off a loss to Aleksandar Rakic back in July, but the Swiss power-puncher is still a former title challenger and has compiled a 5-4 record in the UFC thus far against some of the best in the business. The fight can benefit both men as Oezdemir is in need of a win to get back on track, while Ankalaev looks to beat a higher-ranked opponent so he can continue to climb the ladder at 205 lb.
Montana De La Rosa & Mayra Bueno Silva
Next Opponent: Rematch
De La Rosa and Silva fought to a majority draw after three hard-fought rounds, with two judges scoring the contest 28-28, while the third scored it 28-27 in favor of Silva. Referee Jerin Valel deducted one point from Silva in the first round for a blatant fence grab that prevented De La Rosa from securing a takedown against the cage. Silva did not contest the point deduction whatsoever, and the fight remained competitive for the remaining two rounds. This was a very exciting, back-and-forth contest, and it should be ran back. There was no clear winner and with neither woman sitting in the top-15 of the rankings, the fight wouldn’t hold up anyone else’s progress in the division.
Next Opponent: Marlon Moraes
Bantamweight Pedro Munhoz defeated Jimmie Rivera in a rematch almost six years in the making to break a two-fight losing streak. Munhoz’s power punches and calf kicks stifled anything Rivera wanted to do offensively, and when Rivera did throw Munhoz wasn’t there to be hit. The victory marked nine bantamweight wins for the Brazilian since 2014, only one behind current leader Aljamain Sterling. Although Munhoz called for a bout with the former champ TJ Dillashaw, the UFC will likely give Dillashaw an opponent ranked higher than eighth upon his return. But after his fight of the night performance, Munhoz should be fighting up the ladder his next time out. Munhoz vs. No. 6 Marlon Moraes makes sense seeing as they’re close in the rankings and both hold recent wins over Jimmie Rivera.
Next Opponent: Andre Fili
UFC veteran Alex Caceres defeated Kevin Croom via unanimous decision to open up the main card at UFC Vegas 20. Although he set a rather grueling pace, it seemed that Croom had gassed himself out trying to secure takedown after takedown, doing little to no damage even when he was finally on top of Caceres. Caceres leaned on his striking and experience to nullify Croom’s attacks and hurt him multiple times on the feet since Croom would just walk right into strikes. The victory pushed Caceres’ winning streak to four, a streak he’s been on ever since his submission loss to Kron Gracie in 2019. Caceres deserves a notable name next, and a guy like Andre Fili would be an interesting matchup. Fili is 2-2 in his last four outings, most recently suffering a loss to Bryce Mitchell at UFC Vegas 12. Caceres vs. Fili would be a fun standup battle between two guys who like to strike and mix it up on the feet. The two have 20+ combined fights at featherweight in the UFC, and it might finally be time they run into each other.
UFC Vegas 20 took place on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.
Published at Sun, 28 Feb 2021 18:24:07 +0000