What Next?

What Next? (UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers from the UFC event that shook Rio de Janeiro up.

Erick Silva

The many wars that Erick Silva has been in may have attributed to his loss this past Saturday. He is still a fan favorite and should look to win against a slightly lower tier fighter in Luan Chagas who won on the early prelims of the same card. Chagas deserves the oppurtunity to fight a bigger name such as Silva and I hope he gets it plus it would be a fun fight to see since Silva always puts on exciting matches.

Next opponent: Luan Chagas

Yancy Medeiros

After taking out Erick Silva, Yancy Medeiros will be wanting to face off against a ranked opponent. That may not come just yet since most of them are pretty busy at the moment. So he should face another welterweight trying o become ranked. Peter Sobotta fits that description. Both men have finished there last opponent via KO/TKO in the second round which makes it sound even more like a good idea.

Next opponent: Peter Sobotta

Oluwale “Holy War Angel” Bamgbose

Oluwale Bamgbose is still a dangerous force in the middleweight division and needs to learn from this loss in order to improve as a fighter. A match against jiu-jitsu expert Antônio Carlos Júnior could do wonders for him. He may not do well if he is taken down by Júnior but the fight always starts on the feet where Bamgbose will have an advantage. This is an old fashion striker vs. grappler matchup.

Next opponent: Antônio Carlos Júnior

Paulo Borrachinha

It was impressive for Paulo Borrachinha to get the stoppage againsst a man who has stopped his opponents in all of his victories. This also shows that Borrachinha is not just a first-round-knockout-or-bust fighter. He took minimal damage in this fight and should fight someone who has done the same. My pick for him to fight is Nat Marquardt who has also fought on this card. Although Marquardt did not win to the judges, many believed he won in a great performance against his adversary. This would be a fun matchup as both men have great power and wrestling.

Next opponent: Nate Marquardt

Nate “The Great” Marquardt

See Paulo Borrachinha’s next opponent above for full details.

Next opponent: Paulo Borrachinha

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort

Although it is highly unrecommended, Vitor Belfort is going to continue fighting in the UFC. He just barely beat an unranked Nate Marquardt in a controversial decision victory it is questionable whether or not he would want to face a ranked opponent. I’m just going to assume he would want to face a ranked opponent next. If he is looking for easy matchups then I could give an endless list of fighters for him to face. Instead, I’m going to match him with the most competitive he can get. David Branch seems appropriate. He is a former two division WSOF champion but put on a boring fight a few months back that he won by decision as well. The two are close to eachother on the ranking, making this match make all the more sense.

Next opponent: David Branch

Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Karolina Kowalkiewicz just revealed a massive Achilles’ heel in her game: her ground game. She needs to go back to the drawing board and develop that portion of her skillset. Her next opponent should be Jessica Andrade who just fought for the title in a losing effort earlier this year. Both are coming off high profile losses and should look to bounce back with a win over the other.

Next opponent: Jessica Andrade

Claudia Gadelha

This one is very complicated but bear with me. Claudia Gadelha has shown that she is the guaranteed second best strawweight in the UFC. She has stated that she does not want to challenge for the title yet and that she wants Rose Namjunas to challenge first. If this happens then Gadelha should definitely challenge the winner for the title. But if for whatever reason the UFC does not pull the trigger with Namajunas then Gadelha and Namjunas should face eachother for the title shot.

Next opponent: Rose Namajunas/Winner of Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

José Aldo

Poor José Aldo was on top of the world and it all came crashing down. But contrary to what some are saying online, he is far from done. Aldo can certainly get back his title if he takes out a top contender to earn himself a title shot. For now t all depends on his health after suffering that beating in his last fight. If he wants to get back in there quickly then Ricardo Lamas is the perfect pick since his opponent, The Korean Zombie, pulled out of their contest at UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2. If Aldo wants to take a bit of time to recuperate then his matchup should be with Cub Swanson who is also waiting as of now. I do not usually make picks like this but with Aldo it will be determined on what he wants to do.

Next opponent: Ricardo Lamas/Cub Swanson

Max “Blessed” Holloway

The logical choice for Max Holloway’s first title defense is the current top contender, Frankie Edgar. He has shown why he is one of the greatest of all time when he dominated Yair Rodriguez earlier this year. He had a great showing against José Aldo but ultimately came up short. Holloway may end up being a better matchup for him. This could be Edgar’s last chance to win that elusive second UFC championship.

Next opponent: Frankie Edgar

What Next?

What Next? (UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Lobov)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers from the UFC event that shook Nashville up.

Jake Ellenberger:

Ok, bear with me on this one for a bit. I honestly believe that Jake Ellenberger should just throw in the towel and hang up the gloves because I do not see him doing much in this division other than what he did against his opponent this past Saturday. I do not want to pick an opponent for him because I think he’s done. The UFC was going to let him go before he changed their mind by beating Matt Brown in spectacular fashion at UFC 201. But then he was defeated twice in a row after that via KO/TKO. I know how his next fight is going to end but he more than likely won’t listen to my pleas to stop fighting and will take another fight anyways. His next opponent (if he chooses to have one) should be Bryan Barberena. That guy showed why he is force to be reckon with when he beat Sage Northcutt over a year ago. His recent knockout on, the same card that Ellenberger ate the people’s elbow, was beautifully well done. Now all he needs is a win over a veteran under his belt and he will begin to get more challenging matchups. This is the fight to make.

Next opponent: Bryan Barbarena

Mike “Platinum” Perry:

This was a tricky one to pick because of every fighter in this division and their moms being booked for a fight already. The lone fighter that is available but still at a resonable place on the rankings for Mike Perry is Ryan LaFlare who last fought at UFC 208 where he won a decision victory against Roan Carneiro. If he is down for it, there is a hungry fighter in Mike Perry wuld love to fight in what would be an interesting matchup considering the two fighters’ skill set.

Next opponent: Ryan LaFlare

Joe Lauzon:

Joe Lauzon should keep his head up after this decision loss (that I don’t think was deserved). Lauzon needs to find an opponent that will put him back into relevancy. The opponent I’m thinking of here is Will Brooks who has a record of 19 wins and 3 losses. The veteran Lauzon would see himself having the edge due to his years of experience while Brooks would think his better record is an indicator that he is the superior athlete. I would like this fight to happen because it just says fight of the night contender to me.

Next opponent: Will Brooks

Stevie “Braveheart” Ray:

Stevie Ray is sure looking for a ranked opponent after beating a veteran in the lightweight division. The lowest and most available option he has right now is Rashid Magomedov who actually fought a weekend before Ray did. This is a sign that these two paths are likely to cross in the near future. And I mean VERY near future.

Next opponent: Rashid Magomedov

Eddie Wineland:

Eddie Wineland was clearly outmatched from his much stronger and faster opponent. His best bet is to face off against a lower ranked opponent to build his skillset and technique. Iuri Alcântara is trying to move up and would be a great challenge for Wineland. Both men can look to benefit from this fight.

Next opponent: Iuri Alcântara

John “The Magician” Dodson:

Jimmie Rivera was expected to face Bryan Caraway earlier this year but never got to due to his opponent having and undisclosed injury. He turned down a fight with Marlon Vera due to Vera having a lack of rank or relevance in the division. If Rivera is looking for a rank and some relevance in his opponents then Jon Dodson is his man. Dodson would love the oppurtunnity to move up while Rivera must be hungry for a fight since having his last fight in September of last year.

Next opponent: Jimmie Revera

Marcos “Pezao” Rogerio de Lima:

It is pretty embarassing when you come in heavy and still lose the fight. It shows a lack of seriousness and responsibility in MMA. Marcos Rogerio de Lima should look to bounce back by beating another unranked light heavyweight fighter (and making weight). Devin Clark is a perfect opponent for him seeing how Clark has only suffered one loss in his nine pro fights (via knockout). This could be anyone’s fight and I would love to see who wants to move on up in this division more. Who is willing to dig deep to win this contest? Good luck predicting this one.

Next opponent: Devin Clark

Ovince Saint Preux:

If Ovince Saint Preux wants to move up the rankings quickly and easily then he should look for the fight against the man he had already beat in Shogun Rua. However since we are being fair, OSP’s next opponent should honsetly be Corey Anderson who is looking to bounce back from his knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa this past March.  It would be a great matchup for both fighters seeing as they are both highly touted as young, skilled talent in the division.

Next opponent: Corey Anderson

Diego “Lionheart” Sanchez:

I think Father Time has finally caught up to Diego Sanchez. He tries to be more patient with his strikes because brawling usually sees him getting knocked out. His timidness did not help as he still found him self going to sleep due to punches to the cranium. I want him to retire before he takes anymore serious damage but if he wants to fight and continue to get kncoked out that badly then undefeated prospect Gregor Gillespie is fresh and looking for someone to knockout to become more relevent in a very competitive division.

Next opponent: Gregor Gillespie

Al “Raging” Iaquinta:

This was another tricky one due to the fact that a lot of the fighters around Al Iaquinta’s rank are either MIA or injured. The only one available right now is Kevin Lee who Iaquinta has beaten in the past (yet Lee is somehow ahead of Iaquinta in the rankings). Beneil Dariush wouldn’t be a bad pick if he didn’t have a medical suspension due to that vicious flying knee KO he suffered from Edson Barboza. The fight between Iaquinta and Lee that first happened in 2014 needs a do-over that I’m sure both fighters would want. Lee would love to avenge that loss and Iaquinta would love to move up the rankings. That is assuming Iaquinta isn’t more interested in real estate than fighting.

Next opponent: Kevin Lee

Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov:

Artem Lobov needs to go back to facing unranked guys in the featherweight division. He can start by taking on the undefeated Shane Burgos. Both guys like to throw heavy hands and have a bit of jiu-jitsu experience. Plus knocking off an undefeated guy would put you right back into a fight with another ranked fighter. Burgos would also like to beat a guy who just had a five round main event showdown with a number four ranked fighter.

Next opponent: Shane Burgos

Cub Swanson

After showing why he deserves another shot at the title, you would assume Cub Swanson would get it after thiss impressive performance. However, being ranked fourth in the division and beating an unranked fighter doesn’t give you a title shot in my opinion. I believe he needs to go again with a former opponent of his in Ricardo Lamas to truly give him the credibility of a title challenger.

Next opponent: Ricardo Lamas

What Next?

What Next? (UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs Anderson)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers for the UFC event that shook London up.

Arnold Allen:

Arnold Allen is still developing as a fighter and might not be cut out yet for a ranked fighter. However, I did see some fight in him as he was always looking to strike and throw down with his opponent while still looking for the takedown. This reminds me of Gray Maynard who just lost to Ryan Hall in a odd contest. Maynard felt it was not a real fight as Hall was constantly going to the ground to get a submission. If a fight is what Maynard wants then Allen is he guy he is looking for. Allen can also use this fight to push him closer to the rankings and see if he truly deserves the record he has accumulated. Gray Maynard

Makwan Amirkhani:

Makwan Amirkhani needs to get back in the win column again by facing a guy who holds a similar record but has lost in their last fight as well. Luke Sanders is the only guy who comes to mind who held an eleven fight win streak to start off his career before he suffered his first loss at UFC 209: Woodley vs Thompson 2 to Iuri Alcantara this past month. It will be interesting to see the to styles matchup and see who could bounce back from a loss to secure a win. Luke Sanders

Marlon Vera:

Malon Vera just beat a retiring Brad Pickett who has one foot out the door. He needs more serious opponents before he can get a top 15 opponent. Franky Saenz would be that perfect opponent even though he is on a three fight losing streak. But because Saenz is a very tough competitor with an impressive record this makes him the right pick. Beating two big names in MMA would definitely put Vera on the map. Franky Saenz

Gunnar Nelson:

This is a tough one as there are several good oponnents for the submission specialist. Donald Cerrone was a high candidate seeing how the two are ranked right next to eachother but this matchup does not appear to be the best one. I believe a match between Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny would be an exciting one. Magny was able to beat Johnny Hendricks by a controversial unanimous decision at the closing part of last year which makes him a tough opponent to beat. Nelson has the tools to do it though and would love to rise through the ranks fast so this matchup seems like a smart one if Magny doesn’t avoid it like the one with Jorge MasvidalNeil Magny

Alan Jouban:

Another tough selection with all of the great welterweight fighters out there but Jouban needs to go back to the drawing board and face an unranked opponent. At first Alex Oliveira was my pick for him to fight but then I decided that it would not be fair for Oliveira to face another unranked opponent after he has defeated three of them so far. Alex Morono is the next logical choice if he sees himself entering the octagon more recently. He put on a great display in Houston despite losing the contest and would be the perfect opponent for Jouban. This contest would result in fireworks and may make a star out of it. Alex Morono

Jimi Manuwa:

Without question, Jimi Manuwa should be facing the light heavyweight champion after that impressively quick knockout of top contender Corey Anderson. He has a solid case and would love to have a crack at either Daniel Cormier or a rematch with Anthony Johnson. Winner of Daniel Cormier vs Anthony Johnson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

Corey Anderson:

I feel sorry for Corey Anderson. He is an incredible athlete who got caught by an impressive striker. I feel like he deserves a rematch with Shogun Rua but that likely won’t happen. Volkan Oezdemir is a great opponent who just beat Ovince Saint Preux not too long ago. The contest between Anderson and Oezdemir would be a good one because of the rankings the two hold plus their all-around skill set. Volkan Oezdemir