With UFC 208 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers and what’s next for them. Islam Makhachev Overview: The Dagestani fighter and training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov was tasked with a tough fight at UFC 208 against American Nik Lentz, who is a grinding fighter that has proven tough to outwork in his time in the UFC. Makhachev not only beat Lentz, but he also dominated every round of the fight, taking Lentz to the mat rather easily and threatening with ground-and-pound to nearly get a stoppage late in the fight. It was Makhachev’s second straight win, and he now holds a 3-1 record in the promotion. What’s Next: Makhachev has now beaten fighters with wrestling-based game plans in his last two fights. His victories have proven it’s time for a real step up in competition. Brazilian Gleison Tibau has proven to be one of the most difficult fighters to take to the mat in the UFC. Nurmagomedov struggled to get him to the mat earlier in his career, so one has to believe Makhachev will have the same issues. Therefore, Makhachev will have to find a different way to win, and that’s what makes this bout intriguing. Germaine de Randamie Overview: Any fighter that becomes a newly crowned UFC champion is always going to be one of the big winners on a card. While de Randamie is never going to be a wildly cheered-for fighter, her strikes after the bell in two rounds of her fight with Holly Holm got her acknowledged. It’s not positive press, but dislike also sells. People will pay to root against a fighter, so de Randamie’s late blows are a blessing in disguise. What’s Next: More good news for de Randamie is that Cris Cyborg’s suspension is likely to be reduced. The most lucrative fight available for de Randamie is against Cyborg. The Brazilian has made a name for herself as the best female fighter in the world, and beating Holm put de Randamie in a position to get that fight. If de Randamie can beat Cyborg, she has the opportunity to become a star of her own. If she loses, she still gets a big payday. All in all, it’s a winning situation for the Dutch kickboxer. Anderson Silva Overview: Prior to UFC 208, Silva had lost four out of his last five fights and was in danger of losing his relevancy in the middleweight division. It certainly wasn’t without controversy, but Silva did get his hand raised at UFC 208 with a decision victory over fellow Top 10 185-pounder Derek Brunson. There were flashes of the Silva of old with his dancing in the cage and counter-striking ability. What’s Next: With Michael Bisping still the reigning UFC middleweight champion, Silva certainly has a claim to an opportunity at the title. Silva floored Bisping at the end of the third round of their previous fight. Herb Dean believed the bell had rung before he could end the fight, therefore Bisping was saved by the bell. It was a very close fight — one in which Bisping won a narrow decision on the scorecards. The fight was also very entertaining and deserves a rematch. Now I don’t think it’s worthy of a title rematch, but the way Bisping has campaigned for fights against others not at the top of the contender list, it would not surprise me at all if Silva got a crack at the title next.
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