What’s next for the stars of UFC 290?

By Cole Shelton - July 10, 2023

The annual International Fight Week card took place on Saturday night in Las Vegas and UFC 290 did not disappoint.

Alexander Volkanovski, Yair Rodriguez and UFC 290

In the main event, Alexander Volkanovski was defending his featherweight title against the interim champ, Yair Rodriguez. The co-main event saw Brandon Moreno looking to defend his flyweight title against Alexandre Pantoja in their third meeting.

Ultimately, it was Volkanovski who won by third-round TKO as he used his wrestling to dominate the fight. In the co-main event of UFC 290, Pantoja became the new flyweight champ with a split-decision victory over Moreno. Now, here is what I think should be next for the four fighters involved in the title fights at UFC 290.

Alexander Volkanovski

Alexander Volkanovski entered his UFC 290 fight coming off his first loss in the UFC as he dropped a decision to Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title.

Following the loss, Volkanovski had the tough task of returning to the division he has been dominating to face Rodriguez, as he had talked about earning a rematch with Makhachev. With that, some wondered if Volkanovsk’s focus was all the way into the scrap, but that didn’t appear to be an issue on Saturday.

Alexander Volkanovski dominated Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 and will reportedly undergo arm surgery that will sideline him for six-to-eight weeks. Once he is healthy, I expect Volkanovski to stay at featherweight and defend his belt against Ilia Topuria, in what should be a massive fight.

Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez will be back to the drawing board after his UFC 290 loss to Alexander Volkanovski for the undisputed featherweight title. In the fight, the Mexican was just outwrestled and didn’t have much for Volkanovski’s grappling.

Although Yair Rodriguez lost at UFC 290, he still is a fan favorite, and many fans will be excited for his next Octagon appearance. I do expect Rodriguez to take a bit of time off, but when he returns later this year, I like a matchup against Calvin Kattar who is coming back from a knee injury.

Rodriguez vs. Kattar can headline a Fight Night card and the winner can likely be right back in the mix to fight for the belt.

Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja is the UFC’s new flyweight champion and is now 3-0 against Brandon Moreno – although the first fight was an exhibition match. The Brazilian used his wrestling to control the rounds and ultimately edge out a split decision over the Mexican at UFC 290 to become the new champ.

Although Pantoja is up 3-0 on Moreno, Dana White hinted at running this fight back. However, Brandon Royval deserves his opportunity against Pantoja later this year for the flyweight title. The bout would also serves as a rematch, as Pantoja submitted Royval back in August 2021.

Brandon Moreno

Brandon Moreno lost his flyweight title for the second time in his career, and for the second time, it came by decision. The Mexican had some success with his striking, but Pantoja used his wrestling to control the fight and edge out a very competitive decision.

Moreno is still one of the best flyweights in the world, and likely will only need a win or two to get another title shot. He will need some time off after the war but a logical next fight is to face Amir Albazi with the winner getting the next title shot.


Alex Volkanovski Alexandre Pantoja Brandon Moreno UFC Yair Rodriguez