After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next. So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.
Who he should fight next: Scott Holtzman
The UFC put a lot of effort into promoting 19 year old Sage Northcutt (7-1). Then he met Bryan Barberena at UFC on FOX 18 and suffered his first professional loss. Not only did he lose, he was also roasted on social media by fellow fighters, especially for the “quick tap” nature of the loss.
It was Northcutt’s third fight in as many months so he should take some time off. When he comes back it should be against a beatable opponent who still presents challenges for him. Fellow lightweight Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman (8-1) would be a great starting point on the comeback trail for Sage.
Holtzman is also coming off his first professional loss and is looking for a return to the win column. Holtzman and Northcutt have similar experience levels so this would be an even matchup. “Hot Sauce” wouldn’t be an easy fight for Northcutt, but then again in the UFC there are no easy fights. This is a fight that should happen sometime in 2016.
Who he should fight next: Eddie Wineland
Iuri Alcantara (33-7-1NC) has now lost two of his last three fights inside the octagon. Although his loss to Jimmie Rivera earned him “fight of the night” honours, Alcantara knows winning is what matters most at this point in his career. The 35 year old is a tough matchup for anyone. But if he wants to make a final push at a UFC title he’ll have to keep taking on solid opposition.
Eddie Wineland (21-11-1) is on a two fight losing skid and is in desperate need of a victory. He and Alcantara are in similar positions right now. They both need to start winning again as they aren’t getting any younger. Wineland is 3-5 since joining the UFC but just like Alcantara he’s faced some of the best bantamweight fighters in the world.
Even if neither of these gets a title shot in their UFC career this would be a highly entertaining bout. The loser could be in jeopardy of getting his pink slip so the stakes would be high.
Who he should fight next: Retire or fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
Realistically UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett (34-8) has nothing left to prove in the sport of mixed martial arts. He’s a former UFC heavyweight champion and has fought all over the world for many years. He’s fought a who’s who of heavyweight contenders since turning pro in 1997. It’s incredible to think that before he lost to Ben Rothwell at UFC on FOX 18 he’d never been submitted in his lengthy career.
So if Barnett decided to retire no one would hold it against him. However, he’s a fierce competitor and going out on a loss may not sit well with “The Warmaster”. If he must fight again “Bigfoot” Silva (19-8) would be an excellent foe. He’s also on the tail end of his fighting career but wanting to stay relevant in a thin heavyweight division. This would be the perfect main event for a UFC event overseas in Asia and a nice curtain call for the 38 year old Josh Barnett.
Who he should fight next: Alexander Gustafsson
Just because Anthony Johnson made quick work of Ryan Bader (20-5) at UFC on FOX 18 doesn’t mean Bader isn’t a top ten light heavyweight. The problem for Bader is that he’s already fought most of the guys in the top ten. But one guy he hasn’t faced is two time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (16-4).
Gustafsson has lost two straight fights but those losses were to Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier. In the fight with Cormier, Gustafsson once again rose to the occasion in a title fight and took the champ to his limits. A win over a guy like Gustafsson would be absolutely huge for Ryan Bader and would put him right back into the title picture at 205lbs.
Neither guy is currently booked for a fight so a late spring, early summer matchup would be perfect for these two light heavyweights. It would be one of the biggest fights in the division for 2016 and one that fans would love to see.
Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer