There are infinite prospects for the welterweight division within the aftermath of UFC 278. Leon Edwards shocked the world with a come-from-behind, head-kick knockout of Kamaru Usman within the closing minute of their world title struggle. A brand new champion means an abundance of latest matchups.
Edwards and Usman at the moment are 1-1 towards one another with the primary assembly coming approach again in 2015. That necessitates a trilogy, particularly contemplating the highlight-reel nature of the end on Saturday evening. Trying past the rubber match, there are a selection of contemporary matchups buoyed by unhealthy blood, together with the wolf named Khamzat Chimaev lurking within the shadows.
The undercard on Saturday additionally noticed Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold, incomes Combat of the Evening honors. Rockhold retired within the aftermath of the struggle, however Costa has loads of gasoline left within the tank. And Merab Dvalishvili over Jose Aldo, however the nature of his win could not reward him with a lot within the eyes of UFC matchmakers.
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CBS has compiled quite a few potential matchups within the aftermath of UFC 278.
UFC welterweight championship — Leon Edwards (c) vs. Kamaru Usman 3: UFC president Dana White desires the trilogy, Usman desires vengeance and Edwards is anticipating one other assembly. There are a variety of things supporting the necessity for a rubber match. Usman was 54 seconds away from profitable on the judges’ scorecards. That creates sufficient doubt within the final result of a trilogy struggle to promote pay-per-views. The U.Ok. has been a sizzling marketplace for the UFC in 2022 and a present at Wembley Stadium could be enormous for the corporate and England’s new champion. Edwards is a brand new commodity and fights towards different contenders would probably draw fewer eyeballs than the Usman rematch. Khamzat Chimaev is primed for a title shot with a win over Nate Diaz at UFC 279, but when Usman can recapture the belt, Usman vs. Chimaev probably sells greater than Edwards vs. Chimaev.
Honorable mentions — Khamzat Chimaev, Colby Covington or Jorge Masvidal: The good thing about having a brand new champion means there’s an abundance of contemporary title fights. Chimaev is the frontrunner ought to he beat Diaz. Covington is a plausible risk following two shut losses to Usman. Masvidal and Edwards have unhealthy blood courting to a backstage altercation in 2019 the place Masvidal laid arms on the Englishman.
Paulo Costa vs. Jared Cannonier: Costa vs. Cannonier feels like a powder keg. Two heavy-handed finishers hitting one another is a welcome addition to any PPV predominant card. Costa bludgeoned Rockhold for the higher a part of three rounds, however Rockhold had important comeback moments regardless of his three-year absence from the Octagon. That raises questions on how far Costa can take a brand new run. Cannonier is coming off a call loss to UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the place he failed to tug the set off. The winner of Costa vs. Cannonier will stay related among the many middleweight elite.
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Rob Font: A win over former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo ought to assure Dvalishvili a top-five spot at bantamweight. Sadly, his grapple-heavy method did little to curry favor with UFC brass. An inexpensive subsequent struggle might be a small step backwards within the division towards No. 7 Font. The draw back to this pairing is that Font is already on a two-fight skid and may profit from a breather with somebody ranked decrease than him.
Honorable mentions — Track Yadong/Cory Sandhagen or Ricky Simon: Yadong vs. Sandhagen takes place on Sept. 17. Primarily based on their present rankings, Dvalishvili might be paired up with a profitable Yadong (No. 10) or a shedding Sandhagen (No. 4). One other fascinating reserving might be a rematch between Dvalishvili and Simon. Simon handed Dvalishvili his final loss — the one loss by way of end within the Georgian’s profession — in 2018. Since then, Dvalishvili has emerged as a fighter to look at whereas Simon constructed a five-fight profitable streak after setbacks in 2019.
Jose Aldo vs. Dominick Cruz: This reserving could also be unfair to Cruz who simply suffered a horrible knockout loss to Marlon Vera. Aldo’s offense was muted by Dvalishvili’s suffocating grappling, however he staved off the takedowns and gained the primary spherical on two judges’ scorecards. The remainder of the bantamweight elite is booked up and a transparent opponent for Aldo could emerge within the coming months. Whereas we await the sphere to clear, Aldo vs. Cruz is a dream struggle even when Cruz is just a little lengthy within the tooth.