With both Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes heading in very different directions in terms of recent momentum, Ngannou flipped the script on Saturday with a knockout of his opponent inside one minute of the opening bell.
Ngannou had spoken earlier in the week that the devastating striker was back to his best after a disappointing two-fight skid and the Cameroonian-French fighter proved as much in convincing style.
Elsewhere there was a much-needed win for Alistair Overeem as he prevented promotional debutant Sergei Pavlovich from a career-best win; Song Yadong showcased why he is a name to look out for in the bantamweight division and Li Jingliang put on another exciting display before a third-round stoppage.
As we look forward to two UFC events next weekend, here are five fights that the UFC should look to make with the big winners of the promotion’s first event from Beijing, China:
Francis Ngannou vs. Dos Santos/Tuivasa Winner
With two stoppage victories to his name over Curtis Blaydes, Francis Ngannou has put himself back into title contention with an impressive, albeit short, performance.
While there are two contenders sitting above Ngannou with wins over the ‘Predator’, Ngannou will have to put together a decent string of wins before he can think of another title shot.
With Junior dos Santos and Tai Tuivasa set for a five-round fight next weekend, the winner of that bout would make for an interesting and new challenge for the 32-year-old in the new year.
Alistair Overeem vs. Marcin Tybura
While Alistair Overeem has been on the receiving end of some heavy knockouts in recent outings, Overeem made sure he was the one dealing out the damage as he landed some big ground-and-pound on newcomer Sergei Pavlovich.
With Overeem’s latest win, ‘The Demolition Man’ proclaimed that he is back and so he should face a more experienced test in his next outing to test his theory.
With Marcin Tybura recording a win over Stefan Struve in his last bout, a match-up between the two would see where both men line-up in a dangerous heavyweight division.
Song Yadong vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Providing electric pace and a well-rounded skillset, Song Yadong is a name to look out for in the 135 lbs division.
With his latest win, ‘The Kung-Fu Monkey’ has now gone 3-0 in the UFC and at 20-years old he should be eased along his career.
A fight with Andre Soukhamthath would provide a nice step-up in competition and provide Yadong with the opportunity to add another win to his record.
Li Jingliang vs. Millender/Bahadurzada Winner
When he’s not eye-gouging and throwing strikes after the buzzer, Li Jingliang is just a fun fighter to watch.
With an aggressive mindset, Jingliang has won six of his last seven at welterweight and he should be facing a really talented fighter in his next bout.
As Curtis Millender and Siyar Bahadurzada prepare to face each other at the UFC’s year-end PPV, the winner would make for an entertaining contest.
Weili Zhang vs. Randa Markos
Recording her 18th straight victory – and her 16th stoppage – Weili Zhang dominated Jessica Aguilar on the preliminary card of UFC: Beijing.
While she may be 29-years old, Zhang is a part of a new wave of fighters at 115 lbs who look set to overtake some of the old guard in the top 15 at strawweight.
With such an impressive record to her name, Zhang deserves a ranked opponent in her next fight and Randa Markos would make a lot of sense from a meritocracy standpoint.