Here I am to play matchmaker in the wake of UFC 284. This card was very exciting. Of course, it's not a UFC event without some controversial decisions, but really, we got a lot of answers, too! Whether you think the judges were right or wrong, we can only move the sport forward. So, to do so, let's see what should and could be next for the main card fighters of UFC 284.
JIMMY CRUTE VS ALONZO MENIFIELD REMATCH
Instant rematch, please! What a fight this was! Momentum vacillated back and both fighters had some fun moments in the fight. However, this fun fight that opened up the UFC 284 main card ended in a majority draw. It was scored 29-27 for Crute, and the other two judges had it 28-28. The reason these score cards don't make much sense is because a third round point deduction killed any shot of Menifield upsetting the Aussie in his backyard.
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
It seemed that both Crute and Menifield are down to run it back, so why not? They aren't exactly going to be holding up the light heavyweight division, and they've already shown that they can put on a show. Let's get round four going ASAP!
JUSTIN TAFA VS CHRIS BARNETT
UFC 284 saw Justin Tafa defeat Parker Porter in just over a minute, and as a result, the Aussie has created his first winning streak in the UFC. I think that matching him against Chris Barnett would be one of the best fights for the heavyweight division outside of the top ten. Barnett is 2-2 in the UFC, most recently defeating Jake Collier with an impressive comeback stoppage.
Tafa would seem to have the boxing advantage, but Barnett is as unpredictable as it gets. I say we match these two up together and see how things play out!
JACK DELLA MADDALENA VS VICENTE LUQUE
Don't act like you don't want this. Jack Della Maddalena put on a show at UFC 284; at the expense of Randy Brown, he's now 4-0 in the UFC with four first-round stoppages. With this impressive run, Della Maddalena deserves to jump the line. Luque is an incredible fighter, but he's been having a rough time at the top of the division as of late; he's on a two fight losing streak and was finished with strikes for the first time in his last fight.
DELLA MADDALENA IS THE REAL DEAL 😳
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
This will, without a doubt, be a fan-friendly fight! Two clean strikers, (relatively) old dog vs the new dog, and a fight that will put fans in seats and eyes on screens! The welterweight top 15 is loaded with great grapplers, so it's on a matter of time that the Aussie has to go against one of them. However, in the mean time, let's check out a banger of a boxing match at 170lbs!
JOSH EMMETT VS BRIAN ORTEGA
Josh Emmett lost his chance at gold, be it the interim title, by submission. Did he think that Yair Rodriguez would submit him? Probably not, I think it came as a surprise to many! However, that's no excuse and Emmett should work hard to make sure it never happens again. One good way to get better at submission defense is to have a training camp preparing for one of the most dangerous submission threats in the division!
Brian Ortega remains in the peripherals of the featherweight title picture; he's always been so close but just can't get the job done. If he's wanting to stay relevant in the division, he'll need to get a big named win in his next fight. So, Ortega vs Emmett, anyone? Both are coming off of losses to Rodriguez, both are exciting, and both deserve a big named fight despite recent losses.
YAIR RODRIGUEZ VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI
I mean, what else is there to do? Yair Rodriguez surprised many not with his win over Josh Emmett, but in the way in which he won. I'm fairly confident in my picks, and Rodriguez via triangle choke wasn't anywhere near where my mind went when predicting this fight's outcome. ‘El Pantera' does have other wins by submission, but none in the UF , let alone against fighters at the level of Josh Emmett.
With an impressive win and showing a new wrinkle in his game, Rodriguez earned himself the featherweight interim title! So, Alexander Volkanovski should definitely be next in a title unification bout. This is a fight that not only makes sense, but I'd want to see it anyway! I'm so interested to see how Volk and Rodriguez's styles clash against each other.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV VS BENEIL DARIUSH
I'd apologize in case this is a hot take, but I'm not going to. Beneil Dariush has been overlooked for too long now. An eight-fight win streak with four emphatic finishes? Yeah, Dariush deserves this shot. Though some people think that Alexander Volkanovski won and deserves an immediate rematch, that'll only choke up two divisions and that's not what we need right now. Also, Makhachev won that fight.
— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2022
Dustin Poirier hasn't really done anything too exciting or taken many risks, Justin Gaethje needs to win against Rafael Fiziev, and Charles Oliveira was completely outclassed by Makhachev — Dariush is the freshest and, in my opinion, most deserving of a crack at the lightweight title. Furthermore, and another hot take that I won't apologize for, is that I believe Dariush has the tools to beat Makhachev! He's got great striking, finishing abilities everywhere, and the way he scrambles in wrestling situations is something that Makhachev will have to be very careful with.