On Saturday night in Anaheim, California, UFC delivered what was arguably 2017’s best PPV to date. In the early Fight Pass prelims, Kailin Curran (4-5) met Alexandra Albu (7-0) in a thrilling strawweight bout. Both fighters had their moments throughout the exciting three round war, but in the end, it was Albu who got her hand raised. Later that night, former long-reigning Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger (19-6, 1 NC) clashed with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (18-1, 1 NC) for the vacant UFC featherweight title. As expected, Cyborg came out ultra aggressive and pushed the pace. Evinger showed a ton of heart and gained a legion of fans with her grit, but in the third round Cyborg’s attack proved too much and Evinger collapsed under a barrage of punches and knees.
So, what’s next for the women of UFC 214?
Curran’s UFC record fell to 1-5 with her decision loss to Albu on Saturday. With three losses in her last four fights, Curran’s UFC status unknown. Despite not exactly finding her rhythm in the UFC, Curran puts on exciting fights and has loads of potential. There is an underdog-esque quality about Curran that makes her hard not to root for. Perhaps a good next fight for Curran could be against Jessica Penne, who is riding a three-fight skid of her own. Curran vs Penne would be a fun stylistic clash that gives both women the opportunity to get back into the winning column.
Alexandra Albu fought for the first time since 2015 in an FOTN-worthy bout against a gritty Kailin Curran. The combination of Albu’s brute strength and wild technique make her both an exciting and dangerous fighter. With Albu looking to take a more active role in fighting again, there are lots of possibilities that make for thrilling match-ups. The fight that makes sense for Albu to take next right now is against Danielle Taylor. Taylor is coming off of back-to-back wins over Seo Hee Ham and Jessica Penne. She packs a powerful punch but often likes to utilize her footwork and circle to the outside, waiting for her opponents to engage first. The aggressive brawling style of Albu would force Taylor to engage and make for an extremely entertaining strawweight affair.
Tonya Evinger has finally made her UFC debut– though she didn’t come out on top as she hoped for, Evinger has nothing to be ashamed about. Evinger gained a legion of fans Saturday night when she displayed pure heart and toughness against arguably the number one women’s fighter on the planet. Now that she is finally in the UFC, fight fans will get the opportunity to see how Tonya stacks up against the organization’s top-ranked fighters. Having confirmed that her next fight will be at 135 , there are a quite a few names in the division that match-up well with her. Perhaps a rematch with Racquel Pennington, who defeated her in 2013 when trying to get into the TUF 18 house, or fight with Julianna Peña, who suffered her first UFC loss earlier this year, make for goodmatchups. Another possibility is the winner of Germaine de Randamie vs Marion Reneau, coming up later this year.
Cris Cyborg made the most of her opportunity to finally fight for UFC gold last Saturday when she TKO’d an insanely durable and gritty Tonya Evinger. On paper, the featherweight division is extremely shallow due to the UFC’s lack of signees– however, there are a few names that might be willing to step in against the new champ. The first choice would be Megan Anderson, the former Invicta FC featherweight champion who laid claim to the belt after Cyborg vacated it to sign with the UFC. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 214 but Anderso withdrew from the bout due to “personal issues”. Another option for Cyborg is former bantamweight champion Holly Holm— in the post fight press conference Dana White claimed that he spoke to Holm and she “seems interested”. He also said it is a match-up that he likes. Lastly, a third alternative is Cat Zingano. Though Zingano will likely need to string together a couple of wins before challenging for a title, Zingano and Cyborg have recently engaged in a war of words on Twitter that has fans interested in the potential future match-up.
With UFC 214 complete, who would you like to see each fighter face next?