I think we can all agree that the latest installment of the UFC on Fox series was a great night of fights. Featuring some of the greatest matchmaking in recent history, it gave us a great mixture of prospects making much-needed statements, and veterans reestablishing their place in the greatest MMA promotion. Without further ado, let's see who should fight who next.
Chris Dempsey vs. Luke Barnatt/Mark Muñoz winner
Eddie Gordon vs. Andrew Craig
Diego Brandão vs. Makwan Amirkhani
Jimy Hettes vs. Rocky Lee
Tim Means vs. Erick Silva
George Sullivan vs. Nico Musoke
Aljamain Sterling vs. Michael McDonald OR Johnny Eduardo
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Iuri Alcântara
Gian Villante vs. Jan Blachowicz
Corey Anderson vs. Ilir Latifi
Ovince St. Preux vs. Rashad Evans (I would put Jimi Manuwa here as it makes more sense, but he'll most likely be on the sidelines for a while due to his knee injuries)
Patrick Cummins vs. Francimar Barroso
Beneil Dariush vs. Al Iaquinta
Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau (Yes, I know they've fought before, but it seems like a nice "Old Guard" matchup. If not, let him and Mitch Clarke go at it.)
Paige VanZant def. Felice Herrig
"12 Gauge" Paige really put on a stellar performance on Saturday night, making the best out of her 15 minutes in the spotlight (and surely, there will be more than 15 minutes for her, given her fan friendly style and her looks). Her technical flaws are masked by a relentless style of attack and raw aggressiveness. She will most likely be fast tracked to a bout with champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk due to her popularity and marketability, but I believe she should first face one more test before a shot at the champ. A title eliminator against either Cláudia Gadelha or Maryna Moroz should give us a clear cut #1 contender. As for Felice Herrig, the Lil' Bulldog gave it the ol' college try, but ultimately succumbed to the frantic pace of PVZ. Joanne Calderwood could be next for her, a bout that would reestablish the winner as a top 10 straweight, and most likely send the loser to the bottom of the top 15 and in need for a big step down in competition.
Max Holloway def. Cub Swanson
This was something. Continuing the recurring theme of the night (old guard vs. new forces), the Hawaiian battered Swanson standing up for 13 minutes, then slapped on a violent guillotine to finish the veteran in the third. What I saw in this fight wasn't just the "Old Guard" falling. No, it was something more. Holloway, ironically, gave a Swanson-like performance. He used sharp and creative combinations in the stand up, he was strong in the clinch, and when he sensed the finish he did not hesitate for a second. I've read everywhere that Swanson was off during the fight, but I strongly disagree. I think Holloway was completely on. Where other Cub opponents seemingly can't find answers to his awkward, unorthodox style of fighting (specifically his striking), Max flipped the tables and made it so Cub couldn't find the answers to his style. He made Cub look one-dimensional, just looking for Hail Mary overhand rights and telegraphed head kicks. Max Holloway is knocking on the door to title contention, but he just clustered up the featherweight division even more. There are options for Holloway, however. A victory over Chad Mendes would catapult him into #1 contendership, OR Mendes could chew him up and leave us without a possible contender in Max. He could also face Ricardo Lamas (who Mendes recently murdered), which would provide an interesting style clash and a strong test for Holloway, but I doubt the UFC takes that road. It's tricky, but he should have a big fight on the horizon, no matter who it's against. Cub should obviously face a step down in competition. A bout against Godofredo Pepey is an option, as Pepey has looked great as of late, but Cub will most likely be matched up against another victim of Holloway, Cole Miller.
PS: I think this was FOTN, not Villante-Anderson. Just letting you guys know.
Jacaré Souza def. Chris Camozzi...again
Welp. Not much to say here. Jacaré did Jacaré things. Contrary to Souza's claims, I do not think he deserves the title shot. Not yet. Yes, he's #1. Yes, he's undefeated in the UFC. And yes, he's a terrifying monster. But this is Chris Camozzi we're talking about here, not Lyoto Machida. In my perfect world, the UFC would rebook Yoel Romero vs. Jacaré as a bona fide title eliminator. As for Chris Camozzi, brownie points to you, my friend. It takes some cojones to step up the way you did. However, you ain't on the Gator's level, bro. A bout with Roger Narvaez makes sense.
Luke Rockhold def. Lyoto Machida
For the love of all that is sacred, give this man a title shot! Luke Rockhold did what he does best, decimating opponents with superior striking and masterful grappling. But, dear God, against Lyoto Machida? Defeating the Dragon the way that Rockhold did was unheard of until last night. He made it look easy, countering Machida every time he blitzed in and controlling him on the ground, making him look like a BJJ white belt. He should get the next shot. Machida, on the other hand, should get a step down. I know this sounds crazy, but what if we match him up with Kelvin Gastelum
if once he defeats Marquardt? KG showed great potential at welterweight, even though he fell short against Woodley.
That's all folks. If you like these, tell me so and I'll keep doing them. Answer the poll, comment anything, and most of all: happy Sunday.