After a three-year absence, the UFC made their long-awaited return to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for UFC 206. In front of over 18,000 fans, the card exceeded expectations by a landslide after all of the criticism it took. Now it’s time to play matchmaker and determine who is next for the main card winners.
In the main event, Max Holloway became the first man to stop Anthony Pettis to win the interim UFC featherweight champion. His next fight will more than likely be the unification bout with Jose Aldo for the undisputed featherweight title.
As for the co-main event, Donald Cerrone knocked Matt Brown out to continue his tear as a welterweight. Who will be the next test at 170-pounds for “Cowboy”?
Article continues below ...
Toronto may be home to another Fight of the Year as Cub Swanson handed Doo Ho Choi his first UFC loss in the Fight of the Night. How will Swanson follow that performance up after an amazing fight?
Kelvin Gastelum made his return to middleweight and should make it his permanent home after finishing Tim Kennedy. Who should he fight next?
Lastly, to open up the main card, Emil Meek made a successful promotional debut over the returning Jordan Mein. Who will “Valhalla” fight next in his sophomore Octagon appearance?
All of these questions will be answered in this UFC 206 edition of Post-Fight Matchmaking.
Want your voice heard? Join the Cage Pages team!
Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo
A star was indeed born Saturday night as Max Holloway became the interim featherweight champion.
“Blessed” earned a third-round TKO over Anthony Pettis, extending his winning streak to 10. The 25-year-old Hawaiian earned his third Performance of the Night bonus and seventh stoppage during the streak.
This victory will set Holloway up to unify his title with the featherweight championship, held by Jose Aldo (26-2). Dana White told Holloway inside the Octagon that the bout should be the main event of UFC 208 in Brooklyn, New York, in February.
Aldo became the interim featherweight champion after beating Frankie Edgar again via unanimous decision in July. However, after Conor McGregor relinquished the undisputed UFC featherweight championship, the interim label was removed from Aldo’s title.
The 30-year-old Brazilian is 8-1 in the UFC with his lone loss being to Conor McGregor. He also has three Fight of the Night bonuses and has won 19 of his last 20 fights.
Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler
Donald Cerrone (32-7, 1 NC) knocked Matt Brown out in the third with a head kick in the co-main event.
“Cowboy” is 4-0 since moving up to welterweight and has finished all of those fights. The 33-year-old veteran is 19-4 with 13 post-fight bonuses since being brought over to the UFC from the WEC.
Get the FanSided App
With his impressive run at welterweight, Cerrone should be rewarded with a top ranked opponent. He was in talks to face Robbie Lawler (27-11, 1 NC) in New York at UFC 205 in November. However, Lawler turned it down to continue his recovery from his last fight. If Lawler is ready, the former UFC welterweight champion should fight Cerrone next.
Lawler, 34, lost his title in his last fight at UFC 201 in Atlanta after being knocked out by Tyron Woodley in July.
“Ruthless” had his five-fight winning streak snapped, where he earned three Fight of the Night bonuses and successfully defended the gold twice during that span. He is 8-2 since making his return to the UFC.
Cub Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas 2
In the Fight of the Night – possibly year – Cub Swanson (24-7) earned the unanimous decision over Doo Ho Choi.
The 33-year-old Palm Springs native has now won three consecutive fights after riding a two-fight losing skid. He is 9-3 with five post-fight bonuses since making the transition from the WEC to the UFC.
In 2011, Swanson made his promotional debut but was submitted by Ricardo Lamas (17-5) via second-round arm triangle. With their places in the UFC featherweight rankings, it’s the perfect time to book the rematch.
Lamas, 34, submitted Charles Oliveira via second-round guillotine choke last month at The Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale in Mexico. “The Bully” also earned a Performance of the Night bonus and improves to 8-3 since making his featherweight debut.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Krzysztof Jotko
In his return to middleweight, Kelvin Gastelum (13-2) picked Tim Kennedy apart in the third before getting the TKO.
The 25-year-old prospect has won consecutive bouts for the first time since 2014. He is 8-2 since competing on TUF 17, where he won the tournament as the last pick on Team Sonnen.
If Gastelum is denied the move back down to welterweight, he should fight Krzysztof Jotko (19-1) next.
Jotko won a unanimous decision over Thales Leites in his last fight at UFC Sao Paulo last month. The 27-year-old Polish dark horse is on a five-fight winning streak and is 6-1 in the UFC.
Emil Meek (9-2, 1 NC), 28, spoiled Jordan Mein’s return to MMA following the unanimous decision win for his promotional debut. It was the first time “Valhalla” won by points and is on a four-fight winning streak.
For his sophomore UFC fight, the Norwegian should fight another veteran. He is not as experienced as Mein, but Erick Silva (19-7, 1 NC) would be another good test.
Silva submitted Luan Chagas in the third round via rear naked choke at UFC Brasilia in September. “The Tiger” earned his third Fight of the Night bonus of his career, as well as his seventh post-fight bonus.