The Vanquished: What’s Next for the UFC Fight Night 160 Losers?

By Abhinav Kini Sep 29, 2019

Jared Cannonier on Saturday made it 3-for-3 as a middleweight with a second-round technical knockout of Jack Hermansson in the UFC Fight Night 160 main event at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. With his latest performance, “The Killa Gorilla” joined a growing list of potential title contenders at 185 pounds.

Meanwhile, Mark O. Madsen enjoyed a successful promotional debut against Danilo Belluardo; Gilbert Burns outpointed Gunnar Nelson; Ion Cutelaba disposed of Khalil Rountree inside one round; Ovince St. Preux returned to his winning ways against Michal Oleksiejczuk; and Nicolas Dalby made a triumphant return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the expense of Alex Oliveira.

What comes next for the UFC Fight Night “Hermansson vs. Cannonier” losers? Some ideas:

Jack Hermansson vs. Kelvin Gastelum-Darren Till loser: Hermansson suffered his first defeat since 2017 against Cannonier, but all is not lost. “The Joker” will remain highly ranked, and a bounce-back win could see him shoot right back into title contention. A potential next fight that makes sense? His meeting the loser of the upcoming UFC 244 clash between Gastelum and Till on Nov. 2.

Danilo Belluardo vs. Kyle Prepolec: Belluardo’s quick defeat at Madsen’s hands leaves him at 0-2 under the UFC banner. The possibility exists that the Italian could be cut. However, should he remain with the organization, an outing against Prepolec -- also 0-2 with the UFC -- would fit the bill in a potential loser-leaves-town matchup.

Gunnar Nelson vs. Curtis Millender: Nelson’s unanimous decision defeat to Burns marked his third loss in four fights. While “Gunni” is no danger of being cut from the UFC given his popularity, he does need to get back on the right side of the ledger at some point. On a two-fight losing streak of his own after dropping a unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad in April, Millender would provide him with an opportunity to do so. If not Millender, then perhaps the UFC can arrange a meeting Thiago Alves -- the man Nelson was originally scheduled to face at UFC Fight Night 160.

Khalil Rountree vs. Alonzo Menifield-Trevor Smith loser: Rountree failed to build on his impressive win against Eryk Anders and instead wound up getting finished by Cutelaba. As a result, “The War Horse” has alternated wins and losses in each of his last four outings. An appropriate next assignment could involve the loser of Menifield-Smith, scheduled for UFC on ESPN 7 in December.

Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Paul Craig: Oleksiejczuk was again impressive until he gassed and eventually fell prey to St. Preux’s trademark shoulder choke. It was the Pole’s first setback since 2014 and moved him to 2-1 in the UFC. At just 24 years of age, Oleksiejczuk’s future remains bright. An all-European confrontation with Craig, who submitted Vinicius Moreira Castro on Sept. 21, would make sense next.

Alex Oliveira vs. Alexey Kunchenko: Oliveira finds himself on a three-fight losing streak for the first time following his unanimous decision defeat to Dalby. However, the Brazilian “Cowboy” has not been completely outclassed in all those losses. Still, he needs to return to the win column to stay relevant at 170 pounds. One possibility that seems appropriate: a matchup with Kunchenko, who suffered his first professional defeat to Burns on Aug. 10.

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