UFC San Diego has come and gone, and two exciting fights have become a hot topic. Marlon “Chito” Vera closed out the night with a header over former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, while Nate Landwehr and David Onama had one of the best fights of the year in the co-production.
We’ve put on our matchmaker hats to see what’s next for the losing side of Saturday’s Fight Night card.
Bookings for the legend’s next fight involve many unanswered questions after being knocked down by Chito Vera’s header. Most importantly, what does he want now? Will he retire after his latest ascent on Saturday was interrupted? Does he want to play one last game before dropping his gloves? Or is he determined to still win the title and win it for a third time? Given that Cruz is 37 years old, the road back to the top will be a tough one, and there are no guarantees in the sport.
Assuming he hopes to retire soon, the next big question is who will win over Jose Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 next week? If Jose Aldo loses, having the bantamweight GOAT face off against the featherweight GOAT would be every WEC fan’s dream come true and fight a nerd. If Aldo wins and gets closer to the title, then maybe Frankie Edgar would be an option – but he wants to retire at UFC 281 at MSG in November, and Cruz is unlikely to be in the brutal Get ready after the knockout rounds. Cub Swanson, who recently dropped to 135, is another WEC legend that will be the final hurrah. For now, the loser of Aldo vs Merab should be chosen, although it has a small asterisk next to it.
Cruz’s next fight: Aldo vs. Dwarishvili loser*
So far, the 28-year-old Ugandan star has been a must-see TV show at every UFC fight, win or lose. Despite losing a decision against Nate Landwell on Saturday, the fight is an instant contender for Fight of the Year, and the honorable MMA athlete should be fighting another unranked action fighter. Steven “Ojo” Peterson, who had a similar turmoil in his bout with Julian Erosa earlier this year, also won the night’s fight bonus and will be Onama’s fifth UFC The perfect opponent for the game.
Onama’s next fight: Steven Peterson
In her UFC debut, 20-year-old Iasmin Lucindo played better than anyone could have imagined. In Yazmin Jauregui, she was the underdog of a much-touted and undefeated prospect, but she still gave it her all and arguably won the battle in some fans’ minds, were it not for Landwehr vs. Onama. This fight boosts her stock over most debut fights, even if they win their fights.
At such a young age, with her athleticism—especially her strength and jaw—the ceiling is high, and she deserves a game that will allow her to grow. Ashley Yoder is a veteran of the sport. She’s around the corner in the early days of this division in the UFC, and while she’s 8-8, she’s a good test for anyone up there. If Lucindo can beat her, it will show the world that she is ready to take a step back from the competition.
Lucindo’s next fight: Ashley Yoder
Devin Clark has been a fringe of the light heavyweight top 15 for a long time, even briefly dabbling in the group in 2020. He’s pretty much the epitome of a “win-lose” fighter who, aside from one of his previous losses, has been in the sport and has had fighters that he has ranked at some point. He was stopped in the third round by undefeated Russian rookie Azamat Murzakanov on Saturday.
Clark should be looking for someone in a similar position to bounce back. Da Un Jung also shrugged off a KO defeat against former GLORY kickboxer Dustin Jacoby. A duel between the two will give them a chance to correct the ship and see the trajectory they’re on in the future.
Clark’s next fight: Da Un Jung
Ariana “Queen of Violence” Lipsky was violently suspended by Priscilla Cachoiera at UFC San Diego. The pair had reserved cards at Apex a week ago, but the doctor didn’t allow Lipski to play. This time, she entered a heavyweight fight, but was quickly defeated by her opponent. There’s no way to know if double weight loss is the problem, but it’s possible.
Lipsky has now lost three of his past four fights after two and two starts in his UFC career. She might fight for her job in the next fight. This suggests that the fighter to be booked has some prestige. Debuting “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Juliana Miller fits that bill. Miller hopes to make a name for herself on the roster with the support of the TUF champion, while Lipsky hopes to keep her job in the race against the youngster.
Lipsky’s next fight: Julianna Miller
Bruno ‘Blindado’ Silva suffered a shock defeat against Gerald Meerschaert on Saturday. He threw too many punches in his attempt to knock down GM3, but was unexpectedly dropped in the final round by the underdog, who was widely seen as more of a tackler than a striker. However, the fight ended the fight when Silva was forced to click. A logical next step in the “Blindado” ranking would be against Wellington Turman, who has won two straight after a rocky start to his UFC career as both look to fight for a spot in the rankings going forward.
Silva’s next fight: Wellington Turman