Matchmaking for all UFC 303 winners

Here's who we think the UFC should match with each of the UFC 303 winners.
Jun 29, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alex Pereira (red gloves) reacts after defeating Jiri Prochazka (blue gloves) during UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alex Pereira (red gloves) reacts after defeating Jiri Prochazka (blue gloves) during UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 303 will be talked about as one of the most interesting PPV cards in a long time. From a new main event just two weeks out and a co-main event that went through five changes, the UFC brass held the card together for an unforgettable night.

Alex Pereira solidified himself as light heavyweight king with another knockout of previous foe Jiri Prochazka, once again proving he will fight anytime, anywhere. Diego Lopes and Dan Ige showed how much heart (and balls) they had by fighting on just hours' notice, much to the fans' delight.

Roman Dolidze, who will now be ranked in two weight classes, moved up to light heavyweight on short notice and dominated veteran Anthony Smith. Macy Chiasson will climb the rankings with a nasty elbow TKO that forced former title challenger Mayra Bueno Silva out of the fight, and Ian Machado Garry stayed undefeated with a win over Michael "Venom" Page.

Joe Pyfer, Andre Fili, Jean Silva, Payton Talbott, Gillian Robertson, Martin Buday, newcomer Rei Tsuruya and Vinicius Oliveira alos picked up victories.

Where do these fighters go from here?

Alex Pereira vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Pereira has accomplished amazing things in his short UFC career, winning two titles in less than three years, and after his second title defense, a matchup with Magomed Ankalaev seems likely. After his second win over Prochazka, many people (including Joe Rogan) are calling for "Poatan" to move up to heavyweight, but there are still some fighters left in the division that make up good fights.

Pereira once again knocked out Prochazka in the second round and has won four straight, two of those fights coming on short notice. Unless the UFC has another emergency, Pereira should rest up and get ready to face Ankalaev. Ankalaev is on a 12-fight unbeaten streak and hasn't lost since 2018, the only loss on his record. Ankaleav and Jan Blachowicz fought to a draw for the vacant light heavyweight title at UFC 282, and since then Ankalaev has faced Johnny Walker twice, once resulting in a no-contest and the rematch being a knockout win for the Dagestani Russian.

Ankalaev would be a different kind of matchup for Pereira as his ground game would be more formidable than anyone Pereira has faced up to this point. With not many challengers left for 36-year-old Pereira to face, a win over Ankalaev could propel him up to the heavyweight division.

Diego Lopes vs. Movsar Evloev

Lopes weighed in at three different weight classes in two days, but his goal remained the same, to keep winning. After his short-notice featherweight bout with Brian Ortega was moved to lightweight on weigh-in day, the UFC 303 broadcast broke the news that Ortega was ill and No. 13-ranked featherweight Dan Ige would be stepping in to face Lopes at a catchweight of 165 pounds.

Lopes and Ige put on a show for the fans with Lopes coming up victorious over three rounds, and with the UFC surely taking care of them, Lopes deserves to have a say in his next fight. Lopes has been calling for a rematch with the undefeated Movsar Evloev, who Lopes short notice UFC debut was against.

Evloev is 18-0 and last defeated Arnold Allen at UFC 297, hoping to be in contention for a featherweight title shot. With a clogged division, a rematch between him and Lopes could be a good solution while the title picture sorts itself out.

Roman Dolidze vs. Anthony Hernandez

Dolidze bounced back after two straight losses in a big way with a short-notice win in a higher division against a veteran who has challenged for the title. Smith has been in the octagon with the who's who of the light heavyweight division, including former champion and G.O.A.T. Jon Jones, and was coming off a win over top prospect Vitor Petrino.

Dolidze was the fresher fighter at UFC 303 and tired Smith out on his way to a decisive decision victory. Dolidze will now be ranked in two divisions, but it would make more sense to rebook his fight with Anthony Hernandez, who he was scheduled to face at UFC 302.

Hernandez is on a five-fight win streak, with four of those victories coming by way of finish. With some momentum on Dolidze's side, this fight will now hold more stock in the middleweight division.

Macy Chiasson vs. Ketlen Vieira

Chiasson took out the No.3-ranked bantamweight with a nasty elbow to win her second in a row. The fight was stopped in the second round after a gnarly cut rendered recent title challenger Bueno Silva unable to continue. Chiasson, who is 8-3 in the UFC, should be ready for another challenge.

Chiasson was scheduled to face Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 84 in January but an injury canceled the bout, it only makes sense to run it back. A matchup with No. 2-ranked Vieira makes for a fun fight. Vieira, like Chiasson, is 3-1 in her last four, last beating Pannie Kianzad at UFC London.

Ian Machado Garry vs. Jack Della Maddalena

The hype train of Machado Garry carried on at UFC 303 with a win over former Bellator title challenger Page. Garry and Page were in a close fight where Garry emerged victorious over three rounds. Garry is 15-0 and is ready to make an even bigger leap, calling out the likes of Colby Covington and Shavkat Rakhmonov. But after two close fights with Page and Geoff Neal, a fight with Jack Della Maddalena makes the most sense.

Like Garry, Della Maddalena is also on a 15+ unbeaten streak and started his UFC career 7-0. And also like the Irishman, after two close wins against Bassil Hafez and Kevin Holland, Della Maddalena bounced back against Gilbert Burns at UFC 299. This would be a fantastic matchup of styles of two up-and-coming welterweights who feature in the top 10 of the division, book it.

Joe Pyfer vs. Paul Craig

Pyfer bounced back after his first main event loss with a brutal knockout of veteran Marc-Andre Barriault to end the prelims. Pyfer mentioned Paul Craig as a possible next opponent after his win, which would be another step up in competition for the South Jersey native. Craig, who was previously ranked, lost his last two fights by finish, but would be a style clash with Pyfer due to his grappling pedigree, nonetheless, everyone would tune in.

Andre Fili vs. Sean Woodson

Fili battled veteran Cub Swanson to a split decision victory that was awarded fight of the night, and another challenger could repeat the same results. Sean Woodson is unbeaten in his last six and is coming off a win against Alex Caceres at UFC St. Louis, and with both fighters' boxing style, this could be a fun fight in the featherweight division. Fili could stop another prospect while Woodson can get noticed with a win over a veteran.

Jean Silva vs. Chepe Mariscal

Silva had a pretty unflawed performance against Charles Jourdain which resulted in a knockout, save for the weight miss. If Silva stays at featherweight, a fun matchup could be against veteran Chepe Mariscal. Mariscal was scheduled to face Ige at UFC Vegas 94, but with the events that transpired at UFC 303, Mariscal needs a new opponent. Mariscal is on a six-fight win streak and is 3-0 since his UFC debut while Silva is now on a 10-fight run.

Payton Talbott vs. Adrian Yanez

Talbott, one of the biggest betting favorites in recent history, made quick work of his opponent Yanis Ghemmour. Talbott won by knockout 19 seconds into the fight and quickly called out fellow bantamweight Adrian Yanez. Yanez is coming off a win against Vinicius Salvador at UFC Vegas 92 and both fighters' finishing styles could make for an amazing fight, get it done.

Gillian Robertson vs. Loopy Godinez

Robertson couldn't finish veteran Michelle Waterson-Gomez at UFC 303, but after the latter retired, Robertson called out every ranked strawweight 13 and up. No. 10-ranked Loopy Godinez would be a fun fight for Robertson. Godinez is coming off a loss to Virna Jandiroba at UFC Atlantic City after winning four straight, and with both their grappling styles, could be an opportunity to crack into the top 10 of the division.

Martin Buday vs. Don'Tale Mayes

Buday edged out former heavyweight champion Andre Arlovski to win five of his last six bouts, but it wasn't enough to move the needle. Buday should be matched up with Don'Tale Mayes next. Mayes is coming off a win over Caio Machado at UFC Vegas 91 and we might get to see some heavy hands thrown in this one.

Rei Tsuruya vs. Charles Johnson

Tsuruya was successful in his UFC debut after winning season 2 of Road to the UFC against Carlos Hernandez. Tsuruya showed an impressive ground game on his way to a decision win and a matchup against veteran Charles Johnson could be fun and a bit of a test. Johnson has won two straight after dropping three in a row, most recently at UFC St. Louis against grappler Jake Hadley. In a competitive flyweight division, the cream rises to the top.

Vinicius Oliveira vs. Miles Johns

Oliveira outclassed veteran Ricky Simon to make it four straight, and after a knockout debut that got the attention of the bantamweight division, a fight with Miles Johns would be fun to watch. Johns has heavy hands and is unbeaten in his last four, most recently beating Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC Vegas 93. If Oliveira's leg injury that he suffered in the second round isn't serious, this fight could be fireworks if booked.