In the main event of UFC Vegas 66, a middleweight bout between Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland headlined the card.
Cannonier was coming off a lackluster decision loss to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title back in July. Prior to that, he knocked out Derek Brunson at UFC 271 to earn the shot at the belt. Meanwhile, Strickland was coming off a KO loss to Alex Pereira in a title eliminator bout that snapped his six-fight win streak.
Ultimately, Cannonier edged out a split decision win in a competitive scrap. Now, after the final event of 2022, here is what I think should be next for both fighters involved in the fight.
Jared Cannonier was coming off a lackluster decision to Israel Adesanya in a fight he didn’t do much in and many were critical of his performance. Against Strickland at UFC Vegas 66, he was much more active but the fight was competitive and when it went to the scorecards, many were torn on who won, but it was Cannonier who got his hand raised.
With Cannonier getting his hand raised, he is back in the title picture but the top of the division is murky. Pereira and Adesanya are likely to run it back while Vettori-Dolidze is booked. With that, Cannonier may have to wait to see how those fights play out before he gets booked again. He could get the loser of the title fight, but the more logical fight is to face the winner of Vettori-Dolidze in the summer.
Sean Strickland has lost two fights in a row for the first time in his career as before the loss to Cannonier, he was knocked out by Alex Pereira. With the loss, Strickland will need to fight below him a couple of times before working his way back up to a title fight.
As mentioned above, the middleweight division already has a ton of fights booked, but one fight that does make sense is to Dricus Du Plessis. Yet, to me, I think the fight to make is Strickland vs. the winner of Nassourdine Imavov vs. Kelvin Gastelum which is a fight that can headline a UFC Fight Night.
What do you think should be next for Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland after UFC Vegas 66?