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Andrews: Who’s next for Alexander Volkanovski and Valentina Shevchenko?

UFC 266 is in the books and now the question is: Who will Dana White put in front of Alexander Volkanovski and Valentina Shevchenko?

Oddsmaker MyBookie has put forth some interesting possibilities for each champion. Let’s take a look at them.

Editor’s Note: Odds are accurate at time of posting and are subject to change. Visit MyBookie for latest information.

#1 MAX HOLLOWAY (22-6-0) +110

Max Holloway
Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

Having defeated Ortega at UFC 231 and lost a controversial rematch with Volkanovski at UFC 251 in July last year, “Blessed” is the most probable choice for next. If Max is ready to go, he should get the nod. Volkanovski earned a ton of respect by beating Ortega the way he did, but many fans still feel he got beat by Holloway in the rematch.

#3 YAIR RODRIGUEZ (13-2-0, 1NC) +150

Yair Rodriguez

Currently ranked No. 3 in the division, on paper “El Pantera” looks like a solid choice. But he hasn’t fought since 2019. He has that win over No. 4 The Korean Zombie, but it may not be enough to secure title shot over …

#2 BRIAN ORTEGA (15-2-0, 1NC) + 200

Brian Ortega

What’s that you say? Ortega just fought for the title? Stranger things have occurred. But “T-City” will likely need some time to heal, which knocks his chances down a bit. But when you put on two Fight-of-the-Year  type fights back-to-back, you are always in the conversation.

ZABIT MAGOMEDSHARIPOV (18-1-0) +350

Zabit Magomedsharipov

ZM has a win over No. 5 Calvin Kattar, but in my opinion needs a few more wins to merit consideration. I noticed when president Dana White was talking about the heavy hitters in the division in an interview, Zabit’s name did not come up.

#5 CALVIN KATTAR (22-5-0) +600

Calvin Kattar

Having lost to Magomedsharipov and Holloway, “The Boston Finisher” lost the contending fight that would have given him the shot. He’s on the outside lane in this conversation unless injuries or COVID steps in – stranger things have happened – Kattar has work to do.

#6 JOANNE CALDERWOOD (15-6-0) +120

Joanne Calderwood

 

If JoJo could have beaten Lauren Murphy, perhaps she would have gotten Murphy’s title shot. But now, she needs several big wins and is on the outside looking in.

#10 ALEXA GRASSO (13-3-0) +150

Alexa Grasso

Grasso is up-and-coming and is at least two or three wins away from a potential title shot. She had a good win over Maycee Barber in her last fight but needs to fight someone in the top 5 before Dana throws her in the fire.

JESSICA ANDRADE (22-9-0) +300

Jessica Andrade
Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

Andrade is not yet officially ranked in the division, but with the big win over Cynthia Calvillio at UFC 266, she will probably take her No. 5 ranking. Andrade did look good but she just fought for the title and was dominated. She will need at least one more big win and probably two before she gets a chance.

AMANDA NUNES (21-4-0) +400

Amanda Nunes

Nunes is the reigning bantamweight and featherweight champion and near the tail end of her career. Valentina stated that she is ready anytime for a trilogy fight (at flyweight) but I don’t see Amanda meeting her. She has two wins over “Bullet” already and doesn’t have anything to prove.

#12 TALIA SANTOS (18-1-0)

Talia Santos

Santos took care of Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 266 and will probably move up to #9 when the rankings are updated. She is another longshot but like Grasso, one big win combined with the injury bug or COVID put leapfrog them into the big time. But I admire them both in terms of the slow and steam path they are taking.

So, there you have it. Who are your picks for Volkanovski and Shevchenko?

Ante up, ladies and gentlemen.

@kenaiandrews

KenaiAndrewshttps://www.mmacrossfire.com
Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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