With UFC on Fuel TV 2 in the books it’s time to go to the future planning committee with Joe Silva and company to find out just where the top five most intriguing winners and losers coming off the card and see where to go to next.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Ryan Bader – Bader is back on the upsurge after a bit of a career swoon against Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz. Gustafsson is in the hunt for a title shot but isn’t quite ready for it yet. Gustafsson is right in the same spot that Phil Davis was with as he went into the Rashad Evans fight; he’s qualified enough to fight for a title but not ready to fight for it. A fight with Bader would be a great test and gives him yet another stiff test. Lyoto Machida would make sense in this spot as well as Gustafsson’s original scheduled opponent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Brian Stann vs. Mark Munoz – With the shallow nature of the middleweight division, Stann and Munoz are probably in line to challenge the winner of the Sonnen/Silva rematch. Munoz more so than Stann, of course, but a win over Stann gives Munoz one final pedigree before a title fight against Silva. Stann was already on the cusp of a title fight when he fought Sonnen and a win here gets him there. The winner of Rich Franklin/Cung Le might be in the cards as well as the winner of Vitor Belfort/Wanderlei Silva might be as well. Chris Weidman doesn’t have a fight matched and that could happen, too.
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. the winner of Stephen Thompson/Matt Brown – Siyar is still a prospect at this point but a win over Paulo Thiago, especially so dramatically, means something special could be happening. One imagines he also came out of that fight with no injuries, thus a quick turnaround to the winner of next weekend’s fight between Thompson and Brown could make sense as well. The winner of Dan Hardy/Duane Ludwig might be slotted here as well.
John Maguire vs. the winner of Mike Pyle/Josh Neer – Maguire is another burgeoning prospect who pulled off a brilliant submission win over a tough veteran. Another tough journeyman is in the cards for Maguire, I think. The winner of Hardy/Ludwig would be a suitable step up as well as the winner of Jorge Lopez and Amir Sadollah as well.
James Head vs. the winner of Erick Silva/Charlie Brenneman – Head is another solid prospect in need of a veteran challenge. Here’s another fight between two solid guys that would help push one forward.
Thiago Silva vs. Rampage Jackson – Silva fought Gustafsson and is never a dull fighter. You can’t schedule Rampage Jackson against someone on an undercard because of his profile as a fighter. And you also don’t want to sacrifice a top prospect or give him a tomato can to punch out as well. Silva was bandied about for the “A-Team” star before his drug suspension a year ago and this might make for a good going away fight for Jackson. Shogun Rua might be a solid followup as well as Phil Davis.
Damacio Page vs. Alex Caceres – Page has had a murderer’s row in his last three fights, all losses, and if he isn’t cut (which could happen) moving back down the card and fighting someone along Caceres’s level would be a good way to rebuild a guy who used to be ranked amongst the best fighters in the world. If he can’t fight a guy like Caceres, who is a nice fighter but so far hasn’t shown that he could be an elite fighter, then he shouldn’t be in the UFC.
Paulo Thiago vs. Justin Edwards – He just lost to a solid prospect in Siyar Bahadurzada in devastating fashion. If he’s going to be taken off a main card, which s a loss to a prospect usually will do for an established veteran, landing on the undercard against a tough but beatable opponent is probably the way to go.
Papy Abedi vs. Claude Patrick – Abedi came in with a lot of hype and so far hasn’t shown he can hang in the UFC. If he gets another fight in the company, which I’m not sure he will, Patrick makes sense at this point. Patrick is a solid fighter but never will be a champion. If Abedi has anything to prove why he should hang around then he’ll show it against Patrick.
Alessio Sakara vs. Tim Credeur – Sakara hasn’t done anything remarkable in the UFC besides stay around for a fairly long time. Credeur’s hanging on to his job as well as he has two losses in a row as well. Eventually one of them is going to have to win to stay in the promotion and neither is generally all that boring of a fighter. At least one leaves the company on their shield, I suppose.
Tags: Five for Fighting, Mixed Martial Arts