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The UFC has a new featherweight champion and possibly their biggest potential star in some time. Ilia Topuria, flanked by his countrymen in Spain, rose to the occasion with a second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298.

A new champion can reinvigorate a division and open the floodgates for fresh matchups. That is particularly true when a longstanding champion like Volkanovski is moved aside. Saturday's pay-per-view also cemented Merab Dvalishvili as the top contender for the UFC bantamweight champion.

Let's pick up the pieces from Saturday's card and build some new matchups for the coming months.

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Featherweight division

Ilia Topuria vs. Yair Rodriguez or Brian Ortega: There is an argument for granting a long-standing champion an immediate rematch, but it is not in Volkanovski's best interest to do so. Volkanovski needs a break and there are a ton of fresh matchups for the new champion. Max Holloway is the most deserving contender. Holloway hasn't lost to a featherweight not named Volkanovski in 11 years. But Holloway is gearing up for a BMF title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 and I have a hunch he'll be worse for wear. Rodriguez and Ortega will fight in a five-round co-main event at UFC Mexico City on Feb. 24. The winner will be the highest-ranked contender, according to the UFC. It's an exciting style matchup either way and an easy sell for the promotion.

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Movsar Evloev: Volkanovski and Evloev both have cases for title shots. We've already discussed why Volkanovski needs a break. Evloev has a remarkable 18-0 record but he did not warm himself up to UFC president Dana White in a strong showing against Arnold Allen. Evloev is not a needle mover for the promotion and his No. 5 ranking does not make him undeniable. A win over the former champion would go a long way to strengthening his case. It's a career highlight fight for Evloev and one that presents less concussion risk for Volkanovski. The winner would immediately be back in the title sweepstakes.

Middleweight division

Robert Whittaker vs. Sean Strickland: Whittaker wants a rematch against Dricus du Plessis, but signs are pointing to a UFC middleweight title fight between du Plessis and Israel Adesanya. Strickland is the odd man out in the title mix right now. A fight between Whittaker and Strickland would produce a clear No. 1 contender. If Whittaker's newfound aggression sticks it could be a solid fight too. There is a potential of booking Whittaker against du Plessis coming off a loss, but let's stick with the straightforward matchmaking.

Paulo Costa vs. Jared Cannonier or Brendan Allen: Costa looked better than expected and likely boosted his profile in defeat. A fight against Cannonier might just be the hardest-hitting matchup at middleweight. Should Allen defeat Marvin Vettori on April 6, a follow-up against Costa would be his most high-profile fight to date. Both are good options and it probably comes down to timelines.

Bantamweight division

Merab Dvalishvili vs. Sean O'Malley or Marlon Vera: Give Dvalishvili his title shot already. It's an opportunity Merab "The Machine" has been long owed. Dvalishvili extended his active winning streak to 10, tied Aljamain Sterling for the longest UFC bantamweight winning streak (nine), moved to No. 3 all-time for takedowns and beat his third consecutive former UFC champion. There is nobody in the division more deserving of a title shot. Not even the upcoming title challenger "Chito" Vera. Whether O'Malley or Vera leaves UFC 299 as champion, they must turn around and fight Dvalishvili.

Henry Cejudo vs. Petr Yan vs. Song Yadong: Cejudo no longer seems committed to fighting in the long term. He teased retiring after losing to Sterling and in advance of the Dvalishvili fight. He's still an elite fighter and looked competent against both men. Should Cejudo decide to continue there are plenty of options for him. Cory Sandhagen makes sense in the UFC's official rankings but Sandhagen deserves a title eliminator. A better option is the winner of UFC 299's Yan vs. Song. It's a fight that can continue the rehabilitation process for all involved. Another option is Deivison Figueiredo if he beats Cody Garbrandt at UFC 300, but I'd candidly like to see Sandhagen vs. Figueiredo in a No. 1 contender's bout if Sandhagen is willing to wait.