With “The Ultimate Fighter” finale in the books, of which you can read our live play by play of the event on both the Facebook Prelims and the Main Card broadcast on Spike, it’s time to take the most compelling fighters coming out of the event and play Joe Silva one more time.
Michael Bisping vs. the winner of Vitor Belfort/Rumble Johnson – Really he ought to take on Anderson Silva. I think he has as good or better case than both Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz, who are fighting for the right to take on the champion in my hometown in January. But he got late to the dance and now he’s stuck with the ugly girl. He’ll need a stay busy fight between now and the time the title picture sorts itself out and you have an intriguing fight with the winner of a resurgent Belfort and a Rumble making his debut at middleweight. Demian Maia would be a good fit as well, another former title contender that a victory gives Bisping the best possible case for a title shot.
Jason Miller vs. Brian Stann – Bisping is a top tier middleweight and losing to him isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Miller may have been stopped but he still has name value and we still don’t know just how he stacks up to the rest of the division. Stann is coming off a loss to another grappler but there’s one exception to a repeat of what Chael Sonnen did to the Marine: Miller’s takedowns aren’t nearly as nuanced. It would be a great test of both fighters. Stann would be tested on his ground game again and Miller gets someone without nearly as developed a striking game. Cung Le could be another interesting stylistic choice for Mayhem as well; Le may only have another fight in him the UFC but one of the ones that should’ve gone down in Strikeforce ought to happen in the UFC.
Jon Dodson vs. Demetrious Johnson – And it ought to be one half of a bracket for the first UFC flyweight title. Dodson and Johnson have similar styles and would be a wonderfully athletic war between the two. Dodson shouldn’t be in the bantamweight division for long, if at all, as he’s a world class flyweight who’ll eventually be overwhelmed on sheer size alone at some point like Louis Gaudinot was earlier. He’s perhaps good enough to be thrown to the wolves, to someone like Danny Downes, but he shouldn’t be.
Diego Brandao vs. the winner of Zhiang Tie Quan/Leonard Garcia – Brandao is a hot property BUT he needs to be brought along slowly. Neither Quan or Garcia are elite fighters but they’ll prove to be interesting tests. Quan has a similar gas tank and Garcia would be a wild brawl that Brandao might be able to finish with a power shot. Either way it’ll be at least 10 minutes of brawling insanity and that’s not a bad thing. Brandao isn’t quite ready to be thrown into the deep waters the division but no one from the cast ought to be in his crosshairs, either. Brandao has a buzz to him and his next opponent will probably be one that’ll bring out an exciting fight.
Tony Ferguson vs. Sam Stout – Ferguson needs a step up in competition and Stout recently pulled out of a fight due to the death of his trainer. This would be a great fight and a nice gauge to see how far Ferguson has come from the 13th season of TUF.
Tags: Anthony Johnson, Brian Stann, Demian Maia, Diego Brandao, Jason Miller, Leonard Garcia, Michael Bisping, Mixed Martial Arts, Sam Stout, Tony Ferguson, TUF 14, Vitor Belfort