UFC 205 was a landmark event for the MMA world. And though it was a massive moment in the sport's history, it is still another spoke in the wheel. The UFC is going to keep chugging along, and with that in mind, I play booker and predict who the biggest stars from UFC 205 will face off with next.
I'm also going to make a projection as to roughly where the lines for these potential matches could close near. I'm far from a bookmaker, so these are my personal estimations based on my knowledge of the subject matter. To reiterate, these are hypothetical lines for hypothetical fights.
Conor McGregor put on an absolutely flawless performance in his dismantling of Eddie Alvarez. His precision and power with his strikes were staggering and his takedown defense was perfect.
First, we need to address the elephant in the room: what weight does Conor fight at next? Though he wants to keep and defend both the featherweight and lightweight titles, McGregor is better suited at 155 so we are going to assume he is staying there.
Earlier on UFC 205, one man proved to be the undisputed No. 1 contender. And that is Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib dominated Michael Johnson and extended his flawless record to 24-0. ‘The Eagle’ also got on the mike after the match and started talking trash to McGregor. There is a rivalry to be had, which means there is money to be made, which means McGregor is there.
Fight to make: Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Hypothetical Betting Lines: Conor McGregor -200, Khabib Nurmagomedov +175
Tyron Woodley/Stephen Thompson
Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson battled back and forth in an epic confrontation that ultimately ended as a majority draw. Though I am not one to advocate for this very often, these two should engage in a rematch right away.
Welterweight is hurting for contenders – outside of poor Demian Maia – so an immediate rematch between Woodley and Wonderboy would not hold up the division irreparably.
There isn’t much to say except these two had an amazing fight and we all need to see a winner.
Fight to make: Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson II
Hypothetical Betting Lines: Tyron Woodley -115, Stephen Thompson -105
For the first time, we witnessed Joanna Jedrzejczyk actually look rattled a few times in the championship rounds. Ultimately, she retained her strawweight title with a decision victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Joanna has only rarely looked mortal during her tenure in the UFC and it certainly doesn’t appear as though that will be ending any time soon.
The women’s strawweight division is still in its relative infancy. Between JJ’s dominance and the general lack of depth within the division, Jessica Andrade is the lone logical choice. The Brazilian is 2-0 with two stoppages since dropping down to 115.
Andrade’s aggressive, forward-moving offense could offer some interesting challenges for Jedrzejczyk. JJ is incredibly skilled technically and could pick Andrade apart or they could get involved in an exciting brawl.
Fight to make: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade
Hypothetical Betting Lines: Joanna Jedrzejczyk -400, Jessica Andrade +300
Yoel Romero ended Chris Weidman with one of the most brutal flying knees you’ll ever witness to extend his undefeated streak in the UFC to eight. Those eight wins have seen Romero beat the likes of Weidman, Jacare Souza, Tim Kennedy and Derek Brunson.
Romero now has his sights set firmly on middleweight champion Michael Bisping and he deserves to get the shot. Bisping can say he wants the big-money fight until the cows come home, but Romero has run a path of destruction through the 185 lbs division and deserves a chance at gold.
And to be perfectly frank, Bisping would likely be horribly outmatched by the “Soldier of God.”
Fight to make: Yoel Romero vs Michael Bisping
Hypothetical Betting Lines: Yoel Romero -250, Michael Bisping +200
Raquel Pennington dominated former champion Miesha Tate in a fairly lackluster affair. With the decision, Rocky brought her winning streak up to four. Though she has still yet to put up a landmark performance, Pennington has been getting increasingly better and has proven she deserves a bout against a top contender.
With the UFC likely wanting to pair Rocky with a fighter coming off a win, Julianna Pena makes sense. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen” is riding a four-fight winning streak with her most recent W coming against Cat Zingano.
With both Pennington and Pena coming off victories over established fighters, and both likely a win away from a title shot, squaring them off in a title eliminator makes sense.
Fight to make: Raquel Pennington vs Julianna Pena
Hypothetical Betting Lines: Raquel Pennington +170, Julianna Pena -200
Doc's Picks Service
Odds Shark Staff Fri, May 20, 11:42am