Opinion: What’s next for Jorge Masvidal?

Cool, calm and collected; three words that characterise Jorge Masvidal during the run up to his main event clash with Darren Till at UFC Fight Night London.

These three words also serve to describe the American Top Team mainstay’s approach after falling victim to a straight left from Till early on before landing a vicious knockout on the Liverpudlian in the second round.

After a shaky opening minute, Jorge forced a change in the tide in hostile territory and he began fighting from the fence and countering ‘The Gorilla’ on numerous occasions.

Despite the damaging shots from ‘Gamebred’, Till called the striker on and payed the ultimate price mid-way through the second round – a left overhand which completely switched his lights off.

Masvidal followed up with a right hand, and after Darren collided with the canvas beneath, he was met with a left hand before Marc Goddard peeled him off.

Till was ranked at third in the UFC welterweight division heading into the clash. The vicious victory over the one time title challenger in Till will surely catapult him through the top ten into a potential title eliminator at the very least.

Leon Edwards: Bad blood is almost an understatement at this stage.

A heated altercation between the two after the culmination of Saturday’s card resulted in Jorge landing a “three piece and a soda” on Leon, who interrupted his post fight interview with Laura Sanko.

Edwards is alleged to have called for a July meeting with Masvidal which resulted in Jorge’s retaliation, and this ‘beef’ between the pair is sure to escalate in the coming days and weeks.

Edwards looked great against submission specialist Gunnar Nelson in the co-headliner and called for the winner of the subsequent main event in his Octagon interview with Dan Hardy. How about the UFC pit them together for UFC 239 during International Fight Week?

Ben Askren: One man with a keen eye on proceedings on Saturday night was recent UFC debutante Ben Askren. The undefeated wrestling phenom was in attendance at the O2 Arena and was widely expected to be paired off with the main event winner.

‘Funky’ Ben and Darren Till exchanged some barbs via Twitter in recent weeks, but Jorge’s emergence from London with the victory sets up a tantalizing bout with the former ONE FC lightweight kingpin.

A successful debut win over Robbie Lawler, albeit a vexed win, seen the Olympian slotted right in at the number six spot at 170lbs. Similarly to a potential Edwards meeting, a July date would be ideal for this one.

Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis Winner: Despite spending some considerable time in the same division in among the upper echelon contenders, Jorge Masvidal and Anthony Pettis are yet to meet in the Octagon. This striking affair becomes a legitimate possibility if the division jumper Pettis overcomes ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in Nashville this weekend.

The three men in question are absolute snipers on the feet in contrasting ways. A bout would be sure to offer fireworks.

Despite already meeting back in late 2017, Thompson and ‘Gamebred’ could easily run it back considering the ongoing personal issues Masvidal was dealing with and has since thankfully resolved.

Kamaru Usman: The least likely match up realistically, but the champ is supposedly chomping at the bit at the prospect of defending his crown against Jorge Masvidal.

Usman displayed a flawless grappling game to neutralize long time champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 and is already chalked up to fight Colby Covington in the coming months once he recovers from surgery on his broken foot.

I’m sure Jorge also has no problem leapfrogging fellow American Top Team teammate, Covington into contention judging by his post fight comments where he expressed how “his kids need to eat and go to college”.

Who is your favourite matchup for the Miami based scrapper? I think we can agree, whomever is considered, they are all offering fireworks.

Opinion: What next for Leon Edwards and the other UFC Singapore main card winners?

After an entertaining night of fights in Singapore, Leon Edwards has made it perfectly clear that the UFC has another young, British star on the rise in the welterweight division with his unanimous decision win over Donald Cerrone. Ovince Saint Preux proved he still has plenty of offer at 205lbs with his quick fire submission win over Australia’s Tyson Pedro. Jessica Eye looks to have found her home at flyweight with a unanimous decision win over Jessica-Rose Clark and Li Jingliang put on a striking clinic against Daichi Abe on his way to earning a unanimous decision win of his own.

I’ve taken a look at what could be next for Li Jingliang, Jessica Eye, Ovince Saint Preux and Leon Edwards following a successful nights work in Singapore.

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Opinion: What’s next for Alexander Volkov and the other UFC London winners?

The UFC’s 10th visit to London may have lost a couple of fights along the way but it still managed to deliver above and beyond all expectations. There were mixed results for two of the British fighters on the main card at the O2 Arena. A changing of the guard in the heavyweight division, along with a bounce back win for a young bantamweight prospect. Below, I take a look at who should be next for the four fighters who emerged victorious on the main card.

Leon Edwards (15-3-0)

Leon Edwards win

After snatching a literal last second stoppage victory against Peter Sobotta, Birmingham’s Leon Edwards wasted no time in calling out fellow British welterweight Darren Till. While the call out came as no surprise to anyone watching, I feel it was made out of hope rather than expectation.

The win over Sobotta brings Edwards’ UFC win streak up to five fights. Unfortunately for Edwards, beating the unranked Sobotta is unlikely to improve on his current number 15 ranking in the welterweight division.

I believe it’s time Edwards looked for a ranked opponent and I can see no better option than Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (16-3-1). There had been rumours of Nelson facing Darren Till, with the now scrapped UFC Dublin discussed as a potential location. I honestly don’t see Till vs Nelson happening any time soon, but the prospect of him facing Leon Edwards is an intriguing one.

Nelson is looking to bounce back from a controversial knockout loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio last July. While Gunni is understandably aiming a little higher up the rankings, a win over Edwards would put him in a position to prove he deserves to fight a top 10 fighter. For Edwards, Nelson would be by far his biggest fight since picking up a unanimous decision loss against Kamaru Usman back in December 2015. A win against the SBG trained Nelson, would cement his claim that he deserves a top 10 fight next.

Tom Duquesnoy (16-2-0, 1 n/c)

Tom Duquesnoy win

24-year-old prospect Tom Duquesnoy bounced back from a split decision loss to Cody Stamann at UFC 216, picked up a somewhat controversial decision win against Terrion Ware.

It was a close fight with both fighters believing they had done enough to secure a victory. While Duquesnoy should consider himself fortunate to have his arm raised, it is important that he takes lessons from the battle with Ware.

While I would like to see Duquesnoy face someone like Renan Barao, I feel it is probably a little soon. To build on his victory over Ware and begin his climb toward the rankings, Duquesnoy should face Joe Soto (18-7-0) next. 30-year-old Soto is on a two fight losing streak against tough competition after picking up loses against Iuri Alcantara and Brett Johns over the last 3 months. With a UFC record of 3-5, Soto could well be fighting for his contract in his next outing which would certainly raise the stakes a little. For Duquesnoy, Soto would be an opportunity for him to gain some more octagon experience and begin to put together a win streak which would leave his disappointing loss to Stamann firmly in the rear view mirror.

Jan Blachowicz (22-7-0)

Jan Blachowicz win

Lets be completely honest with ourselves. Manuwa vs Blachowicz 2 was a rematch nobody wanted to see. That said, in a twist which caught almost everyone by surprise, we were treated to an incredible stand up battle which when all was said and done was worthy of being awarded fight of the night honours.

35-year-old Blachowicz took a deserved victory and leveled his series with Manuwa at one win apiece. It was comfortably the biggest win of the Polish stars career and will almost certainly catapult him up the light heavyweight rankings.

You could argue the case for an immediate rematch with Manuwa but I feel Blachowicz will want to seize this opportunity to cement his place at the top of the division. A match up with Brazilian legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (25-10-0) would certainly be of interest. Both fighters currently hold three fight win steaks and with the rest of top four in the division all booked to fight, this fight makes a lot of sense.

Alexander Volkov (30-6-0)

Alexander Volkov win

Alexander “Drago” Vokov added his 30th professional win and his 20th professional knockout to his resume in London, finishing Fabricio Werdum 1 minute 38 seconds into the fourth round. With the win, the 29-year-old Russian extended his win streak to six fights and now has a perfect 4-0 record since joining the UFC.

I’d like to see Volkov face Mark Hunt (13-12-1, 1 n/c) next. Hunt’s last outing was against rising star Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221 where he was wrestled to a unanimous decision loss. Volkov would be far more likely to engage Hunt in a stand up battle, exactly kind of fight he enjoys. From Volkov’s perspective, Hunt has become something of a gatekeeper to the top five of the heavyweight division. A win against Hunt would solidify his claim at taking on either Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier when they meet later this year. While Hunt would be giving up around 9 inches in height against Volkov, he has proven in the past that he’s capable of finishing fights against fighters much taller than himself.

If this fight happens, and I really hope it does, one way or another someone is getting knocked out.

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