Matchmaking for Yair Rodriguez, Brandon Moreno, and other UFC 290 losers

Here's who we'd like to see Yair Rodriguez, Brandon Moreno, and other UFC 290 losers fight next.
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves)  prior to the fight against
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) prior to the fight against / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC just delivered one of the greatest pay-per-views in recent memory. UFC 290 lived up to its billing of being booked during international fight week, with each bout more thrilling than the other before we witnessed two stellar title fights.

With international fight week now firmly in our rearview mirrors, its time to play matchmaker and figure out what the calendar looks like for UFC 290's losers.

Fights to make for UFC 290's losers

Val Woodburn vs. Cody Brundage

It wasn't meant to be for Val Woodburn. Coming in as a last-minute replacement to fight Bo Nickal, the odds were always going to be against him and the gulf in quality was evident from the opening bell. Nickal needed just 40 seconds to knock Woodburn out but he should be proud for even stepping up on such short notice.

Woodburn should face Cody Brundage next. After a promising start, Brundage has now dropped his last three fights in a row. A win for either man pushes them into the right direction while a loss could indicate their last time inside the Octagon.

Jalin Turner vs. Renato Moicano

Jalin Turner can leave UFC 290 with his head held high. He might have failed to win a razor-thin split decision against Dan Hooker but in all honesty, had he faced anyone but Hooker on that night, he most likely walks away with a finish.

In one of the fights of the year so far, Turner showed he has star quality and that he will go to any lenghts inside the Octagon. Renato Moicano allows Turner to stay in the spotlight and give fans another action-filled bout between two exciting lightweights.

Robert Whittaker vs. Sean Strickland

Almost nobody envisioned Dricus Du Plessis running through Robert Whittaker in the way he did but that's what makes this sport so enthralling to watch. From potentially headlining for the middleweight title in his home country of Australia to falling victim to Du Plessis' rush, Whittaker finds himself in a position he has never been in his career.

Sean Strickland offer Whittaker a fresh challenge with enough title implications that could see him fight Israel Adesanya again if the champ defends against Du Plessis. With their styles, Whittaker vs. Strickland would be must see TV.

Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja

Ever since inserting himself into the flyweight title picture, Brandon Moreno has given us nothing short of spectacular fights. At UFC 290, he went above and beyond by potentially delivering the greatest flyweight title fight of all time.

Unfortunately, Moreno once again finds himself on the losing side of a championship decision but he should find himself with a shot at reclaiming his belt. The flyweight title picture is muddy at the top and running back one of the greatest title fights we've seen in recent memory just makes too much sense. Expect Alexandre Pantoja to defend in front of his Brazilian fans, facing Moreno for a fourth time in his career.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Arnold Allen

Credit where credit is due, Yair Rodriguez did give it his all for his first ever shot at undisputed gold in the UFC. Unfortunately for him, he ran into an all-timer at the peak of his powers. There wasn't anything that Rodriguez could do that Alex Volkanovski didn't have an answer for and he was eventually stopped in the third.

Despite the loss, Rodriguez continues to be top billing thanks to his unorthodox fighting style that makes him must-watch TV. Matching him up against Arnold Allen, another fun striker, allows Rodriguez to fight someone with a similar style, and likely deliver an all-time brawl between the two.

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