UFC Fight Night 170: What's next for the fighters?
- UFC Fight Night 170 is in the books, but what's next for the big-name fighters on the card?
UFC Fight Night 170, which took place last night in Brasilia, was perhaps the weirdest show in promotional history. The UFC took the decision to make the show a behind-closed-doors one due to the threat of Covid-19, and while that was clearly the right call to make, it made for an eerie atmosphere throughout the night.
Despite this, the fights on offer largely delivered some decent action, despite the 9 straight decisions that we got to start off the night. With the likes of Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Burns and Renato Moicano all picking up big wins, here’s a look at what could be next for them.
After last night’s submission of Kevin Lee, it’s hard to dispute Charles Oliveira’s position as a title contender at 155lbs. ‘Do Bronx’ had won his last 6 fights coming into last night’s show, but hadn’t beaten a properly ranked opponent. Now though – with this finish of Lee – that’s all changed.
So who should the Brazilian face next? Given that he appears to be in his fighting prime – looking more muscular than before and displaying massively improved striking – I’d say there are two potential fights for him. One would be with Justin Gaethje – but assuming ‘The Highlight’ will face Conor McGregor next, I’d prefer to see Oliveira matched with the winner of the upcoming Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker fight.
Either opponent would provide ‘Do Bronx’ with a very tricky fight given their striking power and range, but equally, the Brazilian’s dangerous submission game would also prove to be a dangerous test for either of them too. It’d be a great fight to headline an ESPN Fight Night card with, and the UFC could look to book it later in 2020.
After his November KO of Gregor Gillespie, it looked like Kevin Lee was back on track following two losses in a row, but now it seems he’s back to square one. He didn’t fight badly last night per say, but he was clearly beaten by Oliveira, who got the better of him on the ground and on the feet. And worse for ‘The Motown Phenom’, he missed weight too.
Should Lee move back up to 170lbs? Possibly, but it’s worrying that he gassed out in his lone fight there and was beaten by a smaller Welterweight in Rafael Dos Anjos, and he really doesn’t match well with the likes of Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington or Tyron Woodley. So for me, he simply needs to keep his weight in check and stay at 155lbs for now.
In terms of a next opponent for him? Paul Felder would be perfect, but if we assume he’s genuinely retired, then I’d like to see him up against the winner of the Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Hernandez clash. Sure, it’d go against the UFC’s policy of matching losers with losers and winners with winners, but it’d also provide Makhachev or Hernandez with an interesting step up, and it’d be fun to see either man pit his grappling chops against Lee.
Outside of Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Burns was clearly last night’s big winner. He became only the second man to KO Demian Maia, picking up his 5th win in a row in the process, and by finishing a fighter that Usman, Covington and Woodley failed to take out, he’s got to be considered amongst the best in the world at 170lbs.
With that in mind, I’d love to see him take on Michael Chiesa next. ‘The Maverick’ defeated Rafael Dos Anjos in his last fight to move into the upper echelon at Welterweight, and a fight with Burns would be fascinating; could Chiesa implement his grappling on a BJJ artist as credentialed as ‘Durinho’? And could the smaller Burns keep Chiesa at bay with his striking? Either way, the winner could well lay claim to a title shot in the near future.
Renato Moicano’s debut at 155lbs was a successful one, but his fight with Damir Hadzovic always favoured him and so the only surprise was that he finished the Bosnian so quickly. But does it make the Brazilian a contender at Lightweight? Right now, that’s a no. But Moicano has definitely proven he can hang at this weight, and so it’s time for a step up.
With that in mind, why not match him with another of last night’s winners in Francisco Trinaldo? The 41-year old ‘Massaranduba’ has been floating around the edge of the top 15 at Lightweight for years now, but he’s certainly not unbeatable. However, his mix of powerful striking and crushing grappling would provide an interesting test for a former 145lber like Moicano.
Could Moicano use his slick skills to outwork Trinaldo? Or would the veteran use his size and strength to take out the former Featherweight contender? It’d definitely be a fight worth seeing.
Nikita Krylov’s win over Johnny Walker wasn’t all that entertaining, but it was definitely important in terms of keeping ‘The Miner’ afloat at 205lbs following his loss to Glover Teixeira last year. Is Krylov a true contender at Light-Heavyweight? Not quite, but due to the thin nature of the division he’s probably not too far away from it.
Again, I’d go against the UFC’s usual matchmaking policy here and put him against Corey Anderson next. ‘Overtime’ was recently KO’d by Jan Blachowicz, but prior to that he’d been on a nice 4-fight winning streak and also has a win over Teixeira. If Krylov could get past the former TUF winner, he’d definitely be in contention – and with Anderson’s durability issues, it wouldn’t be an impossible fight for him to win, either.Published 16 Mar 2020, 02:04 IST