With UFC on Fuel: Ellenberger vs. Sanchez in the books, it’s time to look forward at what’s next for the competitors on the card. In a bit of fantasy matchmaking, I’ve written who I think some of tonight’s fighters should fight next, and why said scraps should happen.
Tim Means vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Both are very experienced fighters, both recently made their successful debuts inside the octagon, so let’s match them up together and get a better idea of the pecking order moving forward.
Jonathan Brookins vs. Mark Hominick / Eddie Yagin
The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner rebounded from his first loss at featherweight with a quick knockout of Vagner Rocha. While he has a long way to go, a match-up against the winner of Hominick vs. Yagin could be a good start for him, as whoever wins the upcoming UFC 145 bout, will be rebounding from a loss as well.
Both bantamweights picked up impressive wins. Barring injury, both could be looking at a quick turnaround, and given the timeline, this match makes perfect sense. Dillashaw needs to test himself against an experienced fighter, and Menjivar needs to test his great jiu-jitsu against a wrestler with the chops of Dillashaw.
Dave Herman vs. Matt Mitrione
Two heavyweights with heavy hands coming off losses? I’d like to see Herman maybe work on that whole stamina issue before this fight is made, but I see no reason why this fight shouldn’t happen. Fireworks.
Stipe Miocic vs. Stefan Struve
Miocic needs a step up in competition, but not a giant leap. Struve matches the criteria, and with the two competing on the same card, the timing couldn’t be better. Perhaps the two could throw down this summer with the loser staying in the mid-tier of the division, and the winner moving up.
Ronny Markes vs. Tim Boetsch / Yushin Okami
Although it would be a step up in competition, Markes needs to face a larger middleweight to see where he really stands. He used his size to stifle the wrestling of Aaron Simpson, and I’d like to see how he fairs against the larger 185ers. With Boetsch and Okami fighting in just over a week, I’d like to see the winner fight Markes while the top of the division sorts itself out.
Diego Sanchez vs. Jon Fitch
Both fighters had neared the top of the welterweight division before a better fighter knocked them back down. To work their way back up, this rematch is necessary. The two met before at UFC 76 in 2007 with Fitch getting the nod via Split Decision, and the timing for the rematch is perfect. Both men have name recognition and can easily open up a PPV card or take the co-main spot on an FX or Fuel TV card.
While Ellenberger could campaign for a rematch with interim champ Carlos Condit, it appears as though Carlos will be deciding to wait to unify the titles against Georges St. Pierre. It makes sense that the winner of Hendricks/Koscheck would be right at the top of the pack with Ellenberger, so let’s have the two top contenders fight to see who gets the next shot at whoever the welterweight champion will be at the end of 2012.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC