I'll Take This One Joe - Post UFC 148 MatchmakingSo, Anderson Silva finally disposed of Chael Sonnen. Forrest Griffin won the trilogy against Tito Ortiz, who subsequently retired from the sport. Cung Le got the win inside the UFC that he so desperately craved. Chad Mendes dropped a guy with a body shot. And Demian Maia made a winning start to his new welterweight career.
With UFC 148 now officially in the books, i give UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby some time off, and choose who i think should be next for a handful of the fighters who competed on the card.
ANDERSON "THE SPIDER" SILVA (32-4)
After all the hype had died down, after all the trash talk was silenced and all the smoke had cleared. Anderson Silva is STILL UFC middleweight champion, STILL undefeated in the UFC, and is STILL the greatest MMA fighter to have ever walked the planet. He cemented all this by silencing any questions remaining from his UFC 117 bout with Chael Sonnen, putting this rivalry to bed with a second round finish. The question as always, what next for the legendary Brazilian?
Maia, Sonnen, Belfort, Okami, Franklin, Henderson....all disposed of. The next title contender seems like it will emerge from one of two bouts. Mark Munoz vs. Chris Weidman and Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch both go down within the next two weeks, and it is one of these men who will likely get the nod to challenge for the title. Looking at the men involved, Munoz and Lombard seem like the standout candidates, if both of those men win their bouts, i expect Lombard to get the nod. But it's simply too up in the air right now to really narrow it down to one man.
ANDERSON SILVA VS. LOMBARD/BOETSCH/MUNOZ/WEIDMAN
CHAEL "AMERICAN GANGSTER" SONNEN (27-12-1)
First off, let's give it up for the gangster from West Linn, he started UFC 148 just like he did UFC 117, by putting the Brazilian legend on his ass and keeping him there, raining down punches for five minutes. Unfortunately for Chael, Silva came out determined in the second round and did what he does best, becoming the first man to legitimately TKO the number 2 ranked middlweight. This leaves Sonnen in no mans land, having lost two title fights against the same man, and unlikely to see a third whilst that title remains around Silva's waist, Sonnen may have to be patient and just start focusing on putting a streak together.
Sonnen has already faced Bisping, Stann and Okami. So to start off his post Anderson career, i'd like to see Sonnen square off against the loser of the Munoz vs. Weidman bout. I was toying with Belfort vs. Sonnen, but i'm convinced Chael is going to have to take the long road to a title shot, whilst Belfort is still in the mix, and needs to face a fellow contender. The loser of Weidman vs. Munoz will still be a highly rated and respected middleweight, which seems the right fit for where Sonnen is at right now.
CHAEL SONNEN VS. MARK MUNOZ /CHRIS WEIDMAN LOSER
FORREST GRIFFIN (19-7)
The original Ultimate Fighter managed to completely screw up his UFC 148 fight. Despite squeaking another razor thin decision over Tito Ortiz, Griffin ran out the cage like a petulant child, then ruined Ortiz's last ever post fight interview by deciding to conduct it himself. I wont lie, it pissed me off. It doesn't take away from the fact that he did still win the fight, although he was fighting a 37 year old who gassed after round one.
Griffin himself has one foot out the door, hinting that he will take the Matt Hughes route of only facing opponents that interest him, and has no real interest in making another run at the top of the division. That helps to narrow this down some, basically ruling out a fight with most of the top ten. One guy just about propping up the tail end of the rankings is Rampage Jackson, who has often stated his desire to face Griffin in a rematch of their UFC 86 title fight, which Griffin won via a hotly disputed decision. Both men are winding down, Rampage wants it, and is due back from injury very soon.
FORREST GRIFFIN VS. QUINTIN "RAMPAGE" JACKSON
DEMIAN MAIA (16-4)
At UFC 148, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard made a very solid start to his new 170lb welterweight career, becoming only the second man to defeat tough Korean Dong Hyun Kim. The fight was nothing special, as Kim hurt himself after falling awkwardly during a Maia takedown. It seemed like Kim may have busted a rib, and the fight was immediately stopped. Regardless, Maia has the first welterweight win under his belt, and even looked like he was returning to the grappling style which served him so well in his early career.
There is no lack of interesting fights in the welterweight division, which, along with Lightweight, is arguably the most stacked out of all the UFC weight classes. Kim was a tough fight to start, so i see no point in taking a step back from that level. I think Jon Fitch would make a very interesting stylistic matchup. Fitch has made his name by grounding out opponents, smothering them and peppering them with shots from a close distance. grappling with a high level black belt like Maia is a dangerous for anyone, so i'm curious to see how it may play out. Fitch needs to get back to winning ways, and Maia would be a great win for him to prove he still has what it takes to compete with the better 170lb fighters.
DEMAIN MAIA VS. JON FITCH
MIKE "THE HULK" EASTON (13-1)
Going into UFC 148, it was known that the winner of this fight would put themselves right in the title mix at 135lbs. Though it was by no means a classic bout, Easton did enough to earn a decision win against his toughest opponent yet. The win means Easton has won his last eight, and is 3-0 inside the UFC. Make no mistake, Easton is very much a threat in the bantamweight division, and needs the right calibre of opponent to push him on to the next level.
Next up for Easton, i think a bout with Eddie Wineland makes good sense. Wineland just scored a huge victory over top ten ranked Scott Jorgensen, but due to his previous tough run, it didn't put him in contention for the title yet. Easton may be a slight step down from Jorgensen, but anyone who can break Easton's win streak will earn major credit.
MIKE EASTON VS. EDDIE WINELAND
KHABIB "THE EAGLE" NURMAGOMEDOV (18-0)
This 23 year old kid from Russia is fast becoming someone to keep an eye on. To be 18-0 at just 23 years of age, not to mention taking out a highly regarded veteran like Gleison Tibau in only his second UFC appearance is impressive any way you want to look at it. Tibau is no can, the guy has shared the cage with Thiago Alves, Nick Diaz, Jim Miller, Tyson Griffin and more, and Nurmagomedov dominated him for three straight rounds. This kid is legit, and already deserves a step up in my opinion.
Also on the undercard of UFC 148 was the hard hitting veteran Melvin Guillard. Nurmagomedov has yet to face a big, hard hitting striker like Guillard, and would only benefit by showing he can handle a guy of his level. Guillard snapped a two fight losing streak by defeating Fabrico Camoes, and will himself be looking to move back up the rankings.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Melvin Guillard
CHAD "MONEY" MENDES (12-1)
27 year old Chad Mendes bounced back from the first defeat of his career in some style. After losing his title shot against the killer that is Jose Aldo, Mendes scored a very impressive knockout of former TUF alumni, Cody McKenzie. Mendes actually put the fight to sleep with a devastating body shot, dropping McKenzie, and then following up with strikes to stop the fight. It was a reminder to everyone that the Team Alpha male standout is not like previous Aldo victims who fell off the radar (Brown, Gamburyan, Hominick), he is in fact making his way back for another crack at the champ.
To get their, Mendes will have to beat a higher calibre opponent then Mr McKenzie, who, no disrespect, is not on Mendes' level. I think a good bout for Mendes would be former number two ranked featherweight, Hatsu Hioki, who may be coming off a shock decision loss, but is still seen by many as one of the best in the world. Both men need a big win to get back in the mix, and both men have great grappling talent, so it makes perfect sense to this Addict.
CHAD MENDES VS. HATSU HIOKI
CONSTANTINOS "COSTA" PHILLIPOU (11-2)
Since making his middleweight debut in the UFC, this Cypriot has rattled off four straight victories over respectable opponents such as Jorge Rivera and Court McGee. The hard hitting 185lb talent comfortably controlled Riki Fukuda at UFC 148, and will surely be hoping to have earned himself a higher ranked opponent.
It took me a while to see that a great bout for Phillipou is against another middleweight who competed at UFC 148....Patrick "The Predator" Cote. The Canadian may have lost against a game Cung Le, but he is still a dangerous opponent who is a former UFC title challenger. It would be an impressive name to add to his record if Phillipou can get the win, whilst Cote will need to bounce back from what some may call an upset loss to the 40 year old Le, his only loss in his last five fights.
CONSTANTINOS PHILLIPOU VS. PATRICK COTE
So there it is, Addicts. Nothing official obviously, just my take on who should fight who in the near future. Thanks for reading.
Published by Lee Rabey - Sun, 8 Jul 2012 17:40