Future Paths for UFC on ESPN 56 Losers: What’s Next?

Oh boy, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to St. Louis was nothing short of electrifying. Way more buzz this time around compared to their first jaunt back in January 2018. As the sun began to dip, UFC on ESPN 56 kicked off with a bang. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, with five finishes, a slew of breakthrough performances, and a bunch of fights that had us all on the edge of our seats. Before we knew it, we were already gearing up for another showdown at the Apex in Las Vegas, all while UFC 302 loomed on the horizon.

Now, let’s talk about Robelis Despaigne. For the first time in his career, the guy made it past the opening round. And it wasn’t just any fight; it was the main card opener. Unlike his last five fights, this one needed the judges to step in and make the call. Despaigne came out swinging, aiming for another quick win. But Waldo Cortes-Acosta wasn’t having any of it. He took the fight to the ground, testing Despaigne’s skills on the mat. The two had a grappling showdown, with “Salsa Boy” landing the heavier hits. In the end, all three judges were in agreement, scoring the fight in Cortes-Acosta’s favor.

Despite the setback, Despaigne’s future looks bright. The UFC might want to consider setting him up against Jhonata Diaz next. Diaz, an undefeated prospect, recently knocked out Austen Lane at UFC on ESPN 55. The potential clash between Despaigne’s Taekwondo and Diaz’s kickboxing is the kind of stuff that gets fans excited.

Then there’s Alex Caceres, who faced a tough battle against Sean Woodson. Caceres, known for his striking, struggled with Woodson’s reach and unique style in the first round. He seemed to catch on in the second, but Woodson adapted and kept Caceres at bay. The fight ended in Woodson’s favor, marking Caceres’ second consecutive loss.

At 35, Caceres isn’t out of the game, but he’s definitely looking for fights that make sense for him. Jonathan Pearce, who’s also on a two-fight skid, could be an interesting matchup. Pearce’s last fight was a unanimous decision loss to David Onama.

Mateusz Rebecki faced a tough challenge against Diego Ferreira, a veteran who ended Rebecki’s 16-fight winning streak with a third-round stoppage. Rebecki started strong, but Ferreira’s experience and striking overwhelmed him as the fight went on. A rematch with Nurullo Aliev, who had to pull out of their scheduled fight due to injury, could be next for Rebecki.

Alonzo Menifield’s attempt to end his fight quickly backfired, resulting in one of the fastest finishes in UFC light heavyweight history. Carlos Ulberg took Menifield down with a series of powerful punches, ending the fight in just 12 seconds. A fight against Azamat Murzakanov, an undefeated Russian prospect, could be a great opportunity for Menifield to bounce back.

Nursulton Ruziboev, despite the support of the St. Louis crowd, couldn’t secure a win against Joaquin Buckley. Buckley’s strategy and explosive moments were too much for Ruziboev. A matchup against Kevin Jousset, another undefeated fighter, could be in the cards for Ruziboev.

Lastly, Rodrigo Nascimento faced Derrick Lewis in the main event. Lewis, known for his knockout power, didn’t disappoint. After a competitive start, Lewis landed a right hand in the third round that led to a series of ground strikes, forcing the referee to step in. A fight against Marcos Rogerio de Lima could be next for Nascimento, offering fans a chance to see two powerful strikers go head-to-head.

So, there you have it. A night of ups and downs, but definitely one for the books. What’s next for these fighters? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be exciting.

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