Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva II
Without a doubt, the rematch should be what’s next for both men. I also believe that due to what happened at UFC 162, the rematch would be even bigger than the initial fight because of the story line that came out of the result . And although Silva is unsure of wanting the rematch, Dana will somehow force his hand to get this rematch on Super Bowl Weekend. Book it in my opinion.
Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson
Initially I was thinking that a Cub Swanson against Ricardo Lamas rematch would be perfect to decide the next number one contender, but stylistically I think that Edgar against Swanson has fight of the night written all over it. This fight has the potential to catapult Swanson into not only heading a UFC card, but giving him the victory that can’t deny him of a title shot. On the other hand for Edgar, this fight would continue to challenge him as he climbs up the rankings, and I think a fight like this would certainly help his cause to rematch Jose Aldo.
Tim Kennedy vs Ronny Markes
Tim Kennedy was able to stifle Roger Gracie’s black belt ground game, and implement his own ground game in route to a decision victory. Other than his name, and few signature wins over some old veterans, Gracie was ranked very highly in some people’s minds. I didn’t see it, but Kudos to Kennedy for capitalizing on such a moment, and getting that signature win in his UFC debut. What’s next? I think a fight against fellow grappler Ronny Markes would be an intriguing one to say the least. Markes is a top prospect in the middleweight division, and since moving down from Light Heavyweight, he is 2-0 with wins over Andrew Craig, and Aaron Simpson. In terms of my rankings as well, which are subjective, I have Kennedy at #17, and Markes at #19 (my rankings cover all mma fighters, regardless of promotion). So, I believe this fight makes sense, and would be an interesting grappling affair.
Mark Munoz vs Michael Bisping
Mark Munoz returned with a bang, nearly a year since his defeat to the new middleweight champion Chris Weidman. A recognition he might of had, had he beat Weidman on that night. Munoz looked excellent after a back and forth first round, he was able to take control in round 2 & 3 in route to a decision victory. Munoz who is a top ten middleweight in a stacked division, has stated that Weidman hadn’t fought the real Mark Munoz, and insisted on a rematch. Unfortunately for Munoz, real or not, he was defeated rather easily, and their is a list of contenders much more worthy for title shots than him at this present moment. If he wants to get back in the spotlight, a fight with title contender Michael Bisping would be a fun fight, with big implication for each. Bisping’s mindset of a title shot is going to need bigger names than Belcher to stake his claim, so this certainly would be a step in the right direction. I believe that this fight in Manchester would be one for the UK.
Andrew Craig vs C.B. Dollaway
Although it wasn’t pretty, Craig added a signature win to his young career, and once again came alive in the third round, dropping and almost finishing Chris Leben. Craig, since joining the UFC has gone 3-1, and has had pretty fair competition in terms of opponents. I believe that Craig would be suited to fight another veteran of the UFC and continue to improve his game while building his resume. A fight against CB Dollaway would be perfect in my opinion, and it would test his grappling abilities, which cost him in his first defeat to Ronny Markes.
Norman Parke vs Reza Madadi
TUF winner Norman Parke tallied his second victory in the UFC, and looks to be a rising prospect in a stacked lightweight division. Parke is clearly improving in the striking department, and would of probably won by knockout had his opponent Kazuki Tokudome not of had an iron chin. Now in regards to the match making, I think that Parke needs an opponent that’s going to push him, and constantly be in his face, someone like Madadi. Madadi is a ball of energy at the age of 35, and has looked good in the UFC with a 2-1 record, the loss being controversial in my opinion. Anyways, Madadi would be the perfect opponent to test Parke’s all around abilties, which is exactly what he needs, and it doesn’t hurt that Madadi is decent name to have on the resume.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs Shawn Jordan
Although this seems like a gatekeeper-esque type of fight, it’s really not. Gonzaga has made the most of his second stint in the UFC, going 3-1, and with his 17 second knockout victory over Dave Herman, his 100% finishing rate remains in tact. A fight that rankings wise makes sense, and would certainly seem likely to produce a finish, would be against rising heavyweight Shawn Jordan. Jordan himself, holds a 93% finishing rate, and stylistically this fight would be interesting as I think both men have similar qualities within there abilities. I believe this fight makes sense, and that the winner would be catapulted into possibly a top ten fight
Edson Barboza vs Jorge Masvidal
If Jorge Masvidal can defeat Michael Chiesa at UFC on Fox 8 on July 27th, I think this fight would make sense next. Barboza’s dynamic striking against Masvidal’s well rounded abilities. Barboza needs to face someone who will test him in all facets, and will be in his face. Masvidal is that type of fighter, and will try and put Barboza on his back. Something we have rarely seen, not since the Jamie Varner fight. Barboza after his win, called for a top 5 opponent. But, that’s a bit of a step despite a 6-1 record in the UFC. Barboza is more so looking at a top 15 opponent in my opinion, and if Masvidal can win, he would make sense.
Brian Melancon vs Sean Pierson
Melancon’s UFC debut couldn’t of gone any better. From having not fought in nearly two years to fighting on one of the biggest cards of the year in the UFC, and facing and knocking out a tough opponent in Seth Baczynski. Some may have not known who Melancon was, despite being in strikeforce, but now his name is known. He clearly has power in his hands like I described in my predictions thread. I just didn’t realize how good his overall abilities were. Well, as for the matchmaking, Pierson seems like an ideal matchup. Pierson is a striker, and more technical in his approach. He has won three in a row via decision, and is likely to get a step up in competition. I though orginally Seth Baczynski would be that step up, but that was derailed by Melancon. With that said, Melancon is a formidable opponent now, and it would make for a fun striking affair.
Mike Pierce vs Jake Shields
The frequent preliminary card fighter Mike Pierce recorded his 9th win in the UFC, and 4th straight victory. Pierce once again was on the preliminary card, and was the opening bout of the card. It’s odd to see a fighter who before the victory was 8-3 in the UFC, and had only lost to Jon Fitch, and by split decision to Josh Koscheck and title challenger Johny Hendricks. But, he’s often under looked, and underrated. As for the matchup, I think this fight make sense stylistically. Both in a sense are noted for being grinders, and Pierce deserves a high profile fight like Jake Shields. Both men are grapplers, and grinders like mentioned before. Shields grapples to use his jiu-jitsu to submit his opponents, while Pierce grapples to use his wrestling to implement his ground and pound. Both men like to smother their opponents though, and tire them out, so I would be really interested to see how this one would play out. Who’s grappling abilities are better, or will it come down to striking?