The UFC 285 event in Las Vegas did not disappoint, as it featured a dominant return by Jon Jones and a shocking upset victory by Alexa Grasso. Despite moving up in weight class, Jones showed no signs of slowing down as he showcased his precision and mobility in the cage. Within minutes of the main event, Jones locked in a guillotine submission on Ciryl Gane, who quickly tapped out. With this win, Jones reclaimed his throne as the UFC heavyweight champion. Future Opponents for Jon Jones, Alexa Grasso, Bo Nickal and Others at UFC 285.
But before Jones’ triumph, it was the surprising victory of Alexa Grasso that sent shockwaves throughout Vegas. Despite losing the second and third rounds to Valentina Shevchenko’s ground attack, Grasso quickly turned the tables by securing a rear-naked choke submission. Marc Raimondi contextualized the wins of Grasso and Bo Nickal, while Brett Okamoto provided his insights into potential matchups for the new champions and other standout fighters on the card. UFC 285 was a night filled with electrifying fights and unpredictable outcomes. Fans can look forward to what’s next for these fighters as they continue to push themselves to new heights in the UFC.
Stipe Miocic ought to replace Jon Jones as his replacement, says Okamoto
Jon Jones made history at UFC 285 by becoming a two-division champion with ease. Despite his impressive performance, the question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s next?” It seems that their next opponent Jones will be Stipe Miocic, who has been confirmed by the UFC to be the next challenger for the heavyweight belt in July. While Miocic is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweights in the sport’s history, he is no longer in his prime. However, he still poses a potential threat to Jones, and it remains to be seen whether he can overcome the former light heavyweight champion.
Despite the challenge that Miocic may present, Jones’ track record suggests that he is almost unbeatable. It will be interesting to see how the fight unfolds, and whether Jones can continue to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Alexa Grasso’s Impressive Victory at UFC 285 Doesn’t Surprise UFC President Dana White
On February 27, 2015, at an Invicta FC event in Los Angeles, 21-year-old Alexa Grasso fought Mizuki Inoue and put on an impressive performance, winning via unanimous decision and earning Fight of the Night honors. In attendance, that night was UFC president Dana White, who was scouting the up-and-coming women’s talent. White was immediately impressed by Grasso’s performance and declared that the fight should have been in the UFC, calling it “incredible.” Two fights later, Grasso found herself in the UFC.
It took Grasso a little while to find her footing as a contender in the UFC, but she eventually made her way up the ranks and, just over nine years after her impressive showing at Invicta FC, she became the UFC strawweight champion. In a stunning upset, she defeated Valentina Shevchenko, one of the best women’s fighters of all time, with a rear-naked choke in the fourth round. With this victory, Grasso became the first-ever Mexican-born women’s champion in UFC history, the second Mexican-born undisputed UFC champion ever after Brandon Moreno, and one of three current UFC champions from Mexico alongside Moreno and Rodriguez.
Grasso’s victory is just one example of the Mexican MMA renaissance that has been discussed at length this year. While Mexico has long been known for its boxing, MMA is rapidly catching up in popularity. Grasso, along with her teammate Irene Aldana, who is close to a title shot in the women’s bantamweight division, is proof of the country’s impressive crop of talented fighters who have improved and evolved over the years.
One key factor in Grasso’s success has been her decision to move up a weight class. Previously, she had struggled to make the strawweight limit, but without the added pressure of extreme weight cutting, she has been able to perform at her best. While Shevchenko will likely receive an immediate rematch, Grasso can bask in the glory of her historic victory for the time being, both for herself and for her country.
In conclusion, Grasso’s journey from a young prospect to a UFC champion is a testament to her hard work and determination. Her victory, along with the rise of Mexican MMA, signals a bright future for the sport in the country. As more and more talented fighters emerge from Mexico, it is clear that the country will continue to play an increasingly important role in the world of mixed martial arts.
Alexa Grasso has been on an impressive 5-0 run since moving up to flyweight, but it was her victory over Valentina Shevchenko that truly showcased her skills. Despite being known for her boxing, Grasso surprised many by taking Shevchenko to the ground and submitting her with a rear-naked choke. This was a particularly impressive feat, as Shevchenko had never been finished in the UFC and had never been submitted in her entire career.
Shevchenko had been the flyweight champion since 2018 and had accumulated a record-setting seven title defenses. Her dominant reign was reminiscent of Georges St-Pierre’s in his prime, as she was an incredibly well-rounded fighter who could win in numerous ways. While she had shown some vulnerability in her most recent fight against Taila Santos, she was still widely regarded as one of the best women’s fighters of all time and a future UFC Hall of Famer.
Despite the odds against her, Grasso was able to dethrone the dominant champion and become the new queen of the women’s flyweight division. This was a remarkable accomplishment for the shy girl from Guadalajara, and it is clear that her story is just beginning. Shevchenko may very well earn an immediate rematch, but for now, Grasso can revel in her historic victory and the title of La Reina of the flyweights.
Rematch or Redemption: What’s Next for Grasso and Shevchenko?
The beauty of this sport is how it constantly surprises us. The expectation was that Valentina Shevchenko would come out even stronger after narrowly escaping with a split-decision victory over Taila Santos in her previous fight. And she did not disappoint. However, what truly stood out was Alexa Grasso’s incredible performance, which demonstrated that she had narrowed the gap with one of the best in the division and was ready to seize a life-changing opportunity. This was no fluke. Grasso’s victory was the result of her hard work and determination, culminating in the realization of her lifelong dream.
It was clear that Shevchenko was already focused on a rematch, and it’s the only fight that makes sense at this point. Grasso’s victory was a pivotal moment in her career, but a rematch would provide the perfect opportunity for Shevchenko to redeem herself and reclaim her throne.
Stephen Thompson ought to take the lead, says Okamoto
Despite Thompson’s recent victory over Kevin Holland, it seems that a matchup against Rakhmanov is the most logical next step. With Edwards and Usman set to face each other and fighters like Covington and Muhammad waiting in the wings, Thompson’s No. 6 ranking makes him the most suitable opponent for Rakhmanov to prove himself against top talent. While it would be ideal for Thompson to face someone ranked above him, the reality of the situation is that Rakhmanov’s impressive performances demand a chance to showcase his skills against higher-level competition. It wouldn’t be surprising if the UFC considers Thompson as the first option for this matchup. UFC 286 should provide more clarity on the division’s landscape, but as of now, Thompson vs. Rakhmanov is the fight that makes the most sense.
Wild card: Belal Muhammad
Muhammad may not be thrilled with the proposed matchup, but it’s a possibility he may have to consider. While he has been on an impressive streak and deserves a title shot, the path to that goal is not clear-cut. There are several fighters ahead of him in the rankings, and even if he wins his next fight, there’s no guarantee he’ll get a shot at the belt. If he does decide to take another fight, he may be offered this matchup.
Tempering Expectations: Bo Nickal Shows Promise, But Caution in Competition is Key
Bo Nickal is undoubtedly a talented fighter and a rising star in the UFC. With a perfect record of 4-0, he has demonstrated his exceptional wrestling skills and his ability to finish his opponents in the first round. His success in college wrestling, where he won three NCAA Division I national championships at Penn State, only adds to his impressive credentials. Nickal is also fortunate to be training at American Top Team, which is widely regarded as one of the best MMA training camps in the world, under the guidance of elite-level coaches such as Mike Brown.
In addition to his athletic abilities, Nickal has also shown a flair for public relations, carrying himself with the confidence and charisma of a star. However, despite his promising start, the UFC needs to exercise caution in how quickly they push Nickal into top-tier fights.
Compared to other top fighters in the middleweight division, Nickal is still inexperienced, having only four professional fights under his belt. While he has already expressed an interest in facing top-ranked opponents like Alex Pereira and Khamzat Chimaev, the UFC would be wise to take a more gradual approach in bringing him up to that level. Rather than rushing him into high-profile fights, the UFC should focus on giving Nickal opponents outside the top 15 and allow him to continue to develop his skills and gain more experience.
For example, Jamie Pickett, Nickal’s most recent opponent, had lost three fights in a row before facing Nickal and is far from the best fighter in the division. While it is reasonable to step up the level of competition incrementally, it would be unwise to throw Nickal into the deep end of the pool too soon. The UFC can continue to feature him on pay-per-view main cards against moderate-level fighters while he gains more experience.
The UFC can learn from the experience of another blue-chip middleweight fighter, Edmen Shahbazyan, who was not ready for the top fighters in the division and lost three straight fights. While Nickal is older than Shahbazyan, he also has fewer fights and less cage time. The UFC must take the long view with Nickal and give him the time he needs to develop his skills and build his confidence.
In conclusion, Bo Nickal is undoubtedly a star in the making, but the UFC must exercise caution in how quickly they push him into top-tier fights. While it may be tempting to throw him into high-profile matchups, it would be wiser to take a more gradual approach and allow him to continue to gain experience and build his skills. Only then will he be ready to take on the stars of the middleweight division?
Bryan Battle ought to replace Bo Nickal as his replacement, says Okamoto
Despite UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s comments about Bo Nickal being thrown into the deep end after his recent performance, there is no need to rush his progression. Nickal understands this, as evidenced by his lack of call-outs after his latest win. The UFC will match him appropriately, as they have with his upcoming opponent, proven fighter Bryan Battle. The battle, a winner of The Ultimate Fighter and 3-1 in the UFC, is recognizable to fans but still a suitable step up for Nickal’s matchmaking. While we are all excited to see Nickal’s potential, the UFC will take a more measured approach to ensure he continues to develop his skills and gain experience before facing the top fighters in the division.
Wild card: Tresean Gore
Alternatively, Nickal could face TUF alum Tresean Gore, who made it to the finals of the same season as Bryan Battle but lost due to injury. Gore is 1-2 in the UFC, with his most recent win coming in October against Josh Fremd. A matchup between Nickal and Gore could be an intriguing battle between two talented prospects looking to make their mark in the middleweight division.