UFC 281 went down last night (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., featuring a Middleweight title fight that saw Alex Pereira take out Israel Adesanya via a come-from-behind technical knockout win in round five (see it again here). In the co-main event, Zhang Weili reclaimed the women’s Strawweight champion, choking out Carla Esparza in the second round (highlights), while Dustin Poirier choked out Michael Chandler in a thrilling Lightweight bout.
Winner: Alex Pereira
Who He Should Fight Next: Israel Adesanya rematch
This one is pretty much a given. UFC president, Dana White, has already gone on record to say he’s not opposed to having them run it back, and it makes sense since “Izzy” has dominated the Middleweight division for some time now. And spare me the “Pereira is up 3-0, so there’s no need for a fourth fight” talk. Yes, “Poatan” has three wins over Adesanya but only one of those was inside the Octagon. Furthermore, Adesanya was well on his way to winning the fight on the scorecards, so this one is a no-brainer.
Winner: Zhang Weili
Who She Should Fight Next: Amanda Lemos
Most are calling for Rose Namajunas to get the fight against Zhang since she is ranked No. 1 and has two wins over “Magnum.” But let’s not forget that “Thug Rose” is coming off a dreadful performance and loss to Carla Esparza, so I would like to see her get a win under her belt before fighting for the title again. For my money, Amanda Lemos should get the fight since she has won two in a row and is 7-1 in her last eight fights inside the Octagon and is ranked No. 3 at the moment. Plus, how long can we keep seeing the same trio of ladies in Esparza, Zhang and Namajunas fight one another for the titles. Lemos has proven her worth and it’s time for some new blood to get in the mix.
Winner: Dustin Poirier
Who He Should Fight Next: Beneil Dariush
If not for UFC deciding to book Alexander Volkanovski against Islam Makhachev, Poirier would likely be facing the newly-crowned Lightweight king first. But, the same thing could be said for Dariush. Instead, both men will have to wait to see how their title fight unfolds at UFC 284. In the mean time, why not have Poirier and Dariush face off to see who gets the winner? It’s a good fight to take for both men and it would be a great one, at that.
Winner: Chris Gutierrez
Who He Should Face Next: Adrian Yanez
Sure, a win over Frankie Edgar these days isn’t the same as it was say five years ago, but there’s nothing to take away from Gutierrez’s knockout win over “The Answer” because, let’s face it, he has been on a roll for some time now, winning four straight and seven of his last eight inside the Octagon. Yanez has also been on a stellar run, winning his first six fights inside the Octagon. Both men are talented up-and-comers in the Bantamweight division, with Yanez currently ranked No. 14 and Gutierrez eyeing his first such spot. They are bound to cross paths at some point in their careers. may as well be now.
Winner: Dan Hooker
Who He Should Face Next: Renato Moicano
Hooker picked up a much-needed win by taking out Claudio Puelles in the second round with a nice kick to the body, giving him his first victory in over a year. “The Hangman” now has some much-needed confidence and a boost of momentum after snapping his two-fight skid. As for Moicano, he also got back in the winning track by submitting Brad Riddell in the very first round via rear-naked choke (see it here). Both men have a long way to go before the get a chance to crack the Top 15, so they have to chip away little by little.
For complete UFC 281 results and coverage click here.