What Next For The Winners at UFC 237
By Ben Jessop
After the fights in Brazil on Saturday night, we have a new women’s strawweight champion. Jessica Andrade. After a heavy slam to KO the now former champ Rose Namajunas, it was the perfect way to top off a great night of fights.
The welterweights is where I want to start, in the form of UFC vet Thiago Alves vs Laureano Staropoli. This fight was my pick for under the radar this weekend and it did not disappoint. The newcomer netted the biggest win of his career overcoming Thiago Alves with his relentless pace, taking it to the final bell and getting the unanimous nod for the win. The question now, who does Staropoli take on next? The twenty-six Argentinian is now a fight seven fight win streak and has a real possibility of moving quickly through the ranks. The whole welterweight division is absolutely stacked from top to bottom with talent so a challenge is not something they’ll struggle to find. I’d like to see Staropoli take on Li Jingliang – who is also coming off a win, via a round three kick to the body back in November 2018 – a win in that scenario would really push Staropoli to a different level.
Next up we had Brazilian and MMA legend Jose Aldo vs title contender Alexander Volkanovski. Facing off against Aldo, who many consider the greatest featherweight of all time, in Brazil must be a daunting prospect but Volkanovski soaked in the pressure and put in a great performance to beat Aldo via unanimous decision. After beating the officially ranked number two, with an unreal 17 fight win streak, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve the title shot. Max Holloway is obviously coming off his loss to Dustin Poirier at lightweight so it may be some time before he’s ready to get back in the octagon – especially for a title defense against Volkanovski.
The fans in Rio were treated to a whole host of Brazilian UFC legends, the next fight was no different and featured someone who people argue is the greatest of all time. Not just in his weight class, but as a mixed martial artist and that’s quite some accolade. Of course, I’m talking about Anderson Silva. Coming back into the fold after a recent resurgence, Silva took on Israel Adesanya in February and lost via unanimous decision.
This time, he stared down Jared Cannonier on the other side of the octagon but this bout did not go the distance. The first round TKO took the arena by shock after a savage leg kick stopped Silva being able to continue. After adding a legendary name to his resume, it’s time to wonder who could be next? I think Cannonier should take on Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. The officially ranked number six, is coming off of a loss to Jack Hermansson in April 2019 and will be looking to get a win to get him back on track. A win for either fighter would be of huge significance.
The main event was next, a woman’s strawweight showdown between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade. Rose came into the fight proving why she was the current champ and put in a fantastic performance in the first round as well as the start of the second but Andrade turned things around and scored a KO in the second round after lifting Rose off her feet and slamming her onto her head and neck.
It was a savage KO and Andrade was announced as the new strawweight champion, and as such she now has the pick of the crop to decide who to defend her title against. Many fans are calling for an immediate rematch between Namajunas and Andrade but this looks unlikely at the moment as Rose showed signs of not being willing to carry on fighting after this loss, so retirement for her is a very real possibility.
If Rose does decide to not carry on, and hang up her gloves I would like to see Tatiana Suarez be Jessica’s first title defense. On an impressive win streak, Suarez is the officially ranked number three and deserves her shot.