What’s Next for the Winners of UFC 256

UFC 256 brought the FIRE on Saturday night! Six of the ten scheduled bouts ended in a finish, five coming via KO/TKO and Chase Hooper starting the card with an improbable come-from-behind submission in the final frame. What’s next for the latest PPV winners?

 

Ciyrl Gane

Gane has been on a tear lately in the Heavyweight division. The 6’5″ Frenchman was able to knock out UFC legend, Junior dos Santos right around the halfway point of the second round. There was some “controversy” as dos Santos claimed the knockout blow was a shot to the back of the head. Most, if not all watching, agree that it was a legal shot, but that isn’t the point. Not only has “Bon Gamin” won eight straight, but he also has a win over Tanner Boser and Don’Tale Mayes. Gane is solid on the feet and on the ground, racking an appealing three KO/TKOs and three submissions.

Without a fight lined up yet, and both fighters coming off a TKO victory over JDS, I think a matchup with Jairzinho Rozenstruik may be in the works. I love the stylistic matchup, and with an expected bump in the rankings for Gane, this can be used to potentially clear up and set contenders for after the Miocic vs. Ngannou fight. One would assume Curtis Blaydes gets the next shot at the champion (whoever it might be, come March 2021), so this is a perfect opportunity to push two potential contenders into the spotlight.

Kevin Holland

Do I even need to say anything about Kevin Holland? I would assume not, he has probably already said it himself, but the expert smack talker was back at it again against the most dangerous opponent he has faced yet, Jacare Souza. With Holland on his back and Souza between his legs, the Trailblazer smirked tells Jacare “I’ve had dreams like this” the lands a crushing right hand from his back that almost shuts off the lights for Souza. Once followed up by a few more vicious shots, referee Mark Smith saved Ronaldo Souza from and more damage. The duration of the bout? One minute…Forty-five seconds. Holland has won FIVE fights in 2020 and arguably has two nominations for KO of the year.

So where does Holland go from here? Well, he already wants to fight NEXT WEEKEND against Khamzat Chimaev. Do I love it as a fan? Yes, I do, but not in terms of rankings. I would much rather see Holland continue his ascent in the middleweight rankings and really make a statement by fighting Chris Weidman. Weidman won his return fight to middleweight and claims to be back on track. He is slated to take on Uriah Hall sometime in February, but with his current ranking (10 as of this writing) it isn’t too far a leap for Holland, but certainly should propel him up the rankings if he could win, especially in that Trailblazer style.

Mackenzie Dern

The ADCC and no-gi BJJ World Champion did exactly what we all thought she would do, display her cleanest most crisp striking to date. In the battle of two grapplers, Dern struggled to get her opponent to the canvas (not a new development according to @NumbersMMA) but didn’t need to as she was consistently out landing Virna Jandiroba on the feet.

Dern’s next opponent is a tough call. She is currently just below Amanda Ribas, who beat Dern handily in Tampa last year, and Tecia Torres in the Strawweight rankings. Ribas and Marina Rodriguez are set to fight in January 2021, so Dern could matchup with the winner of that, but my expectation would be Michell Waterson takes the fight with Dern next.

Charles Oliveira

Look, I don’t know who Oliveira will face next, but it NEEDS to be for the title. He is on an eight-fight win-streak, seven of those wins have been finishes! And only because Tony Ferguson was saved by the bell, did Oliveira not finish him in the first round. “do Bronx” had Ferguson’s arm in a grotesque armbar in the final ticks of the first round, a first-round that was complete domination start to finish for Oliveira, but Tony refused to tap and was graciously spared by the round ending. Charles continued to dominate the fight, and although he earned one 10-8 round, an argument can be made that at least TWO rounds (heck I would go as far as say all three) should have been 10-8 rounds.

Social media seemed to be in shock at how Oliveira was able to control the fight any way he wanted, but in my opinion, Charles was easy money from the moment the fight was announced. Not that “Tony is washed up”, but rather that somehow Oliveira has flown so low under the radar, many didn’t know how dominant he was! Nobody knows what Dana White will do with the vacant Lightweight title, but Oliveira needs to be in that conversation starting right now.

Deiveson Figueiredo

This one is easy, and already seems to be settled, Figueiredo and Moreno will meet for a rematch as soon as possible. A legitimate frontrunner for the UFC’s fight of the year, these two left everything in the octagon and the champ retained his title by way of a majority draw. I like the idea of a rematch, and I loved Moreno’s spirit and heart, but I think the rematch will be too much for him. Figueiredo was coming off of a title defense fight (and weight cut) three weeks ago and had a one-point deduction for a low blow early in the fight. Remove that costly error (one that happens often in the sport, but is almost never hit with a point deduction on the first offense), and Deiveson cruises to a unanimous decision victory. As a fan, I would love to see this battle out in another five-round banger, but I don’t believe we will be so lucky.

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