What’s Next: UFC Vegas 82 Losers

Paul Craig, UFC Vegas 82
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 17: Paul Craig of Scotland poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on November 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The latest Apex-based Fight Night card saw Scotland’s Paul Craig suffer his first loss as a middleweight, falling to former LFA champ Brendan Allen. What comes next for Craig and the losing side of the UFC Vegas 82 main card? Read on!

Paul Craig

Scottish submission savant Paul Craig got utterly stymied in his first main event opportunity, and his second middleweight fight in the UFC, when he ran into Brendan Allen. Craig still is ranked at 185-lbs and should fight another ranked middleweight with his 1-1 divisional record.

The only option ranked under him currently who is not booked is Anthony ‘Fluffy’ Hernandez. ‘Fluffy’ has a similar style to Brendan Allen in some ways; he can strikes but prefers to press forward, wrestle, and hunt a finish on the ground. Craig is more than willing to engage their due to his jiu-jitsu, but has been beaten there a few times now. To stay ranked he will need to prove he can grow as a fighter and overcome this hurdle.

Craig’s Next Fight: Anthony Hernandez

Jake Matthews

Matthews continued his recent streak of trading wins and losses when he lost by decision to undefeated prospect Michael Morales in UFC Vegas 82’s co-main event. The Australian has been a mainstay of the UFC welterweight division for a long time, building an impressive 12-7 record in the promotion. He has long put on exciting fights, making him a man consistently tapped for relatively big fights given his unranked status.

He will have to rebound from this loss, but the options are endless. Fighters like Max Griffin, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Daniel Rodriguez have all lost two of their last three fights, just like Jake. All of these fighters could make for an exciting striking battle but also have well-rounded skills. Perhaps most sensible would be Max “Pain” Griffin, who also lost to Michael Morales in his last fight, putting him and Jake on a relatively even playing field in terms of their divisional position.

Matthews’ Next Fight: Max Griffin

Jordan Leavitt

Jordan ‘The Monkey King’ Leavitt chased a leg lock against submission specialist Chase Hooper, got his back taken, and got choked out to lose. He took it in good spirits as ever, made easier by his still-winning record in the UFC of 4-3. Leavitt could fight any number of athletes in the stacked lightweight waters.

Chilean fighter Ignacio Bahamondes has a similar record in the UFC of 3-2, but brings an entirely different style to the table with his electric kickboxing. That fight would be a true clash of styles and give one man back an upward trajectory in the division after both lost their last fight.

Leavitt’s Next Fight: Ignacio Bahamondes

Nick Aguirre

Aguirre had success early but ultimately lost to prospect Payton Talbott in his second of two UFC bouts. His back is against the wall now and he will need to win his next fight in order to keep his job with the promotion. He will be matched against a fellow inexperienced fighter again, many of whom just won contracts on the newest season of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Victor Hugo was meant to debut two weeks ago against Daniel Marcos but his weight miss caused the bout to be canceled. Marcos still needs to compete in his first UFC fight, and if he can get his weight in order then perhaps Aguirre would be a good opponent.

Aguirre’s Next Fight: Victor Hugo

Luana Pinheiro

Ninth-ranked strawweight Luana Pinheiro lost for the first time in the UFC to hard-nosed veteran Amanda Ribas. After comfortably winning the first round, Pinheiro lost all momentum as Ribas’ pace, pressure, and toughness wore her down until Amanda got the finish in the third. Pinheiro still has a future at strawweight, especially since the fight before this was a win over veteran contender Michelle Waterson-Gomez, but will probably need to dip her toes into the unranked waters before coming back to fighting ranked foes.

Two unranked strawweights on two-fight UFC winning streaks are Loma Lookboonmee and Viktoria Dudakova. Lookboonmee is a Muay Thai specialist who is developing a well-rounded skillset and got her first career submission in her last fight. Dudakova is undefeated at 8-0, two fights into her UFC contract. With under ten fights, perhaps it would be better to build Viktoria up slower and give Lookboonmee the opportunity to fight for a ranked spot against Pinheiro.

Pinheiro’s Next Fight: Loma Lookboonmee

Uroš Medić

Uroš Medić’s two-fight winning streak was snapped as he lost for the first time in his new division, welterweight, against short notice debutant Myktybek Orolbai Uulu. Medić old weakness to grappling got exposed as the Kygystani fighter took him down and submitted the Serb in the second round.

Medić’s fight before this one still proved he can be a force in the division as he beat the more experienced and strongly favored Matt Semelsberger in an all-out war. Uroš has shown to be all-action, just like fellow welterweight Li Jingliang, who would make a perfect opponent for his next fight coming off of his loss to Daniel Rodriguez. No matter what card it appears on, that fight would be a surefire ‘Fight of the Night’ shortlist member.

Medić’s Next Fight: Li Jingliang