Anderson Silva proved he was the greatest fighter in the world last night. He took the only man to give him a close fight and finished him in devastating fashion after looking like the fight would go the same way again. You can read my piece on Silva’s grace right here and Shawn’s PBP of the entire card here, which ran concurrently on Fox Sports. Now it’s time to take the five most intriguing winners and losers from this card and figure out who they fight next.
Anderson Silva vs. winner of Mark Munoz/Chris Weidman – Sonnen was always the steak and the sizzle when it came to matchups for Silva. Now it’s … well … kind of odd because now we have the final conclusion to that matchup with Anderson’s finish of Chael last night. The logical matchup would be Munoz/Weidman, as Munoz has been in line for a shot and Weidman isn’t far off either. Hector Lombard, if he wrecks Tim Boetsch, would be a sexier matchup but I think the Munoz/Weidman winner will get the title shot. I’d love to see Rashad Evans get this shot, because he’s a small light heavyweight and would have a shot at making 185 without too much difficulty.
Forrest Griffin vs. Glover Teixeira – No one seemingly wants to face Teixeira, it seems. Griffin has said he’s more of a name than a contender at this point. Teixeira needs to fight someone with a name and Griffin makes sense. Stephan Bonner wants a rubber match in their trilogy, which doesn’t make sense, and Rampage wants to avenge that loss as well. I could see either of those BUT Teixeira makes better sense than either of those. And with his erratic post fight behavior, I can see Griffin being the first to see just how good Teixiera is.
Chad Mendes vs. Ricardo Lamas – Mendes is in a particular quandary right now. He’s still the #2 featherweight in the world but he’s coming off a fairly substantial knockout loss to the champion. So he can’t quite get another title fight now but he’s too good to face another guy like Cody MacKenzie, either. Lamas is coming off an upset of Hatsu Hioki and is on a three fight win streak, now needing someone in the top tier to see whether or not he’s title ready. Mendes makes sense for him in this case; a title eliminator with the Korean Zombie might make sense BUT Mendes had his shot recently though. I don’t see him getting a fight with title implications until he wins another just because of the KO loss to the current champion.
Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin – It was supposed to happen and fell apart due to card troubles. It’s still a really interesting fight and I’d love to see it happen again. Le against Vitor Belfort would be a really nice matchup as well.
Demian Maia vs. Mike Pierce – While Dong Hyun Kim may have had to quit far before he was ready because of what appeared to be a rib injury, the one thing that Maia did do in the short fight span was look really good. He went out looking to grapple and did just that; it was a bit of the Maia of old, the get it to the ground guy at all costs. Mike Pierce is that guy who makes anyone look ugly but wants to grapple; I’d love to see Maia against him. Another possibility is Yoshiro Akiyama, another high profile guy and grappler.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva – Silva is on the downside of his career. Sonnen is coming off a massive loss that had been built for two years. He’s still a top five talent and if Silva has anything left then it’d be worth it to see against Sonnen. Vitor Belfort would be another style matchup for Sonnen, as well.
Patrick Cote vs. the loser of Tim Boetsch/Hector Lombard – Cote got a rough first fight in and I could see him getting another one if he sticks around for another fight. I could see Wanderlei Silva in this spot or even a returning Chris Leben, as well. Leben/Cote was a good fight seven years ago and I could see even the loser of Munoz/Weidman in this spot as well. Cote’s an interesting fighter in a number of matchups; my guess is he sticks around just because he could be a great matchup for so many fighters.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Duane Ludwig – You really can’t call this a loss for Kim because he had a fairly severe rib injury in two minutes of the fight out of nowhere. It was a fluke thing but it’s still a second loss in the row. Ludwig would be a great striker/grappler matchup for him.
Cody McKenzie vs. Diego Brandao – McKenzie is a borderline UFC fighter at best and Mendes just wrecked him like the #2 fighter in the world against a borderline guy ought to. McKenzie is in a bad spot now in which he hasn’t really looked all that good and may have found his walking papers last night. If not I think Brandao would be an interesting matchup; we don’t know Brandao’s ceiling yet and McKenzie
John Alessio vs. Edson Barboza – Alessio is an exciting striker who’s been around the game for a while. He just lost his second in a row and I’m not sure, considering he’s had a handful of stints in the UFC as well already before this current one, but Barboza would be a great matchup for him.
Tags: Five for Fighting, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 148