Proving the doubters of his evolution wrong, Francis Ngannou would showcase a developed takedown defence as well as a patient striking approach to capture the UFC heavyweight championship at the second time of asking.
Challenging Stipe Miocic again three years removed from their first clash, ‘The Predator’ would stuff the champion’s lone takedown attempt of the fight, score a knockdown, and finally a knockout to put his name in the history books.
With a backstory that is truly rags to riches, Ngannou is a massive draw in waiting for the UFC and hopefully, the promotion can push a man who deserves every success into superstardom.
UFC 260 would also see more potential stars produce big wins as Vicente Luque would hand former champion Tyron Woodley his first submission loss, Sean O’Malley would rebound into the win column with a third-round KO, and Miranda Maverick would defeat her first ranked opponent at women’s flyweight.
Now with a week off from the UFC’s relentless schedule, here are five fights to make with the winners of Saturday’s main card:
Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones
Simply put, Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones is the biggest fight that the UFC can make today.
Pitting a destructive force against arguably the greatest of all time moving up a weight class is a monumental PPV draw and any other fight for the two would be promotional malpractice.
Despite UFC president Dana White’s assertion that a fighter of his is scared of another (where have I heard that one before?), Jones should rightfully receive the increase in pay he deserves, as well as Ngannou, for being one half of what will likely be the biggest PPV event they do this year.
Vicente Luque vs. Colby Covington
Showing a remarkable recovery after a punch landed behind the ear, Vicente Luque would rebound against Tyron Woodley to sink in a first-round brabo choke.
Starting off the fight-ending sequence with a heavy counter right hand, Luque would extend his winning streak to three and a promotional record of 13-3.
With such an impressive run of form behind him, Luque deserves another step-up in competition and with his call-out of Nate Diaz misguided, a fight with Colby Covington would set the winner apart in a chasing welterweight pack.
Sean O'Malley vs. Ricky Simon
While Sean O’Malley’s offense looked slick on Saturday night, his fight against Thomas Almeida was clearly a tune-up fight and nothing more.
As someone who has called for more tune-up fights by the UFC, it’s smart by the promotion to get an exciting and potential star back into the win column but it has to be remembered that a win over a fighter who last tasted victory in 2016 is not a great barometer of where O’Malley can go at 135 lbs.
With O’Malley lacking any notable name on his record to stand up and take notice of, the UFC should be looking at matching him up with a tough opponent.
Following Ricky Simon putting together a three-fight winning streak, Simon deserves a crack at a higher-profile fighter and a bout between the two would give the winner a massive boost.
Miranda Maverick vs. Lee / Shevchenko Winner
At 23-years old, Miranda Maverick looks to have a successful MMA career ahead of her.
Defeating the #15 ranked Gillian Robertson via unanimous decision, Maverick has all the tools to develop into a top fighter at 125 lbs as long as she is given the time to do so.
While Maverick should be looking up the rankings for her next fight, a steady climb would be best suited for such a young prospect and with the #11 and #12 ranked Andrea Lee and Antonina Shevchenko set to square off in May, the winner should be lined up for a fight with Maverick.
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Lando Vannata
Capitalising on the questionable chin of Khama Worthy, Jamie Mullarkey would pick up his first UFC win in the UFC 260 main card opener.
With his first octagon ‘W’ under his belt, Mullarkey should join the ranks of the lightweight division’s striking entertainers and a fight with the similarly fun Lando Vannata would be another excellent fight to kick off a PPV main card.