Real or not: Israel Adesanya among pound-for-pound best? Nunes-Peña rivalry best in women's MMA?

Israel Adesanya celebrates after highlight-reel KO of Alex Pereira (1:42)

Joe Rogan, Daniel Cormier and Jon Anik are all in shock after Israel Adesanya's brutal knockout of Alex Pereira. (1:42)

While this weekend gave UFC fans plenty to talk about and look forward to, the UFC 287 main event left us with one important question: Where does Israel Adesanya's middleweight championship win over Alex Pereira place him among the top pound-for-pound fighters?

Beyond last weekend's card, two upcoming fight announcements also sparked questions such as: What will Adesanya's teammate, UFC men's featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, do after his upcoming title fight against interim champ Yair Rodriguez?

And what about the announcement of a trilogy bout between double champ Amanda Nunes and former women's bantamweight champ Julianna Peña? Could we be looking at the greatest rivalry in the history of women's MMA?

Would a win over Max Holloway mean that Arnold Allen could be next in line for a featherweight title shot?

ESPNs panel of Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim sorts out what's real and what's not following the UFC's pay-per-view in Miami, and each offers the next PPV event he wants to see booked.

Real or not: Israel Adesanya is a top-5 P4P fighter

Raimondi: Pretty clearly real. Adesanya has now avenged the defeat against Pereira, the only man who ever knocked him out and the only man who ever beat him at middleweight. It's tough for champions who lost their titles to win an immediate rematch. It's happened only four times out of 15 such attempts in UFC history, and Adesanya was the latest Saturday night at UFC 287. It was the way Adesanya did it, too. He knocked Pereira out in the second round in violent fashion. The amount of mental strength to beat a man who had defeated him three times previously (twice in kickboxing, once in MMA), including two knockouts, is absolutely off the charts.

Adesanya's performance Saturday, along with his memorable celebrations and pitch-perfect postfight interview, were all the things of which legends are made. "The Last Stylebender '' made himself one of those this weekend in Miami. There's no doubt. Adesanya easily could have let the idea that he couldn't beat Pereira overcome him, but he didn't. And he proved himself as not only one of the best fighters in the world right now, but one of the best ever. Adesanya is the first two-time UFC middleweight champion, and he has eight title fight wins at middleweight, the second most in UFC history after all-time great Anderson Silva.

Real or not: This will be the last fight for Alexander Volkanovski at 145

Okamoto: Not real. Why in the world would it be? If he wins, he's not going to vacate the title. It takes extraordinary circumstances for an active fighter to vacate a title willingly. The belt makes a world of difference in financial compensation. And even though Volkanovski is close to clearing out his top competition at 145, more talent is always on the way. If he were to lose to Rodriguez, we'd likely be looking at an immediate rematch. It's not as if the guy will suffer one loss and permanently leave his most natural weight class. There is zero chance of this being Volkanovski's last featherweight fight. I don't see any scenario in which it would be.

Real or not: After Nunes-Peña 3, their rivalry will be the best in women's MMA history

Flashback: Nunes gets revenge in dominant win vs. Pena at UFC 277

On July 30, 2022, Amanda Nunes dropped Julianna Pena multiple times in their main event bout at UFC 277.

Raimondi: Not real. There might not be an equivalent trilogy to what Nunes vs. Peña will be. But there has been no bigger rivalry in women's MMA than the one between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Forget all the rest. Rousey vs. Tate literally helped build women's MMA. Without Rousey beating Tate to win the Strikeforce title, who knows if UFC president Dana White finally opts to bring women onto the roster? Then, Rousey fought Tate again in 2013 in the co-main event of UFC 168 after a highly rated season of them coaching against one another on "The Ultimate Fighter." Tate lasted longer with Rousey, who was uber-dominant then, than anyone else had before succumbing to a third-round armbar.

Maybe Rousey vs. Tate wasn't as competitive as Nunes vs. Peña, but it carried much more significance. Plus, Rousey and Tate legitimately hated each other. The trash talk between the two -- and their interactions on TUF -- were memorable. Nunes vs. Peña is more in line as a rivalry with the one between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, which was heated and very much a passing-of-the-torch moment for the UFC strawweight division. We'll see how the Nunes-Peña trilogy fight goes in June at UFC 289. But for now, while intriguing as the two jockeying for the women's bantamweight title is, it doesn't hold as much cache.

Real or not: Arnold Allen is one win over Holloway away from a title shot

Wagenheim: Real, if there's any justice in the MMA world. A win over Holloway, all by itself, should be enough to earn a guy a title shot. Look at the list of featherweights who have defeated Holloway since he began his rise to championship level nine years ago. It's Volkanovski and no one else. Holloway's list of conquests, meanwhile, includes a who's who of champs: Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis and Charles Oliveira. So yeah, the rare feat of beating Holloway makes one worthy of a title shot.

And Allen has an appropriately shiny résumé. He's 19-1 and on a 12-fight winning streak. He's not a big talker, but neither is Rodriguez, who has next. Allen is on the cusp, and if a win over "Blessed" isn't enough to put him over the top, what possibly could be?

With two title fights booked for UFC 289 and UFC 290, the main event you want for UFC 291 is ...

Leon Edwards extends unbeaten streak to 12 with win over Kamaru Usman

Leon Edwards wins via majority decision in his trilogy fight vs. Kamaru Usman in London at UFC 286.

Okamoto: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington. I mean, Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic is probably the biggest fight the UFC can make right now, but I feel like it won't happen until later in the year. Suppose it's not happening during International Fight Week. In that case, it feels like a fall pay-per-view. Edwards vs. Covington is a great stylistic matchup in a division with plenty of different storylines, depending on what happens shortly.

Wagenheim: Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad. Yeah, I know I'm a spoilsport for pointing out the résumé deficiencies of Covington, whom Dana White is haplessly trying to sell as a deserving title challenger. (Is the UFC poobah unaware that Covington's last two wins are over fighters on a combined 0-7 run?) Even Gilbert Burns would be a better option. But the best option is Muhammad, who is unbeaten in his last nine fights. It's his time.

Raimondi: It seems like Edwards vs. Covington is in the UFC's crosshairs for the second July pay-per-view event, which would obviously be a perfect fit if the card is in London. But since Brett already went with that bout, how about Jamahal Hill defending his UFC light heavyweight title against Jiří Procházka? If Procházka is ready to go, that would be an excellent summer main event title fight regardless of location.