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Holly Holm fell short of history again Saturday when she failed to capture a second UFC title in the UFC 219 headliner.
Holm (11-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) came out on the wrong end of a unanimous decision against women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in the pay-per-view main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Other main-card fighters who fell short included Edson Barboza (19-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC), Marc Diakiese (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Cynthia Calvillo (6-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and former interim UFC champ Carlos Condit (30-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC).
After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 219’s losing fighters.
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“The Natural Born Killer” took a 16-month layoff following an August 2016 loss to Demian Maia, but didn’t seem quite himself in his comeback. Magny was able to outpace him for three rounds, and now Condit is left in a difficult spot.
If the former interim UFC welterweight champion wants to continue fighting, the UFC will almost certainly give him the platform. It remains to be seen if he has the fire to do it, though, and given his long and prestigious career, no one would blame him for hanging up the gloves.
Should Condit push on, though, a matchup with another tough 170-pound foe in Means (27-9-1 MMA, 9-6 UFC) would be a suitable fight that could hopefully bring out the best in his skillset.
Should fight: Cortney Casey
Why they should fight: Although it was a competitive fight, Calvillo was unable to do enough to get past former UFC champ Carla Esparza and experienced the first loss of her career in the form of a unanimous decision.
The matchup with Esparza may have been a tad too much too soon, but nevertheless it will like serve as a good learning experience for the Team Alpha Male product. Calvillo had a very active year, and perhaps some time off is warranted so she can add to her game.
Whenever Calvillo is ready to fight again, a matchup with Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4), who is always game to take tough opponents, would work well for both sides.
Should fight: Daniel Teymur
Why they should fight: After a strong start to his career Diakiese gathered much conversation about being a big-time prospect in the lightweight division. Now he’s sitting on back-to-back losses after being submitted against Dan Hooker.
The Brit clearly has skill and lots of upside at just 24 years old. He’s hit a rough patch, and the way in which he handles adversity will be telling of his character and resiliency.
Chances are Diakiese lands on the UFC’s March fight card in London, and a favorable matchup is likely in order to give “Bonecrusher” a chance of getting back in the win column. Chances are Teymur (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) would oblige Diakiese in the type of fight he wants.e
Should fight: Justin Gaethje
Why they should fight: Barboza’s latest opportunity to solidify himself as a true threat to the UFC lightweight title once again saw him fall short. This time, the Brazilian suffered a lopsided unanimous decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Barboza was unable to land one of his devastating fight-ending knockouts, and instead was manhandled and battered by “The Eagle” for 15 minutes. There’s no shame in losing to the undefeated Nurmagomedov, and Barboza still very much belongs in the conversation of the top 155-pound fighters out there.
Another name in that conversation is Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). The former WSOF champ is coming off a memorable battle with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218, which he lost by third-round knockout. A fight with Barboza is a mouth-watering proposition and has all the potential to be not just a “Fight of the Night,” but a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Should fight: Sara McMann
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Holm should return to bantamweight and fight McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) next.
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