UFC Vegas 17 was held at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada last night (Saturday, December 19, 2020), headlining a welterweight fall between Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Geoff Neal who saw “Wonderboy” re-establishing a threat at the top of the division. In the co-main event, Jose Aldo put on a bold and strategic performance to defeat Marlon “Chito” Vera on the scorecards. Let’s take a look at what should be the next step for them and everyone else on the main map.
Winner: Stephen Thompson
Who he should face next: Jorge Masvidal
We’ve heard a lot about Jorge Masvidal facing Colby Covington, but at some point the lapse of time between negotiating rumors and no announcement caused problems for this game. It’s not exactly a fight that Jorge Masvidal seems to want, and for good reason: if he’s going to face a really good wrestler who’s likely to choke him and make him look bad, it might as well be Kamaru Usman for the welterweight bracelet. If the UFC isn’t willing to pay him properly to fight “Chaos,” he’ll be happy to pass for a fight that looks better.
A fight with Stephen Thompson looks better.
After “Wonderboy” called Masvidal, “Gamebred” tweeted “2021 #UnfinishedBusiness,” which indicated to me that he was ready to make that match next year. Why not the next one? Right now, Masvidal needs a showcase fight where he can let his hands fly and try to babble someone. There is no better opponent at the top of the ranks for this than Thompson. If he didn’t blow his knee against Geoff Neal, it is.
Winner: Jose Aldo
Who he should face next: TJ Dillashaw
Another fight, another fighter fitting in perfectly. While Aldo’s victory over “Chito” Vera was no domination, it proved he had what it takes to hang on with the best at 135 pounds. Would he defeat TJ Dillashaw? We do not think so. But he would have fought and would be a reasonable return to the UFC for TJ after a two-year suspension from USADA.
Winner: Michel Pereira
Who he should face next: Geoff Neal
We liked Anthony Pettis’ call by Michel Pereira, but as it stands, we doubt Pettis will stay in the UFC to face him. Which is a real shame. Pettis and Pereira would bring out the best in each other, and you can tell there would be no “Demolidor” without “Showtime” leading the way. Alas, this does not happen. So let’s go for a direct ranking game. Pereira tries to go upstairs. Neal just lost a loss to Stephen Thompson, but likely won’t drop more than a spot or two from 11th to 12th. We can’t think of a better gift to give Michel than an opportunity to make your way into the top 15.
Winner: Rob Font
Who he should face next: Song Yadong
The bantamweight division is currently quite reserved, and if Font wants to stay active after this relatively quick knockout victory over Marloes Moraes, you better not be too picky about attracting a high-ranking opponent. So why not take a quick turn and take on Song Yadong, who hasn’t competed since May 2020? You could probably go to Fight Island, enjoy the full COVID era combat experience and all that.
Sucks to have to switch from beating # 3 bantamweight to # 14, but I’m not kidding: he won’t fight again until May if he decides to wait for everyone in the top 10 to drop , get back and accept another date. Why not create this paper and put yourself in the minds of the fans?
Winner: Marcin Tybura
Who he should face next: Walt Harris
God bless Marcin Tybura for inflicting Greg Hardy his first TKO loss of his UFC career. That being said, he didn’t look particularly inspiring on the feet against Hardy in the first round. I’m still not sure if his flip-flop in the second can be attributed to guts or Hardy’s absolutely terrible cardio. But hey, you win and you go up. Give Tybura a shot at No. 12 to Walt Harris, who struggled throughout 2020 at 0-2 and needs a bit of matchmaking Greg Hardy after facing off against Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov . Jeez.