Looking into the crystal ball for top 5 winners and losers of UFC 248
- we look at what the future holds for some of the winners and losers of UFC 248
With UFC 248 in the books and the smoke dissipating, the next thing that remains to be seen is what happens to the winners and losers. There were some seminal moments for some of the fighters who stepped inside the Octagon in Las Vegas on Saturday.
32-year-old welterweight Neil Magny returned to the cage after a 16 month long lay-off desperately needing a win, especially coming off of a mediocre KO loss performance to Santiago Ponzinihbbio. After an incredible performance on the night, beating Li Jingliang, he called out a relatively new welterweight in Michael Chiesa. "Maverick" sits at number 7, a spot that for most of his career, Neil occupied. Styles makes fights, and this mesh of skills compliments each other. If not Michael, the next best option would be the rising up the ranks, Geoff Neal.
Li Jingliang got outworked, which is a rare occurrence. Let's see what Mickey Gall is made of by having those two face each other. Jose Quinones was another fighter who talked the talk and failed to walk the walk. The 29 year old is now 8-4. His best shot; and possibly his only one at starting a winning streak would be Matthew Lopez.
Gerald Meerschaert has blown hot and cold in the UFC. His record now stands at 6-4 in the organization. Not that he was in danger of being released, but he was in need of a solid performance over a young hot wrestler and Emil Meek fits the bill. He's a well rounded fighter just outside the rankings that can test Meerschaert. If Gerald gets through him; perhaps a ranked fighter awaits him next.
Sean O'Malley continues the list of fighters that really needed a win. Finally making his return after dealing with USADA, the MMA Lab fighter looked bigger, badder, better, and didn't miss a beat. The bantamweights all seem to have dance partners at the moment, but looking at his skills; Khabib's younger cousin, Said Nurmagomedov would be a fight of mirror images. Given the fact that "Sugar" didn't take damage it could be a fast turnaround for him. Ideally that would be the Brooklyn April 18th card where Khabib and Tony will throw down with the UFC lightweight title hanging in balance. But in fairness that might be a little too much to ask since we are only one month away from the April pay-per-view.
Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk both won't be seen around the UFC for a while. Joanna probably until the big December card, and Weili, as Dana said, "we may need to bring her next to MSG"; which means November. Depending on what happens in Brooklyn next month, The winner of Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade could get a crack at becoming two-time strawweight champions, but Zhang's win over Joanna continued the streak of former champs never winning the title back. However, if this doesn't deter the winner of Rose-Andrade clash, it'd be a fun fight to watch.
Joanna won't be back till the end of the year. At least that's when she should return; if not even later than that. Squaring up with the loser of Rose-Andrade makes a lot of sense. Both provide great story lines. Either a trilogy vs Rose; which she's been calling for, or a rematch against Jessica.
Israel Adesanya already has his next fight locked in. Provided nothing unusual happens, Paulo Costa will get his opportunity. He'll look to bang with Izzy, but doesn't have the gas tank to hang in there for five rounds with the reigning champion.
Adesanya's opponent on the night, Yoel Romero hasn't won since KO'ing Luke Rockhold, and Dana White also mentioned in the post-fight press conference that this was the Cuban fighter's last crack at the title. The future doesn't seem too bright for Romero right now.
However, two names do pop-up when it comes to matchmaking for Romero - Omari Akhmedo and Brad Tavares. Brad's lost 2 in a row and will throw hands which is what Yoel wants in an opponent while it will be interesting to see how Romero fares against an experienced freestyle wrestler like Akhmedo .
Daniel Cormier's teammate Deron Winn's performance was disappointing. A solid fight for the AKA wrestling standout would be JacksonWink pupil Devin Clark. Not only a solid fight, but a rivalry fight for bragging rights between the two gyms.Published 08 Mar 2020, 18:16 IST