With UFC 142 in the books, also known as UFC Rio 2: Electric Bugaloo, it’s time to play Joe Silva as matchmaker and figure out the five most compelling matchups for five fighters coming out of an early candidate for best card of the year. As always you can read our play by play of the event by clicking here and Shawn Smith’s 10 Thoughts on the card by clicking here.
Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlai Silva – The two are fighting after the conclusion of TUF Brazil and it’s easiest to make. Vitor right now is probably a win away from another shot at Anderson Silva and a win over the other middleweight Silva probably makes it happen.
Edson Barboza vs. Donald Cerrone – This is the best knockout of 2012 and it would be hard to see something top this in the next 12 months. Barboza is just a killer at this point and needs a big step up in competition after that. Cerrone would make for an interesting test and a stand up war between the two. Dennis Siver, if he doesn’t drop to featherweight, would be another interesting test as would be the loser of this week’s FX main event or Clay Guida.
Rousimar Palhares vs. winner of Ed Herman/Clifford Starks – Palhares next fight matchup will show us how far the UFC thinks he is from a title shot. Herman would seemingly be the pick here; another good matchup would be Brian Stann as well. The winner of Bisping/Maia on UFC On Fox 2 in a title eliminator, or the loser of Munoz/Sonnen, would be another indicator of how far he is from getting a shot at Anderson Silva.
Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Chan Sung Jung – He’s the hot name, coming off the quick knockout of Hominick and the Twister submission of Leonard Garcia. I can see them setting up Aldo for another win on this but it’s just hard to find another matchup for him because he’s torn through the division already.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stefan Struve – Is Gonzaga back? We don’t know. He’s done enough to get another fight to see if he has anything left; 15 months off may have gotten his head right. He did lose to a lot of great guys en route to being cut the first time, including Junior Dos Santos and Brendan Schaub. Struve would be an interesting matchup physically. A debuting Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva could be an interesting matchup as well as the loser of the Strikeforce Grand Prix could help as well. Gonzaga still has a name and is still potentially a Top 20 heavyweight but he’s a gatekeeper to the Top 10 in his career.
Tags: Five for Fighting, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 142