UFC 220 is in the books and talk will naturally begin around what could be next for the winners and losers of the night. I’ve broken down the potential futures of the nights losing fighters below.
Lets kick things off with a look at what might be next for the losers of the prelim fights and then move on to the losing fighters on the main card including Francis Ngannou and Volkan Oezdemir.
UFC 220 prelims
Veteran lightweight Gleison Tibau found himself on the receiving end of a heavy KO less than 1 minute into the first round of his bout with Islam Makhachev in the opening fight of UFC 220. Fellow veteran Joe Lauzon who is coming off a TKO loss to Clay Guida would pit two ageing warriors against one another with the loser potentially being faced with the possibility of retirement or being cut from the roster.
Experienced former Bellator competitor Matt Bessette lost his UFC debut via unanimous decision to Enrique Barzola in what was Barzola’s fifth UFC bout. A rematch with fellow DWCS contestant Kurt Holobaugh would give opportunity for redemption following his KO loss in July 2017. Holobaugh is still serving his 9 month suspension following failure to show IV use and will be available to return to action in April 2018.
UFC newcomer Dan Ige was on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Julio Arce. New Zealand native Shane Young also finds himself 0-1 in the UFC and a fight between the two featherweight prospects would give one of them the platform to start moving up in the UFC featherweight division while placing the loser in a difficult position as far as their UFC prospects go.
Coming off a unanimous decision loss to Dustin Ortiz, Pantoja picks up his first UFC defeat. Experienced Japanese flyweight Yuta Susaki would give Pantoja with a stiff challenge and with each fighter holding a significant number of submission finishes, it has all the makings of an intriguing ground battle.
After a stunning KO victory for Abdul Razak Alhassan, Sabah Homasi finds himself on a three fight losing streak and 0-3 in the UFC with the last two losses coming against the same opponent. Bobby Nash, who is also 0-3 in the UFC would be a high steaks bout with the loser likely to be cut from the organisation.
Following his unanimous decision loss to Kyle Bochniak, featherweight Brandon Davis finds himself with a record of 8-3 after his UFC debut. A match up with 27 year old Brazilian Sheymon Morares (9-2, 0-1 UFC) would pit two fighters looking to prove that they belong on the UFC roster against each other.
UFC 220 main card
Almeida will be disappointed to find himself carrying a two fight losing streak following a TKO loss to Rob Font at UFC 220. A match up against undefeated Welsh prospect Brett Johns would give Almeida with the chance to prove that he deserves his place in the UFC bantamweight rankings. For Johns, Almeida would be by far the biggest name he has faced in his 13 fight career and would be the opportunity for him to prove that he really is one to watch at 135 lbs.
With his split decision loss to experienced light heavyweight Gian Villante, Barroso drops to 19-7 with a UFC record of 4-4 and now finds himself on a 2 fight losing streak. A fight against another experienced veteran in Ed Herman (23-13, 10-9 UFC) who is also riding a 2 fight losing streak would give an intriguing contest. A finalist in TUF 3, has the experience, fire power and ground game to give a competitive match up for kickboxing specialist and BJJ black belt Barroso.
Burgos was handed the first defeat of his professional career by Calvin Kattar in an exciting fight against the Boston local. A fight against the former WEC lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez would give him an opportunity to bounce back into the win column. Melendez is currently riding a 4 fight losing streak and lost his featherweight debut at UFC 215 against always dangerous Jeremy Stephens. With Burgos looking to get back on track and Melendez potentially fighting to keep his career alive, this would make a particularly interesting battle.
In a UFC 220 co main event loss to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier which went the way many had predicted, it all appeared to be too much too soon for exciting knockout artist Oezdemir. There can be no doubting Oezdemir’s potential and at 28 years old, he has a bright future in the light heavyweight division. With Alexander Gustafsson appearing to want to wait for his shot at the title and having already defeated Jimi Manuwa and Ovince St.Preux, the next step for Oezdemir would seem to be durable Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira. A win against long time top 5 contender Teixeira would help confirm Oezdemir’s claim that it is only a matter of time until he gets his hands on the light heavyweight belt. For Teixeira, a win against Oezdemir would strengthen his case for being next in line for a shot at taking down Daniel Cormier, assuming he is able to defend the belt in his next outing.
Following his one sided loss to Stipe Miocic, Ngannou admitted that he underestimated his opponent but also said that he felt he had learned more in the 25 minutes he shared in the octagon with Miocic than in the last 4 years of competing. Ngannou will undoubtedly want to get right back in there to get back into the win column but should be cautious of rushing back without taking time to learn from this defeat. A match up with former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is a fight many were saying should have happened before Ngannou getting his title shot at UFC 22o and would provide Ngannou with the opportunity to prove that he belongs at the top end of the heavyweight division.
Werdum is riding a 2 fight win streak with wins against both Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura coming in the space of just 6 weeks in October & November 2017. Following losing his UFC heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic in 2016, Werdum’s only fight against a top 5 opponent ended in a controversial majority decision loss to perenial contender and Ngannou victim Alistair Overeem. A fight with Ngannou would offer Werdum the opportunity to prove that he still has something to offer in the heavyweight division and would certainly help him state his claim to another shot at the belt in the near future.