Listed below are the opponents we predict ought to be subsequent for the winners at UFC 261.
After greater than a yr with no followers in attendance, the environment at UFC 261 in Jacksonville was electrical. The primary card was stacked with expertise, and the trio of championship fights actually delivered greater than anybody may’ve imagined. UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman efficiently defended his belt after he knocked out Jorge Masvidal in spherical two following a strong connection along with his proper hand. Rose Namajunas upset Zhang Weili within the co-headliner following a headkick that put the champ down, solely to be adopted up by a flurry of punches on the bottom that compelled the first-round stoppage.
The primary battle of the championship triple header noticed girls’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko end challenger Jessica Andrade in spherical two after a dominant first 5 minutes. Elsewhere, Anthony Smith bought the TKO victory over sizzling prospect Jimmy Crute after the bout was waived off because of a nasty leg damage Crute suffered following a leg kick from Smith earlier within the battle.
Now that the occasion is over and the bonuses have been handed out, let’s check out what’s subsequent for the winners from Saturday’s fundamental card.
Potential subsequent opponents for the UFC 261 fundamental card winners
Subsequent Opponent: Colby Covington
Usman actually makes a case for a spot atop the pound-for-pound rankings, particularly with the best way he’s been ending his previous couple of opponents. With Khabib Nurmagomedov formally retired, Usman appears to be probably the most dominant male champion for the time being, and probably the most energetic as properly. Usman completely starched Masvidal in what was their second assembly contained in the Octagon, and like UFC President Dana White stated, Covington is subsequent for Usman. Covington and Usman fought for almost 25 minutes of their first battle at UFC 245, which is among the best welterweight title fights of all-time. Covington final defeated Tyron Woodley and has been ready for a second crack at Usman and undisputed UFC gold. It appears as if Usman will solely be combating rematches for the foreseeable future, that’s, except Stephen Thompson has one thing to say about that. All we all know for positive is that Usman vs. Covington 2 is subsequent, and the build-up ought to be much more entertaining than the primary go-round.
Subsequent Opponent: Winner of Carla Esparza vs. Yan Xiaonan
+165 betting underdog Rose Namajunas went out on Saturday night time and cashed for all of her backers with a first-round TKO of champion Zhang Weili. Namajunas landed a superb headkick adopted by some floor and pound to finish the battle, making her the primary girl to win a title in the identical division on two separate events. “Thug” Rose now enters her second reign as UFC strawweight champion, and the sky is the restrict for the 28-year-old.
Subsequent for Namajunas ought to be the winner of Carla Esparza vs. Yan Xiaonan, which takes place subsequent month. Ought to Esparza win and face Namajunas subsequent for the belt, it will be a rematch seven years within the making. Esparza defeated Namajunas by way of submission for the inaugural strawweight title in 2014, which was the season finale of TUF: A Champion Will Be Topped.
Subsequent Opponent: Winner of Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy
One other Shevchenko title battle, one other dominant title protection. “Bullet” made fast work of Andrade, whom many thought can be her hardest take a look at thus far at flyweight. Shevchenko took Andrade down at will and was in a position to end with elbows and punches from prime place within the latter levels of spherical two. As for what’s subsequent for the dominant champion, a bout between No. 3 Lauren Murphy and No. 6 Joanne Calderwood is scheduled for UFC 263 in June, with the winner possible transferring into that No. 1 contender spot. Shevchenko is actually working out of competitors at 125 lb, and if she defends her title just a few extra instances, that Amanda Nunes trilogy battle will as soon as once more current itself. Shevchenko actually desires it and followers would like to see it, however someplace down the street.
Subsequent Opponent: Kelvin Gastelum
Prime-10 middleweight contender Uriah Corridor secured the victory over Chris Weidman on Saturday night time after a grotesque damage simply 17 seconds into the competition. Corridor checked a Weidman leg kick, an motion that snapped Weidman’s decrease leg in half, leaving the previous champ on the canvas writhing in ache because the referee instantly known as off the battle. Most likely one of many worst accidents you’ll ever see in a combined martial arts bout.
“Primetime” has now received 5 of his final six bouts, with back-to-back wins over former champions. A battle with No. 8 Kelvin Gastelum makes plenty of sense for each males subsequent. Nevertheless, this could not be the primary assembly between the 2, as Corridor did lose to Gastelum by way of break up determination on The Final Fighter season 17 finale in 2013. With Gastelum transferring as much as middleweight just a few years in the past, there was all the time a risk these two males would cross paths once more, and 2021 appears pretty much as good a time as ever for the rematch.
Subsequent Opponent: Magomed Ankalaev
You by no means wish to see a physician must name an finish to a battle, however after Jimmy Crute was unable to place any weight on his leg, the battle was clearly not going to progress into spherical two. Crute put up a stable battle, hammering away with leg kicks and even touchdown just a few takedowns of his personal on Smith. Smith was in a position to pepper Crute’s face with jabs for a majority of the primary spherical, however the kicking was spot on as properly. Smith hit Crute simply behind the knee with a vicious leg kick that actually injured Crute, however to what extent we don’t fairly know but. The battle was enjoyable whereas it lasted, however “Lionheart” must sit up for future opponents versus a rematch with Crute. Smith has compiled back-to-back wins following two-straight losses in 2020, and now might be a time the place we see Smith make one other run on the mild heavyweight title.
The following opponent for Smith may very properly be Magomed Ankalaev. Ankalaev sits just under Smith within the rankings, and with six-straight wins and just one loss in his skilled profession, the UFC might wish to construct up Ankalaev, and who higher to do this in opposition to than Smith? Not that it will be a straightforward outing for Ankalaev, however certainly he can be the betting favourite if it was introduced.
UFC 261 takes place on Saturday, April 24, 2021, dwell from the VyStar Enviornment in Jacksonville, FL. Observe together with FanSided for all of your dwell information and highlights.