UFC 298 takeaways: Ilia Topuria's win signals a changing landscape at featherweight

In the early morning of February 18, 2024, UFC 298 took Southern California by storm, and the three journalist Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, and Jeff Wagenheim were quick to provide their post-game analyses.

The big game-changer of the night was Topuria’s victory. Wagenheim explains that this outcome will significantly shift the featherweight division’s landscape as Topuria knocked out the respected Vokanovski. He details that Topuria’s win signals a new era in the 145-pound division, which could bring changes to the top of the mountain for the featherweight fighters.

Machado Garry, another fighter of prominence in the event, had a different kind of victory. He succeeded in defeating Neil in a tactical performance, though the fans’ reaction was one of intense boos, which the journalist Raimondi found to be surprising. Fans’ dissatisfaction arose from Machado Garry’s trash talk and his personal life – a peculiar and unfounded response, Raimondi noted. As the young fighter rises, the unique trajectory of his career will be interesting to watch.

Wagenheim set his sights on Dvalishvili, highlighting his ability to raise his level mid-fight. After watching him in action, it’s not surprising to believe that Dvalishvili will face the winner of the upcoming O’Malley vs. Vera title bout at UFC 299. Okamoto echoed the same sentiments, making it clear that Dvalishvili should be the next in line for the title fight. However, he mentioned the possibility of Cory Sandhagen taking up the challenge.

Okamoto also discussed the future paths of Topuria and Whittaker. He indicated that Topuria, as the newly crowned featherweight champion, should battle it out with Max Holloway, though this fight is somewhat affected due to Holloway’s time commitments in a higher weight class. As for Whittaker, Okamoto suggests a match-up with Chimaev or perhaps fighting Brendan Allen if he earns a victory over Marvin Vettori in April.

Each journalist concluded that the outcomes and the responses of the fighters and fans have significantly impacted the future of these UFC fighters. The stand-out moments have set the stage for upcoming events and future battles that promise to elevate the sport.


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