On Saturday night, the UFC made it’s first stop of the year in Brazil with the 13-fight UFC Fortaleza card.
Headlining the card was a battle of two top bantamweight contenders in Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes. Ultimately, Moraes submitted Assuncao in the first round to become the clear cut number one contender in the bantamweight division.
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo made his return to Brazil to take on streaking contender Renato Moicano. Aldo proved to be too much too soon for Moicano as he won by TKO early into the second round. Now, the question remains of who gets the next title shot at 145 pounds?
Here is what we think should be next for these four fighters.
Marlon Moraes used to be the former World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion and when he came over to the UFC his first fight was against Assuncao. Assuncao ended up winning by split decision, and since that loss, Moraes went on a three-fight winning streak. He beat John Dodson by decision, Aljamain Sterling by knockout and Jimmie Rivera by knockout before beating Assuncao by submission last night.
Now, there is no question Moraes’ next fight will be for the 135-pound title. However, what isn’t known is if he will get the shot right away against current champion, TJ Dillashaw, or if he will he have to wait as Henry Cejudo could get the shot before him. Whatever the case, Moraes should only be fighting for the title in his next fight.
Assuncao was looking to earn a trilogy fight with Dillashaw, but in the end, suffered just his third loss in 14 UFC fights. Assuncao is still a top contender in the bantamweight division but will have to string together a few more wins to get a shot for the title.
A logical next fight for him would be against John Lineker. Lineker was supposed to fight two weekends ago but couldn’t due to an injury. However, he is still ranked in the bantamweight top-10, at number six, and with a win over him, Assuncao could vie for another number one contender fight.
After Jose Aldo lost back-to-back fights with Max Holloway, many thought his career might be over. However, the former champion has turned back the clock with impressive wins over Jeremy Stephens and now Renato Moicano. Although Aldo is once again the top contender, he most likely will not get another title shot. In fact, he recently came out and said he just wants to fight in Brazil in 2019, and then retire.
The next card in Brazil is UFC 237 in Curitiba. If he does fight there, a fight that many would love to see one with former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis. However, this fight would only work if Pettis doesn’t sustain too much damage in his welterweight fight against Stephen Thompson. If that fight can’t happen, Aldo could fight at featherweight against streaking contender Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237.
This was a big opportunity for Renato Moicano. He was taking on the former champion in Aldo. With a win, he would most likely be getting the next feather title shot. However, after winning the first round, Aldo put it on Moicano in the second round before the ref stopped the fight.
Now Moicano will have to go back to the drawing board to climb the rankings again. A fight that makes sense is fighting eighth-ranked Mirsad Bektic. The two were supposed to fight at UFC 231, however, Bektic had to pull out with an injury. Now, the fight makes more sense than ever. The winner would then be one or two wins away from a title shot.
What do you think should be next for these four fighters?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/3/2019.