UFC 256 went down this past weekend at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. In the main event, flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fought to a majority draw, resulting in the Brazilian successfully defending his title. In the co-main event, Charles Oliveira dominated former interim champion Tony Ferguson, to a unanimous decision victory.
Elsewhere in the main card, rising strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern earned a hard-fought decision victory against former Invicta FC champion Virna Jandiroba, Kevin Holland finished ‘Jacare’ Souza with a spectacular knockout in the first round, and Ciryl Gane earned the biggest win of his career against Junior dos Santos, via second round TKO.
With UFC 256 behind us, we take a look at what is next for the winners and losers.
Deiveson Figueiredo And Brandon Moreno
After the Figueiredo vs Moreno title fight couldn’t determine a clear winner and ended in a draw, a rematch is inevitable. On paper, ‘The Assassin Baby’ was a huge underdog, but he gave the champion a run for his money. The enthralling battle between the two is being regarded by many as Fight of the Year, which means we should only expect fireworks in the rematch.
Should Fight Next: The winner of Poirier vs McGregor
Oliveira’s dominant win over Ferguson has put him into title contention. He should face the winner of next month’s blockbuster rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier for the UFC lightweight title, if reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has well and truly said goodbye to the sport.
There are several other interesting matchups for ‘Do Bronx’ too in the lightweight top five, but he deserves to fight someone who is also coming off a win.
Should Fight Next: Paul Felder
With two defeats on the bounce, Ferguson will have to work harder than ever to get himself back in title contention. ‘El Cucuy’, who is currently ranked at number three at lightweight, will probably drop out of the top five when the UFC updates its rankings, which means he may have to fight guys ranked lower than him to climb his way back up.
Knowing Ferguson, he’ll never want an easy way out, even if he has lost twice in a row. Paul Felder is also coming off back-to-back losses, is of the same age, and also love challenges. This is the fight to make next.
Should Fight Next: Chris Weidman
After a highlight-reel knockout victory against veteran ‘Jacare’ Souza, the sky is the limit for Kevin Holland. Currently sitting at number 15 in the UFC middleweight rankings, Holland will definitely jump a few places up in the coming days, which means the competition will get tougher for him from here on out.
A fight with Chris Weidman makes the most sense for Holland, as he looks to climb further up the rankings. The former middleweight champion is fighting to rebuild his career currently and has only won two of his last seven fights. The 36 year old most recently beat Omari Akhmedov at UFC Vegas 6, and needs a few more wins to prove to everyone he has still got it.
Should Fight Next: Omari Akhmedov
With three consecutive defeats, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza’s future with the UFC remains uncertain, especially with president Dana White publicly announcing after UFC 256 that some “old and big names will be moving on”. But if the Brazilian isn’t among the 60 odd fighters released by the promotion by the end of the year, he should be matched up against Omari Akhmedov. Both are coming off losses, and a victory surely helps their cause.
Should Fight Next: Claudia Gadelha
Dern is known for her jiu-jitsu skills, but with her win against Jandiroba, she showcased improvements to her stand-up game. She also looked in the shape of her life. Her next fight should be against her fellow Brazilian Claudia Gadelha, who sits at number six in the strawweight rankings, but is walking the rocky path. She was undefeated prior to her first loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk six years ago. Since then, the former title challenger has been quite inconsistent with her performances, winning six and losing four of her last ten fights.
Should Fight Next: Angela Hill
Jandiroba gave rising star Dern a tough competition. But despite putting up a great fight, she ended up on the wrong side of a razor close unanimous decision. Her next fight should be against Angela Hill, who is ranked only one place above the Brazilian at number 12. ‘Overkill’ was scheduled to fight Tecia Torres at UFC 256, but had to pull out after testing positive for the coronavirus. She was replaced by promotional newcomer Sam Hughes, who ‘The Tiny Tornado’ beat convincingly.
Should Fight Next: The winner of Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov
With a massive win over the number seven ranked Junior dos Santos, Gane put himself in a strong position to be given a crack at a top five fighter next. A fight against the winner of Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov would make a lot of sense. The number five and six ranked heavyweights are set to lock horns on February 6th.
Junior Dos Santos
Should Fight Next: Andrei Arlovski
Much like ‘Jacare’, dos Santos also has a sword hanging over his head. Although he is ranked number seven at heavyweight, he has lost four on the bounce, all by way of TKO, and is in danger of being cut from the UFC. But if he manages to survive somehow, he should be more careful about who he fights next. The ideal fight for him is Andrei Arlovski, in a battle between the two former heavyweight champions.
Who do you think the winners and losers at UFC 256 should fight next?