Dustin Poirier got another main-event win on Saturday when he emerged on top against Justin Gaethje at UFC on FOX 29, which took place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., with a main card on FOX.
Poirier (23-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) produced yet another stoppage win for his highlight reel when he stopped former WSOF champ Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the matchup of lightweight contenders.
“The Diamond” wasn’t the only one to get a big win in Arizona, though. Alex Oliveira (18-5-1 MMA, 8-3 UFC), Israel Adesanya (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Michelle Waterson (15-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) all earned key wins for their individual careers.
After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC on FOX 29’s winning fighters.
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Should fight: Felice Herrig
Why they should fight: It came by the skin of her teeth, but Waterson avoided a dreaded three-fight losing skid when she narrowly edged Cortney Casey by split decision in the main-card opener.
After starting her UFC career strong, Waterson hit a roadblock and lost consecutive fights against Tecia Torres and now-champ Rose Namajunas. There’s no shame in falling short against those fighters, and “The Karate Hottie” displayed fortitude by bouncing back.
What Waterson’s future holds remains to be seen. She’s undersized for the strawweight division, and that’s going to have to be an obstacle to overcome against almost everyone. She showed tactics to get around that against Casey, but Herrig (14-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is one of the most physically imposing athletes in the division, and her style is bound to give Waterson troubles.
Although the fight seemed more clear-cut than the judge who scored it in Vettori’s favor, the final verdict was ultimately right, and Adesanya remains unbeaten. He said post-fight that he wants to return to the octagon as soon as possible after what he considered an underwhelming performance.
Prior to the bout Adesanya was praised as a dangerous future contender at middleweight. He still has potential to be just that, but the fight against Vettori proved there’s room for improvement. He needs another slight step in competition – someone who can test him differently than Vettori did, and a seasoned veteran such as Di Chirico (11-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) fits the bill.
Should fight: Another replacement matchup
Why they should fight: Oliveira essentially came off the couch to pick up the biggest win of his career when he submitted former interim UFC welterweight champ Carlos Condit in a wild fight.
“Cowboy” came into the matchup as a late replacement for Matt Brown and had one of his best performances despite operating on next to no preparation. That’s a telling sign of Oliveira’s ability, and it raises his stock higher than ever in the 170-pound weight class.
Oliveira is the type who will step up to almost any opportunity presented. Given the number of high-level welterweight fights booked over the coming months, it’s almost certain something is going to fall through and a substitution will be needed. After a bit of a break to recover from a brutal battle with Condit, Oliveira’s best course of action would be to stay prepared in the event his number is called.
Should fight: Eddie Alvarez or champ Khabib Nurmagomedov
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Poirier should fight Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) or champ Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC) next.
- The 8 biggest takeaways from UFC on FOX 29 with just how special Dustin Poirier is
- Alex Oliveira: Carlos Condit went to sleep, woke back up before finish in UFC Glendale co-headliner
- Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Justin Gaethje and UFC on FOX 29's other losing fighters?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Dustin Poirier and UFC on FOX 29's other winning fighters?