Charles Oliveira sits atop the UFC’s light-weight division after an exciting second-round TKO of Michael Chandler in the primary occasion of UFC 262 on Saturday, however did the brand new champ do sufficient to surpass Dustin Poirier because the No. 1-ranked fighter within the division?
Looking forward to Saturday’s Struggle Evening, ought to the bout between No. 3 Yan Xiaonan and No. 4 Carla Esparza produce the primary challenger for Rose Namajunas, who just lately reclaimed the ladies’s strawweight title by knocking out Zhang Weili?
In the meantime, an August struggle between middleweight title hopefuls Jared Cannonier and Paulo Costa might both make clear what’s subsequent for the winner of Israel Adesanya–Marvin Vettori 2, or make issues even messier — particularly when factoring Robert Whittaker into the equation.
Our panel of Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim digs into the most important questions of the second on the planet of MMA, to decipher what’s actual, and what’s not.
Following his win at UFC 262, Charles Oliveira is the No. 1 light-weight on the planet.
Okamoto: Actual. I wasn’t certain going into Saturday if the winner would surpass Dustin Poirier in my light-weight rankings. However based mostly on the end result, I’ve to maneuver Oliveira to No. 1.
It is neck and neck between him and Poirier, however when you think about the nine-fight win streak, eight finishes throughout that stretch, a second-round knockout in a UFC title struggle — sure, Oliveira will get my vote.
And I actually do not assume Poirier cares a lot if he is quickly seen as No. 2. I imply, he should not. He had a alternative of preventing for the UFC championship or dealing with Conor McGregor for the third time, and he selected a cash struggle in opposition to McGregor. That was the sensible and straightforward name, nevertheless it got here with a threat that if Oliveira or Chandler did one thing spectacular at UFC 262, they may leap him within the rankings.
Poirier will get his probability to make that proper. He’s the place he needs to be. Cash struggle in opposition to McGregor, and if he wins, a title struggle in opposition to Oliveira. All of that is going to proceed to play out the remainder of 2021, however for proper now, I imagine you must say Oliveira is the most effective light-weight on the planet.
Ought to the winner of Yan Xiaonan-Carla Esparza get a strawweight title shot subsequent?
Helwani: Very actual.
If I had been the UFC I might have already got billed this as a struggle to crown the No. 1 contender for the 115-pound title. This is why:
Rose Namajunas is the brand new champ. They’re doubtless not rematching her with Zhang Weili straight away. That would not make a lot sense, since their struggle was so fast and decisive a few weeks in the past.
No, it has to go to the winner of Yan-Esparza, who’re the third- and fourth-ranked contenders at 115, respectively, behind the aforementioned Zhang and Jedrzejczyk.
Ought to Esparza pull off the W, that will be her fifth win in a row. A struggle in opposition to Namajunas could be a rematch of the first-ever strawweight title struggle in UFC, which occurred again in 2014 and was received by Esparza through rear-naked choke.
If Yan wins Saturday, that will enhance her unbeaten streak to 13 in a row and her UFC file to 7-0.
The Aug. 21 middleweight struggle between Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier will convey readability to the division.
Wagenheim: Readability? At middleweight? This can be a division whose champion, Israel Adesanya, final competed in a special weight class, and whose No. 1 contender, Robert Whittaker, turned down a title problem as a result of the timing simply wasn’t proper. That left the massive alternative on June 12 to Marvin Vettori, who three years in the past gave Adesanya his hardest middleweight struggle in a split-decision loss.
However is there actually a plan at 185 kilos? Costa vs. Cannonier does have the texture of a No. 1 contender showdown between two once-hot contenders making an attempt to show up the warmth once more. Costa is seeking to bounce again from his solely loss, and Cannonier is searching for to get again on monitor after a successful streak got here to a halt. However might both of them minimize in entrance of Whittaker? That is a privilege that Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz is perhaps afforded, however neither of those middleweight contenders has wherever close to that stage of star energy or incomes potential.
Extra necessary, Whittaker is the one who belongs within the cage with the champ. He is the one who ended Cannonier’s streak, and that victory was simply a part of an extended run of success. He is received 12 of his previous 13 — or each struggle since 2014 that wasn’t in opposition to Adesanya. He is a transparent No. 1 contender for me. However some may see that position being up for grabs between Costa and Cannonier, and understandably so, contemplating the way it’s been arrange.
Reasonably than bringing readability, then, this struggle might make the burden class murkier. So no, the assertion above is not actual.
Beneil Dariush does not want to fret in regards to the followers booing so long as he retains successful.
Raimondi: When UFC president Dana White was requested about Beneil Dariush on the information convention after UFC 262, the very first thing he stated was that Dariush did not make any followers together with his efficiency in opposition to Tony Ferguson. That is true. The followers booed Dariush lustily throughout and after his dominant win over Ferguson. They did not respect Dariush’s wrestling-heavy model, regardless of it being extremely efficient.
Throughout Dariush’s postfight interview with Joe Rogan, the followers in Houston actually let him have it. It was a wild scene. However the reality is that Dariush was type of solid because the villain, as odd as that sounds, all week. The followers in Houston actually love Ferguson, like many UFC followers the world over. And it doesn’t matter what Dariush did, he was going to listen to it. Even on the prefight information convention final Thursday. The followers had been throughout him and going loopy for every little thing Ferguson stated.
Let’s be trustworthy. This assertion is actual. Dariush did not put in probably the most scintillating efficiency in opposition to Ferguson, however he did what he wanted to do to win. And now he is on a seven-fight successful streak, probably the greatest at light-weight, which is among the hardest divisions within the UFC.
Dariush will get a mulligan for this one, not that he wants one. The man has been one of the vital thrilling fighters at 155 kilos currently. that meme of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier falling throughout one another on the commentary desk, earlier than it began taking place each different week? That was from a Dariush knockout over Drakkar Klose at UFC 248 in March 2020. The struggle after that, Dariush received through spinning again fist. The one after that? He was within the Struggle of the Evening.
No, Dariush did not seize the creativeness of the Texas spectators this weekend. However that is completely wonderful. He is onto greater and higher issues within the division. And the reality is, no matter what occurred Saturday evening, Dariush is among the most spectacular (and now clearly probably the greatest) lightweights on the planet.