Earning wins in the UFC is certainly no easy task, but what comes next is often even more important: the post-fight callout.
So after Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 7 event in St. Petersburg, Russia, who took advantage of their time on the mic? See below for this week’s callout collection – and just how realistic each one is.
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First up, let’s take a look at the night’s prelim winners.
Wants to fight: Kevin Lee
The callout: “I’m aiming for a rematch with Kevin Lee. I broke my arm and continued the fight in the first round. I fought with a broken arm in the second round but couldn’t punch because my hand was swollen. If he doesn’t permanently move to another weight division, I will try to get the rematch.”
The reality: Magomed Mustafaev (14-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is an incredibly impressive 12-1 in his past 13 appearances. The only loss in that stretch? A 2016 contest with Lee (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC).
On Saturday, Mustafaev impressed, scoring a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for an 86-second stoppage of a previously undefeated Rafael Fizev. The only problem for Mustafaev is that the victory marked the first time he’d fought since the Lee result some 29 months earlier. Lee has fought five times since then, including a 2017 bid for an interim title. He’s also moving up to the welterweight division in his next appearance, a May clash with former UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos.
In short, Mustafaev’s request just isn’t realistic right now. But it’s clear to see a rematch is definitely in his plans. If he keeps scoring bonus-winning finishes, perhaps it could one day happen.
Wants to fight: Ion Cutelaba
The callout: “I want to fight Ion Cutelaba whenever he’s ready to go. I think that would be a very good fight in the light heavyweight division. Whenever he’s ready, I’ll be ready to fight him.”
The reality: Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has an absolutely unpronounceable last name. I’m sure even in Polish, it’s impossible to say. How do you combat that? Well, you make incredibly specific callouts so you can be known as “the guy who wants to fight Ion Cutelaba.”
Oleksiejczuk is 2-0 in the UFC with two first-round knockouts. He would be 3-0, but a positive test for the anti-estrogen agent clomiphene saw a 2017 win over Khalil Rountree overturned to a no contest. Meanwhile, Cutelaba (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) also has earned his past two victories by first-round knockout. He also ran afoul of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency when he received a six-month sanction for voluntarily disclosing his use of “ozone therapy,” which involves a blood transfusion.
Cutelaba is currently slated to face Glover Teixeira at next week’s UFC on ESPN 3 event, but it seems Oleksiejczuk is tipping his hand at who he predicts will prove victorious. If Cutelaba does win – especially if it’s in violent fashion – there might not be many people with their hands in the air looking for the assignment. Consider Oleksiejczuk your man.
Wants to fight: Someone in the top five
The callout: “It doesn’t really matter who they give me next, but I would like a top-five opponent. I just beat the ninth-ranked guy in the division. Come on, give me some tests here.”
The reality: Sure, Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing athlete in the UFC’s heavyweight division, but with his Saturday win over Marcin Tybura, he now stands at 4-1 in his past five outings, with the lone loss in that run coming to the ever-popular Derrick Lewis.
Abdurakhimov sits at No. 13 in the latest UFC heavyweight rankings, while Tybura entered the contest at No. 10, so Abdurakhimov was only slightly off on his claim. That said, No. 1 Stipe Miocic is likely to fight champion Daniel Cormier next. No. 2 Francis Ngannou and No. 3 Junior Dos Santos are scheduled to meet this summer.
That would only leave No. 4 Curtis Blaydes or a rematch with No. 5 Lewis for Abdurakhimov to get his wish, and neither seems all that likely. As such, Abdurakhimov may have to adjust his goals, unless he can find a way to ruffle some feathers in the meantime.
Wants to fight: As quickly as possible
The callout: “I don’t actually care who will be my next opponent. I just switched to another weight division in order to recover better and faster, so I’m asking UFC to give me my next fight as soon as possible.”
The reality: Movsar Evloev (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is a former M-1 Global bantamweight champion who moved up to featherweight for his UFC debut – and turned in a rather impressive performance in a decision win over fellow newcomer Seungwoo Choi. The post-fight stuff, Evloev didn’t handle with quite as much relentless aggression, but you have to respect the idea of moving up a weight class in the UFC just to get fights as quickly as possible. Make it happen, UFC.
Next up, let’s check out the main card.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Callout Collection: Who UFC on ESPN+ 7 winners want next – and how likely they'll get it