The UFC’s first free fight night of 2020 wrapped up over the weekend with Curtis Blaydes and Michael Chiesa picking big wins in overcrowded divisions.
Trying to navigate though these divisions is going to be tough, but let’s break it down on this Matchmaker Monday following UFC Raleigh.
Curtis Blaydes, heavyweight
Result: Defeated Junior dos Santos via second-round TKO
Next: Alexander Volkov
Right now this division has a lot of question marks. When is Stipe Miocic going to return? If he’s going to be put awhile will there be an interim championship fight? Is Jon Jones going to move to heavyweight and rightfully jump over everyone in the division?
With all of those questions being up in the air, we do have some clarity. We know Francis Ngannou has already beaten Blaydes twice, so while Blaydes wants a title shot, he’s probably going to have to fight again as long as Ngannou stays in front of him.
So given that information I think Blaydes next opponent should be Alexander Volkov. Volkov is tough opponent and can cause problems for a lot of guys in the division, plus stylistically it appears ti be a fun match up.
Junior dos Santos, heavyweight
Result: Lost to Curtis Blaydes via second-round TKO in UFC Raleigh main event
Next: Alistair Overeem
I know that Fabricio Werdum is coming back, but again here’s another unknown within the heavyweight division. A Werdum and JDS rematch would be a fun fight, but again we don’t really know what the UFC’s plan is for Werdum.
So again let’s going to what we do know. Overeem and JDS is a rematch, both are coming off a loss, and they will both be next to each other in the rankings. Book it.
Michael Chiesa, welterweight
Result: Defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision
Next: Winner of Demian Maia vs. Gilbert Burns
Chiesa called for Colby Covington. Great call out, but not so fast. That fight is a possibility, however the welterweight division also has a lot of moving parts.
Kararu Usman doesn’t have a dance partner right now. Jorge Masvidal may fight Usman, but Conor McGregor hasn’t been ruled out for the BMF champ. Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards are going to fight in what is likely a title elimination fight.
The big factor in all of that is what happens with Masvidal and McGregor, because if they fight we might see Usman and Covington run it back, which would ruin Chiesa’s plans for a July meeting with Covington.
So yet again, lets go the facts that we do know. RDA’s days at welterweight appear to be fading fast, considering he lost four of his last five fights. Regardless, it’s still a huge win for Chiesa, who is unbeaten at welterweight. So with the top of the division unclear, Chiesa should fight the Maia and Burns winner while the top guys figure it out.