What’s Next? Thoughts After UFC Vancouver
The Ultimate Fighting Championship made well on their promise to deliver big events to Canada when they set up shop in Vancouver this weekend, headlined by a clash of top-ranked lightweight gunslingers. Two excellent light-heavyweight fights in addition to an incredible welterweight upset made for a memorable night in the Great White North.
It was an excellent night for Contender Series alumni, with 4 fighters coming away with victories, notably, Hunter Azure’s unanimous decision win over Canada’s Brad Katona and Augusto Sakai’s knockout of Marcin Tybura. I’m very excited in the future for these two, as well as Miles Johns, who squeaked out a well-won decision over the Canadian Cole Smith.
While Canadian fighters went 2-5 last night when the UFC visited Vancouver, the night delivered a batch of excellent fights and performances that will stick with Canadian fans for years. Here are some thoughts on the winners and what we can possibly expect in the coming months.
The Highlight looked like his trademark self in his frost-round stoppage of Cowboy Cerrone in the main event this weekend. He landed a dozen or so strong leg kicks and a big shot up top to end it late in the first. The two are friends, and Gaethje was upset at what he took for a late stoppage. The two embraced after the fight, and we need more good energy like this in MMA. What’s next? The broadcast crews discussed a matchup with Conor McGregor, and as much as I love this fight, I don’t see Conor fighting again. As far as I, and Justin Gaethje, are concerned, McGregor is retired. Gaethje’s future depends on when, and if, brass books Khabib/Tony for hopefully the final time. He gets the winner of that fight.
I love watching Glover fight. At 39 years old he is still lurking around the waters at 205, picking off young up-and-comers who would make a name off of him. Krylov fell victim last night, and although he looked solid on the ground and on the feet, the veteran emerged victorious again. Glover has fought the best-of-the-best, and I still think there are big fights for him in the future. He called out Corey Anderson for a rematch, but given Anderson’s tendencies for turning down fights, I doubt he accepts a rematch after his date with Johnny Walker. Rebook the fight against Volkan Oezdemir for the co-main event in Brazil later this year.
Another example of a fighter getting back to roots, Misha Cirkunov survived a flurry of ground strikes from a talented Jimmy Crute to secure a beautiful Peruvian Necktie in the first round. I loved seeing Cirkunov get a win here, after an upsetting performance against Johnny Walker and Glover Teixeira not long before. He was very happy with himself after the fight, and he should be. It was a lovely submission. Shogun in Brazil?
Austin Hubbard v. Alex White
Louis Smolka v. Casey Kenny
Chas Skelly v. Mike Trizano
Hunter Azure v. Anderson dos Santos
Miles Johns v. Luke Sanders
Augusto Sakai v. Shamil Abdurakhimov
Uriah Hall v. Tavares/Heinisch winner
Tristan Connelly v. Roosevelt Roberts
Rebook Todd Duffee v. Jeff Hughes