The big men have come and gone on the most violent card the UFC has put on PPV in quite some time. With five main card fights between heavyweights, all of which went to violent finishes early, it was the perfect culmination of the best week or so in heavyweight MMA history. You can read our results coverage by clicking here, of course, and now it’s time to do what we do after every major card: look at the five most intriguing winners and losers from this weekend’s card and play matchmaker.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez – I’d like to see Daniel Cormier in this spot instead, as I prefer fresh matchups instead of rematches, but Cormier is stuck in Strikeforce (and has a broken hand) and thus this matchup makes the best sense. At this point I’d love for Strikeforce to sign Bob Sapp and let Cormier “beat” him, of course, but I doubt at this point if Sapp could even get licensed because of his antics. Thus Cormier is stuck there for a while and the Velasquez rematch makes sense. Cain looked like an absolute killer, too, and a rematch with JDS is now instantly fascinating.
Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt – It was supposed to happen at UFC 146 but a knee injury to Hunt prevented that. The matchup still makes sense. I can see potentially lining him with Stipe Miocic or the winner of Werdum/Russow, or even Big Nog if he gets past Cheick Kongo. Struve is probably two fights, minimum, from being in the mix for a title shot and as such a step up is warranted. Hunt would make sense as well, considering his recent win streak as well.
Dan Hardy vs. Matt Brown – The Outlaw is back on the winning track after four straight losses but you can’t quite throw him back into the deep end of the pool right now. Brown is in a similar spot in that he has two wins after a handful of losses. Both are guys who love to throw and rarely disappoint in the entertaining category; this has all the feeling of a main event on the FX prelims or a co-main on a UFC on FX/Fuel TV bit. With the UFC heading to Hardy’s hometown of Nottingham, England, this would be a fun fight to put near the top of the card. I could see someone like Matthew Riddle as well; Hardy is a valued fighter and they’re going to keep him away from someone with a wrestling based attack.
Jamie Varner vs. winner of Melvin Guillard/Fabricio Camoes – You don’t want to put him against a top contender like the winner of Maynard/Guida, etc, but wrecking Edson Barboza in such brutal fashion deserves another chance. But not against someone elite right now, obviously, but you can’t put him against someone from this season of TUF or someone brand new either. Beating Barboza that viciously deserves and warrants someone higher up the food chain.Guillard has fallen quite badly and Camoes is a work in progress; if Varner can hang with either that would be something.
Glover Teixiera vs. Stephan Bonner – Bonner is the ultimate stepping stone to the top 10. Teixiera looked like an absolute badass mofo against Kyle Kingsbury and his wrecking of Bonner would get eyeballs on him. I could see them pushing him against Forrest Griffin after the Tito Ortiz fight, as well. Texiera needs a major step up; wrecking someone like Kingsbury, who normally doesn’t get wrecked that badly, puts Tiexiera in the same spot Paulo Thiago was after he knocked out Koscheck. A major step up is going to happen and happen soon.
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva – Both got their doors blown off this weekend and need a rebound fight, and are still ranked among the elite in the division, and thus a rebound match with one another makes sense. I could see Mir against the loser of Russow/Werdum or against Shane Carwin when he returns, as well. Mir has faced everyone in the division, for the most part, so trying to find him a fresh face is more difficult. Wait for rumors of Brock Lesnar in a return fight against Mir or Silva, most likely Mir though, in the near future. With Lesnar meeting with Dana, and the rumor mill working overtime already, expect this to be the next one to pop up.
Dave Herman vs. Pat Barry – Barry wants interesting fights. Herman is kind of chinny and isn’t looking to go to the ground. Barry/Herman makes sense because both like to sling leather and both are on the cusp of being the type to enter a Bellator tournament. Herman vs. Lavar Johnson could work as well as perhaps Brendan Schaub, too.
Lavar Johnson vs. loser of Rob Broughton/Matt Mitrione– The downside of Johnson getting tapped by Struve is that there aren’t many guys who aren’t submission or wrestling based in the heavyweight division. So trying to find someone who won’t immediately take him down and submit him is a bit tough. The loser of Broughton/Mitrione would be a good stylistic matchup as could be the loser of Mike Russow/Fabricio Werdum.
Duane Ludwig vs. Stephen Thompson – Ludwig still has TONS of value because he’s really good at exposing guys who aren’t quite ready for prime time. Thompson lost a tough fight to Matt Brown recently and the initial doubts on his future have slowly popped up for “Wonderboy.” A test against Ludwig would give us another gauge to see how far he needs to go.
Jacob Volkmann vs. Joe Lauzon – Lauzon just lost in bad fashion to Anthony Pettis. Volkmann lost in bad fashion on the curtain jerker. Lauzon is due to be sent back down the card and Volkmann is a near permanent fixture of Facebook fights.