5 Fights to make after UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalev [Image via Twitter @btsportufc]
Magomed Ankalev [Image via Twitter @btsportufc]

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev was a whirlwind of chaos and violence with numerous knockout finishes and exciting displays of clinical technique. The only fight that didn't quite live up to expectations was the main event as Magomed Ankalaev picked up a slow paced deccesion win over Thiago Santos.

With so many impressive performances, as well as a number of exciting callouts, fans are already playing matchmaker for the victors of the event. In the below list, we look at five fights that need to be made following UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev.


#5. Alex 'Poaton' Pereira vs. Uriah 'Primetime' Hall

At UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev, former Glory kickboxer Alex Pereira took on Brazilian knockout artist Bruno Silva. Many believed this would be Pereira's toughest test to date, as Silva was riding a seven-fight winning streak with all seven victories coming by way of KO.

UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2
UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2

Whilst Pereira didn't pick up another signature stoppage, he never looked more in control. 'Poatan' rocked Silva numerous times and came incredibly close to finishing him.

In the post-fight interview with Paul Felder, Pereira called out Jared Cannonier. This is a somewhat bizarre opponent to challenge as it would appear that Cannonier is essentially guaranteed a title shot against Israel Adesanya later in the year.

Considering Periera's age and his history with the middleweight champion, it is likely that the UFC will attempt to push him up the ranks as quickly as possible. Should that be the case, then a fight with dynamic striker Uriah 'Primetime' Hall would be the perfect matchup.

Hall is ranked at No.9 and will likely keep the fight standing, allowing Pereira to show off his kickboxing acumen. Darren Till would also be a solid option as would Brad Tavares.

UFC Fight Night: Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva
UFC Fight Night: Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva

#4. Drew Dober vs. Bobby 'King' Green

Originally scheduled to fight Rick Glenn, Drew Dober had a short notice change of opponents as rising prospect Terrance McKinney stepped up to replace the injured Glenn.

UFC 259: Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober
UFC 259: Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober

Dober had to overcome early adversity from the explosive McKinney who came close to finishing the fight. However, after surviving McKinney's early barrage, Dober upped his own pressure, taking his opponent down and finishing the fight with heavy ground and pound.

Dober grabbed the mic and called out UFC and Strikeforce veteran Bobby Green. The fight makes perfect sense with both likely sitting just outside the top 15. Green is coming off a main event loss to Islam Makhachev, although he had previously defeated Nasrat Haqparast just two weeks prior.

UFC 271: Bobby Green vs. Nasrat Haqparast
UFC 271: Bobby Green vs. Nasrat Haqparast

#3. 'Super' Sodiq Yusuff vs. Bryce 'Thug Nasty' Mitchell

At UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev, the now No.11-ranked UFC featherweight Sodiq Yusuff took on Alex Caceres, aka 'Bruce Leeroy.' The bout ultimetly went the distance and was relatively competitive, although brutal leg kicks from Yusuff really took their toll on Caceres, resulting in a unanimous decision victory.

Yusuff then made an intelligent callout, challenging No.9-ranked 145lber Bryce Mitchell. 'Thug Nasty' is coming off a win over Edson Barboza and has stated that he is looking to get back in the octagon as soon as possible.

Mitchell's heavy wrestling style would certainly pose a large threat to Yusuff, but should 'Super' Sodiq overcome 'Thug Nasty,' he would likely be only one win away from breaking into the top five of the division.

UFC 272: Bryce Mitchell vs. Edson Barboza
UFC 272: Bryce Mitchell vs. Edson Barboza

#2. Song Yadong vs. 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley

The co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Santos ended in a dramatic fashion as Song Yadong flattened former title challenger Marlon Moraes with a brutal sequence of strikes.

UFC 239: Alejandro Perez vs. Song Yadong
UFC 239: Alejandro Perez vs. Song Yadong

Standing in front of Urijah Faber and the rest of his Team Alpha Male corner, Yadong issued a callout to Dominick Cruz. The rivalry between Cruz and Team Alpha Male stretches all the way back to the days of the WEC.

However, Cruz is currently lobbying for a fight with Jose Aldo and for the time being, it seems likely that Yadong will be too much of a step down for him. Instead, a logical fight for Yadong to take would be against 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley.

O'Malley recently entered the top 15 of the division and is looking for his first ranked opponent. O'Malley vs. Yadong would be a battle of the prospects, with the winner being placed in a perfect position to face a top-ranked bantamweight such as Cruz.

UFC 269: Raulian Paiva v Sean O'Malley
UFC 269: Raulian Paiva v Sean O'Malley

#1. Magomed Ankalaev vs. Aleksandar 'Rocket' Rakic

Whilst Magomed Ankalaev's win over Thiago Santos was not the most exciting fight, it still allowed the 18-1 light heavyweight to once again demonstrate his ability to comfortably hang with the best of the division.

Ankalaev has since called for a title shot, but he is still only ranked at No.4 in the 205lb division. Instead, a fight against top contender Aleksandar Rakic would make considerably more sense.

Rakic was scheduled to face former champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC Vegas 51, but Blachowicz has since been forced to pull out due to injury. This leaves Rakic in need of an opponent to secure his place as the next No.1 contender.

A title eliminator fight between Magomed Ankalaev and Aleksandar Rakic is the perfect fight as neither man has a universal following yet and are in need of a major victory over a fellow contender. A main card fight on a major UFC PPV card would be the perfect next step for both fighters.

UFC 259: Santos v Rakic
UFC 259: Santos v Rakic

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Edited by Allan Mathew
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