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Thursday, December 8, 2022

What’s Next: UFC Vegas 59 Losers

Thiago Santos, UFC Vegas 59 Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

UFC Vegas 59 was a historic night because no judges were needed all night. This is the 10th time in UFC history that every fight of the night has ended with an end, and the second time in the modern era. In the main event, Jamahal Hill defeated Thiago Santos by TKO in the fourth round. Today, we’re going to look at what’s next for the losers of UFC Vegas 59.

Thiago Santos

Thiago Santos is 1-5 in his last six games and should be hoping to turn things around in the next game. In 2018, Santos defeated Anthony Smith in a two-round welterweight bout. Smith is losing and he wants a chance against someone like Santos in the next game. Now that both are in the top 10 at light heavyweight, it’s time to see a rematch at a higher heavyweight.

Santos’ next fight: Anthony Smith

Vicente Luke

Last weekend, Vicente Luque finished the race with a strike for the first time in his career. He was very difficult to put away, but Jeff Neal hit some big shots to end Luke in the third and final round. Luke is now 4-2 in his last six games, but he is currently on a two-game losing streak. The loss could knock him out of the top 10 in the division, and he should be looking for a big fight that can put him back in the winning streak.

Neil Magny has gone 2-1 in the last three matches and lost to Shavat Rakhmonov in the final match. Magny’s fighting style and improved hitting make for a great style match for Luque. The fight makes sense for both, especially since they’ve both been at the company for a long time and haven’t fought each other yet.

Luke’s next fight: Neil Maney

Augusto Sakai

Augusto Sakai is dominated by Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 59. Spivak finished Sakai after a couple of knockouts and some strong ground and pounding in the second round. Sakai is now on a four-game losing streak after a 4-0 win in the previous UFC. In his next fight, Sakai should hope to get back on the winning side against the young rising star.

At UFC 279 next month, freshman Jailton Almeida will face UFC veteran Shamil Abdurakhimov. Both fights make sense for Sakai for different reasons. If Sakai is going to fight Almeida, he’s still capable of beating the young beast at heavyweight. And the fight against Abdul Rakimov would be a “fight for your job” situation. Abdul Rashimov has lost three in a row, and if he loses to Almedia, it will be four.

Sakai’s next fight: Almeida loser vs Abdul Rashimov

Eric Gonzalez

Erick Gonzalez was submitted by Terrance McKinney in the first round of their lightweight bout at UFC Vegas 59. Gonzalez is now 0-2 in the UFC and needs to win his next fight if he wants to continue fighting for the UFC. He’s had pretty tough fights against UFC fighting veteran Jim Miller and now McKinney, and he’s one of the best young finishers in the division. In his next fight, Gonzalez should fight another UFC rookie.

Chris Duncan and Charlie Campbell perform at last week’s Competitive Series Main Event. Campbell shook Duncan early, and Duncan came back to knock Campbell out in the first round. Both will be great additions to the UFC lightweight division, and Duncan should fight Gonzalez in his UFC debut.

Gonzalez’s next fight: Chris Duncan

Brogan Walker and Zach Bulgar

Doing any real pairing for Brogan Walker and Zac Pauga is a bit difficult, as it’s unclear if the UFC will actually sign the TUF 30 runner-up. While this has happened over the past few seasons (for example, Uriah Hall lost to Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF 17 finals), we’ll have to wait and see if they can make an immediate hit in the big show, or need to work their way back.

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