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Matchmaker Monday – what’s next after UFC 277?

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The UFC returned to Texas once again over the weekend, bringing with it a host of finishes and massive wins. Now, with the dust settled in Dallas, it’s time to look ahead to see what’s next for the winners and losers of UFC 277’s main card.

DISCLAIMER: this is purely opinion based, feel free to disgaree!

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(c) Amanda Nunes (22-5) – bantamweight and featherweight champion

Reclaiming her title with an emphatic win and making history in the process, Amanda Nunes left American Airlines Center as the first two-time double champion in history. Her dominant five round display of revenge left fans impressed and solidified Nunes’ GOAT status in women’s MMA. Like we’ve seen before, there are few available challenges for Nunes at present. A third fight with Valentina Shevchenko will always loom, so why not put it together while both champions lack viable contenders? ‘The Lioness’ vs ‘Bullet’ simply makes sense.

(#1) Julianna Pena (12-5) – former bantamweight champion

Her reign as champion may have been short-lived, but Julianna Pena has made quite the impression on MMA fans in recent times. The durability and heart of ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ has won her many new supporters, even if it wasn’t enough to repeat her UFC 269 performance against Nunes. A trilogy fight isn’t completely out of the question, but it isn’t something we need right now. Once she has healed from the injuries she sustained, a title eliminator against Ketlen Vieira would make lots of sense for the division.

(ic) Brandon Moreno (20-6-2) – interim flyweight champion

Mexico’s first ever champion has gold around his waist once again! A tough-fought rematch with Kai Kara-France ended with a stoppage win in round three, which earned Brandon Moreno the interim flyweight title. The only logical matchup for Moreno is a quadrilogy bout with champion Deiveson Figueiredo, in the hopes of both settling the score and unifying the title. The pair have already agreed to a December showdown in Brazil, and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited!

(#2) Kai Kara-France (24-10, 1 NC) – flyweight contender

The first title opportunity for New Zealand’s Kai Kara-France ultimately didn’t go his way, but to say it was a poor showing was a lie. The Kiwi made a strong account of himself over the course of the bout and proved that he deserves to be amongst the elite. Championship hopes for Kara-France are out the question for the time being, but that would be easily remidied with a big win. Run back the 2020 classic between he and Brandon Royval. Chaos will erupt, I can assure you.

(#11) Sergei Pavlovich (16-1) – heavyweight contender

It’s a rare occasion that someone can explode into the elite of a division in just four wins, like Sergei Pavlovich has. His first round stoppage of Derrick Lewis has catapulted the Russian to the top of the heavyweight division, and another appearance before the end of the year seems likely. Should both be available in late 2022, I think a returning Tom Aspinall would serve as the ideal test for Pavlovich. Whoever walks away with the win in that fight would be lined up for a title eliminator.

(#5) Derrick Lewis (26-10, 1 NC) – former title challenger

The hard times, unfortunately, continued for Derrick Lewis at UFC 277. The stoppage loss to Pavlovich may have been shrouded in controversy, but it still leaves the Texan with three losses in his last four fights. Fighting down in the ranks is a logical move for Lewis. The winner of the upcoming bout between Augusto Sakai and Sergey Spivak could present a tough matchup for ‘The Black Beast’.

(#3) Alexandre Pantoja (25-5) – flyweight contender

The statement that Alexandre Pantoja has been looking to make has finally been made. A quick submission victory notched the tenth first-round finish of the Brazilian’s career onto his record. It’s clear that the flyweight title is in Pantoja’s future, but with the title picture set with Figueiredo vs Moreno 4, the best option is to wait for whoever the undisputed champion is. There’s no point in ‘The Cannibal’ risking his ranking again.

(#6) Alex Perez (24-7) – former title challenger

UFC 277 didn’t end up being the triumphant return to action that Alex Perez had envisioned. Despite the loss, Perez will remain a staple of the flyweight elite and could bounce back in a big way with a win in his next fight. He was scheduled to fight Askar Askarov on multiple occasions, and that fight still makes sense. If they can both make the date, throw it on the stacked UFC 280 card in October.

(#4) Magomed Ankalaev (18-1) – light-heavyweight contender

Any lingering doubts about Magomed Ankalaev’s status as a top contender at 205lbs were swiftly put to bed over the weekend. In case you’ve lost track, that’s now nine in a row for the Russian. He’s campaigning for a title shot, but in all likelihood, he’s still one win away. If the supposed Prochazka/Teixeira rematch goes ahead, a title eliminator with former champ Jan Blachowicz makes all the sense in the world.

(#6) Anthony Smith (36-17) – former title challenger

Given the nature of the injury sustained, this is definitely a disappointing loss for Anthony Smith. He will still be a name in the discussion of top light-heavyweights, but a fight downward in the rankings is likely on the card. Once he’s fully healed and ready for a return, a fight with Nikita Kyrlov could be a barnburner. Both men are highly skilled and are veterans looking to climb the ladder.

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How would you matchmake these fighters? Let us know in the comments!

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Magomed Umalatov & Denis Golstov OUT, Dilano Taylor & Juan Adams IN | PFL 8

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Magomed Umalatov & Denis Golstov have unfortunately been ruled out of their PFL semi-final playoff this weekend against Rory MacDonald & Matheus Scheffel as they were unable to secure a visa to enter the United Kingdom. The news was announced by PFL just moments ago.

Magomed Umalatov will now be replaced by welterweight alternate Dilano Taylor, whilst Golstov will now be replaced by former UFC heavyweight Juan Adams.

PFL 8 will take place at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena this Saturday, August 13th. You can find the updated fight card for the event below.

PFL 8 Full Card

Post Main Card European Qualifiers:

Will Fleury vs Anthony Salamone

Nathan Kelly vs Ben Ellis

Vojto Barborík vs Maxim Radu

Francesco Nuzzi vs Moktar Benkaci

Main card

Dilano Taylor vs Magomed Umalatov

Ante Delija vs Renan Ferreira

Juan Adams vs Matheus Scheffel

Sadibou Sy vs Carlos Leal

Preliminary Card

Josh O’Connor vs Emran Sakhizaada

Mohammad Fakhreddine vs Marcin Wójcik

Chris Mixan vs Christian Stigenberg

Szymon Bajor vs Hatef Moeil

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PFL Offers To Host Kayla Harrison vs Cris Cyborg

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After both women were featured on yesterday’s episode of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Kayla Harrison and Cris Cyborg now have a serious offer on the table for their super fight. The founder and co-owner of the PFL Donn Davis tweeted saying that the PFL will host the fight and “handle all matters”. Offering up $1 million for each fighter’s purse and a $2 million winners bonus, the fight now has some serious money behind it.

Whilst on the MMA Hour, both women had something to say about the fight, Kayla Harrison actually called into the show when it was about to end to tell her side of the story. She said that the last she heard from the PFL was that Cyborg was a free agent and they had reached out. Harrison also said that she would be happy to negotiate on behalf of Cyborg to get her whatever she wants, whether the fight is winner takes all or not, whether Harrison has to go through a full USADA drug testing program etc. Her only request was that they allow elbows so she can “put one through her skull”.

Cyborg, on the other hand, said that if the PFL wants to make the fight happen, they should contact Scott Coker and Bellator to make the fight a co-promotion. Despite now being a free agent, Cyborg referred to the fact that she loves working with them and considers Coker to be family and would want them to be involved. Whilst co-promotion isn’t out of the question as it’s something Bellator have done before, it does make the deal more complicated.

Also on the MMA Hour, Cyborg announced that she will be making her professional debut in boxing on September 25th. She will face Simone Silva in Curitiba, Brazil and signed her contract live on air. Harrison’s next outing in the PFL comes in less than two weeks when she faces Martina Jindrová on the 20th August at PFL 9 in London as one half of the semi-finals.

Is this a super-fight you’d like to see made in the near future? Let us know your thoughts on the situation in the comments.

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Jesse Arnett vs Ali AlQaisi 2 | The Biggest Rematch in UAE Warriors History is Official!

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The biggest rematch in UAE Warriors history is confirmed as Jesse Arnett (20-8) is set to defend his UAE Warriors featherweight title against rival Ali AlQaisi (12-6) in the main event of ‘UAE Warriors 33’ on Saturday, September 17 live from the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Arnett won the title from AlQaisi in an exciting and heated affair at ‘UAE Warriors 30’ this past July ending ‘The Royal Fighter’s’ triple championship reign. The bout was ended via doctor stoppage due to a cut sustained by AlQaisi in the second round. Emotions ran high and tempers flared in the aftermath, however officials quickly handled the situation and both fighters immediately agreed to a rematch.

Will Arnett retain and establish himself as the UAE Warriors featherweight champion or can AlQaisi regain his status as triple champion!? The score will officially be settled on September 17, live around the world on UFC Fight Pass.

If that wasn’t enough excitement, we will see the anticipated return of the Africa series as ‘UAE Warriors 32: Africa’ takes place the night prior on Friday, September 16.

History will be made as Kevin Oumar (8-3) and Emilio Quissua (3-0) compete become the first ever UAE Warriors Africa light heavyweight champion.

Hailing from Comoros, Oumar is based out of France where has become both a sanda and kickboxing champion. The 29-year-old is on a five-fight win-streak which includes an impressive submission win over the previously undefeated Mohamed Amine in his last fight in UAE Warriors this past March.

Oumar will once again need to be on top of his game as he faces Angola’s Emilio Quissua. A former kickboxer himself, Quissua trains out of the renowned Planet Eater gym in Germany and has won all three of his professional MMA bouts since making his debut just over a year ago.

Stay tuned for more fight announcements.

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