Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) invaded Target Center last night (Sat., June 29, 2019), as UFC Fight Night 154 took place inside in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the headlining act, Francis Ngannou knocked out Junior dos Santos in the very first round to earn his third straight knockout win (highlights). Also, Joseph Benavidez defeated Jussier Formiga via head kick in the co-main event of the evening (see it).
Winner: Francis Ngannou
Who He Should Fight Next: Title shot
With his third straight knockout win, “The Predator” left no doubt as to who should get next dibs at the Heavyweight title. Against who, though, will be a huge mystery. If Stipe Miocic defeats Daniel Cormier at UFC 241, then that rematch is a given. But if “DC” goes up 2-0 against Miocic, then Francis will have to wait and see if Cormier decides to defend his belt one more time or hang them up for good. Should that be the case, then Ngannou will definitely be one half of the equation when it comes to fighting for the the vacant title.
Winner: Joseph Benvidez
Who He Should Fight Next: Henry Cejudo for Flyweight title
Joseph Benavidez punched his ticket to a shot at the Flyweight title after knocking out Formiga to earn his third straight win, nine of 10 overall. While Dana White may be hesitant to commit to a title fight between Joseph and Henry Cejudo, it really is a no-brainer. Joseph has a win over “The Messenger” and even the top Bantamweight title contender, Aljamain Sterling, has no issues with stepping aside and letting Benavidez get first dibs at dethroning Cejudo from one of his two thrones.
Winner: Demian Maia
Who He Should Fight Next: Stephen Thompson
While it may seem like an odd matchup at first glance, it really is one of the few that makes sense for both men. Maia is riding a two-fight win streak but is currently sitting outside of the top 10.
Thompson, meanwhile, has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career and is still sitting pretty as a top 10 fighter. Think of it as both guys meeting in the middle. It’s a classic “grappler vs striker” matchup as both men are two of the best in their respective areas of fighting.
Winner: Vinc Pichel
Who He Should Fight Next: James Vick vs Dan Hooker winner
Vince has actually been on a great, albeit quiet, run since 2014 inside the Octagon, winning five of six with his lone loss coming to wrestling standout Gregor Gillespie. Granted, he hasn’t been facing a who’s who of the Lightweight division, but his next opponent will be a level up in competition as I’d like to see him face off against the winner of the upcoming 155-pound matchup between Dan Hooker and James Vick, which is set to go down on July 20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.
Vick is barely hanging on to his No. 15 ranking, while Hooker is desperately trying to break in. Either one of those two men will be a great challenge for Vinc, who is eying ranked competition and his opportunity to prove his worth a top 15 combatant.
Winner: Drew Dober
Who He Should Fight Next: Jared Gordon
Both men got back into the winner’s circle in Minnesota after suffering defeats in their previous outings. Having them face off against one another next makes sense giving the time frames of potential returns for each of them. Plus it’s a good matchup, as both of them seem to be at the same level in this point of their UFC careers. They have a ways to go before they can crack the top 15, but a win for either of them here gets them closer.
For complete ‘UFC Minneapolis’ results and coverage click here.