It’s time to turn the page from another memorable UFC pay-per-view event. UFC 271, at Toyota Center in Houston, delivered a handful of spectacular performances. Where do the main-card winners go from here?
What’s next for UFC 271 winners?
Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier: Fight each other
Things certainly lined up nicely in the middleweight division on Saturday night. In the main event, champion Israel Adesanya (22-1) dug down deep to win the rematch against the man from whom he won the title, Robert Whittaker (23-6), earning a unanimous decision in a tightly contested affair for his fourth successful title defense. About the only name near the top of the rankings at 185 pounds he’s yet to defeat is Jared Cannonier (15-5), who made a huge statement in a de facto No. 1 contender’s fight with a knockout of veteran Derek Brunson (23-8).
Cannonier was nearly finished in the first round but showed great poise and awareness by waiting out the round’s final seconds while Brunson held him in a choke. He rallied from there and showed a finisher’s touch with ruthless elbows to do the job in round two. That’s five wins in six for Cannonier, whose only loss in that stretch is to Whittaker. He’s next in line for a tle shot.
Tai Tuivasa: Winner of Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Marcin Tybura
Affable Aussie Tai Tuivasa (15-3) electrified the Houston crowd with his second-round knockout of the UFC’s KO king, Derrick Lewis (26-9) this past weekend. It was his fifth straight knockout inside of two rounds, and he effectively took the baton from Lewis as the UFC’s most fun heavyweight to watch. Is Tuivasa content to stay at that level, or he is serious about becoming a title contender?
This is where things get dicey because there’s still a significant skills gap between Tuivasa and the big dogs like champion Francis Ngannou and former champ Stipe Miocic. There’s a UFC 273 fight between two fellow heavy hitters ranked ahead of Tuivasa in Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Marcin Tybura on the horizon, so if Tuivasa is willing to cool his jets a little bit, the winner of this one might be the answer.
Bobby Green, Renato Moicano: Fight each other
Some nights are matchmaker’s nightmares, others make their jobs easy. UFC 271 was the latter.
Bobby Green (29-12) is one of the most unique competitors on the roster, and the cagey vet employed his trademark awkward style to defeat Nasrat Haqparast (13-5) via unanimous decision. Renato Moicano (16-4), meanwhile, submitted Alexander Hernandez (13-5) in the second round of their bout, giving him two straight and three of four since he moved up to lightweight from featherweight.
Considering that big names in the division know what Green is all about and don’t want any part of a guy who is hard to shine against, and considering Moicano needs an opponent with Green’s name recognition, a fight between the could give the winner a whole lot of momentum.
However, with Green landing a main event fill-in spot against Islam Makhachev at the end of the month, a win likely moves him to high in the pecking order for Moicano.
–Field Level Media