What’s next for the stars of UFC 286?

By Cole Shelton - March 20, 2023

The UFC returned to the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday for UFC 286 which saw the welterweight title up for grabs.

Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman, UFC 286

In the main event, Leon Edwards was looking to defend his belt for the first time at home in the trilogy match against Kamaru Usman. The co-main event of UFC 286 saw Justin Gaethje return to the Octagon against Rafael Fiziev.

In the end, it was Edwards defending his belt as he edged out a majority decision win after he was deducted a point in the fight. Gaethje also won a majority decision over Fiziev at UFC 286 in a fan-friendly scrap. Now, after UFC 286, here is what I think should be next for the four fighters involved in the big fights.

Leon Edwards

Leon Edwards proved his KO win over Kamaru Usman back in August wasn’t a fluke as he had a much better performance to get the decision win. The Brit had great takedown defense and landed some big shots to win the rounds and get a decision.

Once Edwards won, many were uncertain who would be next. But Dana White announced it would be Colby Covington that would be next for Edwards. Although many are critical of ‘Chaos’ getting the next shot, that appears to be the fight that should happen in the summer.

Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman said he will continue fighting after UFC 286, which did surprise many but ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is confident he will see Leon Edwards again.

Although Usman lost, the fight was still competitive but the welterweight division is tied up so he will have to fight further down. A logical next fight is facing Stephen Thompson – which could serve as a Fight Night main event in a pivotal fight for both of their careers.

Justin Gaethje

Rafael Fiziev, Justin Gaethje, UFC 286, UFC

Justin Gaethje returned to the win column in a great fight against Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286. In the first round, Fiziev looked much faster but Gaethje was able to start landing big shots in the second and third rounds and even got a takedown to secure the decision win.

Now, with the win, Gaethje is right back in the title picture and the fight that should be next is the rematch against Dustin Poirier. It can be a Fight Night main event or a co-main on a pay-per-view – and preferably a five-rounder – with the winner getting a title shot after the winner of Oliveira-Dariush faces Islam Makhachev in October.

Rafael Fiziev

Although Rafael Fiziev lost to Justin Gaethje at UFC 286, his stock didn’t drop as he proved he can still hang with the top lightweights. Fiziev is still a dynamic striker but will need some time off after all the damage he took. But, when he returns, one fight that makes a lot of sense is facing Mateusz Gamrot who is coming off a decision win over Jalin Turner.

What do you think should be next for the stars of UFC 286?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Justin Gaethje Kamaru Usman Leon Edwards Rafael Fiziev UFC