It’s odd to think that three days after UFC 148 we have another fight card on our hands. And a change at the top is at hand as Chris Weidman just wrecked Mark Munoz in devastating fashion, punctuating it by calling out the champion immediately afterward. Did he do enough to face Anderson Silva? Find out below as I try to figure out the path forward for the five most intriguing winners and losers from this card.
Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort – It’s hard to argue that Weidman shouldn’t get a title shot next. You don’t wreck a guy like Mark Munoz that badly without having everyone starting the big jump onto the bandwagon. I thought that the Munoz/Weidman winner should get a title shot, thinking it’d probably be Munoz honestly, but watching that fight one thing came to mind. It was the same thought I got from a text from my buddy Shawn W Smith of MMA HQ as well.
Weidman isn’t ready. But he’s so close we can taste it.
He needs another scalp on his resume, I think, and his striking game has to improve. He’s at the same point Jon Jones was after he wrecked Brandon Vera; you can feel him becoming a challenger, and soon, but he’s not quite there. He’s improving rapidly and Weidman is going to be the next MW champion … but he’s not quite ready to come at the king. When you come at the king, you best not miss, and right now Weidman is primed to potentially miss his shot at Anderson Silva. I’d like to see him ideally take another fight, maybe two, and then take on Silva towards the end of next year.
From where he started to now it’s a complete 360 but he’s not quite ready to match up with Anderson if he can’t get him to the ground just yet. He needs some final polish; it’s like right after you cleaned your car. Serra and Longo have done wonderful things so far with him but right now he still needs to improve his stand up. And preparing for someone who can stand and blow you out of the water like Vitor, or even Alan Belcher, would be appropriate I think.
So far Weidman looks like my Corolla after I use water and soap; it looks nice and shiny but you need to put the coat of wax on so it really pops. Weidman needs a final coat of wax and some time to dry off before he challenges Anderson. Vitor Belfort is a big name and will give him an opportunity to get in front of the most eyeballs, as well. Ideally you could make this the co-main of UFC 153, underneath JDS/Cain, and Weidman has a star-making fight ready to happen.
Aaron Simpson vs. Dan Miller – Simpson and Miller, upon a time, were small middleweights who could make welterweight and then eventually decided to do so. Simpson did enough to win but Kenny Robertson isn’t Jon Fitch; Fitch would’ve blown him out of the water if he’d have fought like he did against Robertson. Simpson isn’t quite ready to jump up to the big time and neither is Miller, either.
T.J Dillashaw vs. Brian Bowles – Dillashaw is on a wrecking spree right now. Who’d have thought that of all the guys to make it to the TUF Finals at the end of last year that he’d be the one with the most wins of the cast so far? So far he looks like a mauler and a future title contender; I think the UFC steps him up in competition big time for his next fight. I could see Ivan Menjivar being next on the list, too. Dillashaw looks like a monster ready for deep waters. A win over Bowles is a feather in his cap and a step up to the big leagues.
Alex Caceres vs. the winner of Bryan Caraway/Mitch Gagnon – If he hadn’t gone nut shot crazy against Edwin Figueroa the former TUF contestant would be on a three fight win streak since cutting to bantamweight. As it stands he’s 2-1 and getting vastly better each time out. Time to step it up and the winner of this fight would be a nice matchup; both fighters are burgeoning prospects and the winner will face another name prospect like Caceres.
James Te Huna vs. Forrest Griffin – Te Huna is an up and comer and Griffin fought old against Tito. There aren’t a ton of interesting matchups for Griffin these days and odds are he’s winding it down; Te Huna is on his way up and Griffin has acknowledged that these are the kinds of fights he expects to get and take.
Mark Munoz vs. Patrick Cote – Cote deserves another fight in the UFC. Munoz needs a rebound found against someone who could expose his chin again. Weidman caught him, as did Matt Hamill, but are those potentially big shots that rocked him or does he potentially have a suspect chin I wonder. Cote is a nice rebound fight
Joey Beltran vs. Kyle Kingsbury – He gets in shape, takes a fight on short notice and then gets pounded on. Joey Beltran’s transition from puffy heavyweight to not as puffy light heavyweight didn’t go as smoothly in the UFC as he had probably wanted. Right now we need to find out if this version of Beltran deserves to take up a UFC roster spot. Kyle Kingsbury is nearing similar territory, as well. There’s only so far his remarkable athleticism can take him. One of these two isn’t long for the UFC at their current pace.
Josh Ferguson vs. John Lineker – Ferguson’s a flyweight and the division is kiddie pool shallow. He’s got two losses so far, albeit one a weight up from where he should’ve been fighting, and I think he deserves another chance in the UFC. The guy has some talent and flyweight is so shallow right now that you can get away with losing two to three fights in the division and not get cut because of it. Lineker was insanely hyped and then got stopped by another of Ferguson’s TUF mates; either he’ll get a signature win or we’ll have figured out that we significantly overrated him coming in.
Kenny Robertson vs. Dan Stittgen – One of these guys might not be a UFC fighter. Lackluster losses on the same card and usually you could see both getting cut. My guess is that Joe Silva gives Robertson another chance and Stittgen came in with a good amount of hype as a prospect; plus he’s local to me and some slight homerism is in effect here.
Issei Tamura vs. Hugo Wolverine – Not the most auspicious start for the TUF Brazil winner, obviously, but this’ll be his first time making the cut in the UFC weight wise. Tamura is a feasible opponent just good enough to push him but not completely out of his league either.
Tags: Five for Fighting, Mixed Martial Arts