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 each UFC event to see what we think the next step is.

 

Bec Rawlings (7-4)

Who she should face next: Aisling Daly (16-6)

Bec Rawlings was able to stay active and outpoint Seo Hee Ham on Sunday. It made it two straight wins for the Australian strawweight. She was visibly the slower fighter and it’s possible she may have been the recipient of good fortune in regards to the judge’s scores.

However, Rawlings still won a second fight in a row in a division that is still very low on talent. She’s had a rocky start so it’s hard to imagine she’ll be given a huge challenge next time out, the UFC will give her a winnable fight. Although Aisling Daly has a big experience advantage over Bec Rawlings, she’s 2-1 in the octagon and has stumbled at times. Three wins in a row for Rawlings would do wonders for her as she moves up in the rankings.

 

Steve Bosse (11-2)

Who he should face next: Tim Boetsch (18-10)

Steve Bosse made up for a disappointing performance in his UFC debut by starching James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 85. Bosse’s first fight lasted 29 seconds and the fight with Te Huna was only 52 seconds long. What this means is that it is still way too early to tell what kind of UFC fighter Steve Bosse will be. We know he has punching power and that’s it.

Tim Boetsch has been around a long time as both a middleweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. He’s fought some pretty big names and he’s not a pushover in any sense of the word. Putting Bosse up against a guy like Boetsch, who is nearing the of his career, would be a perfect way to see where the Canadian stands as of now.

 

Daniel Kelly (11-1)

Who he should face next: Elias Theodorou (11-1)

After his win at UFC Fight Night 85, Daniel Kelly said he’ll be taking some time off to coach Judo in the upcoming summer Olympics. At 38 years old it’s unlikely Kelly will make any sort of title run in the UFC, but if he wants that chance he needs to be willing to take on big challenges in the future.

His only loss was against Sam Alvey via TKO, he’s since won two straight fights. Kelly’s TUF: Nations cast mate Elias Theodorou holds an identical record and to make this potential matchup even more intriguing, Elias defeated Sheldon Westcott in the show’s finale, Westcott eliminated Kelly from the tournament. This would be a tough fight to call and entertaining to watch.

 

Jake Matthews (10-1)

Who he should face next: Magomed Mustafaev (13-1)

Jake Matthews showed all kinds of potential when he took out veteran Johnny Case by submission on Saturday night. Matthews is still very young and needs to keep developing if he wants to compete with top 15 UFC lightweights.

Magomed Mustafaev is a perfect 2-0 since joining the UFC with victories over Joe Proctor and Piotr Hallmann. He also holds a win over Abubakar Nurmagomedov, the younger brother of UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. Mustafaev is definitely capable of giving the 21 year old Matthews a solid challenge.

 

Neil Magny (18-4)

Who he should face next: Carlos Condit (30-9)

Neil Magny took all kinds of punishment in the first round of his fight with Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 85. Lombard wasn’t able to convince the ref to stop the fight so it continued. Magny made it out of the round and by the end of the 2nd he was the one trying to force a stoppage. When the third started it was obvious Magny was going to get the win it was just a matter of when. Finally referee Steve Percival stopped the fight early in the final round. He’s proven that he is a legitimate contender at 170lbs and Magny should be close to a title shot.

In the minds of a lot of UFC fans, Carlos Condit should be the current welterweight champion, but unfortunately he lost a close decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 195. Condit could possibly get a rematch with Lawler, if that doesn’t happen he should fight Neil Magny in a title eliminator. The length of both men would make for a very interesting battle.

 

Mark Hunt (12-10-1)

Who he should face next: Josh Barnett (34-8)

Mark Hunt has now won two straight fights for the first time since 2013. His knockout of Frank Mir reminded us that he has the power to stop any heavyweight on the planet. Age is not on his side but as long as he wants to fight, the UFC will have opponents for him.

Josh Barnett currently finds himself in a spot very similar to the one Mark Hunt is in. They’re both nearing the end of their respective careers, yet they can still hang with the best the UFC has to offer. Hunt also said he’s interested in rematches and Barnett defeated the New Zealander 10 years ago under the Pride banner. The winner of this fight might have one last title push left in him, only time will tell.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

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.(Note: We apologize for the delay with this article)

Brad Pickett (25-11)

Who he should face next: Erik Perez (15-6)

Brad Pickett admitted that if had he lost to Francisco Rivera at UFC Fight Night 84 he would have retired. For the sake of this article we are going to assume that retirement is no longer an option and Pickett will in fact fight another day. The win snapped a three fight losing streak and it was his second fight after returning to the bantamweight division.

Pickett should stay in the bantamweight division. There is no need for him to be cutting a large amount of weight at this point in his career. He’s a great measuring stick for up and coming fighters and I think the UFC should put him against young guys looking to build a resume. One of those guys is none other than Erik Perez.

Perez’s two UFC losses came against Takeya Mizugaki and Bryan Caraway, so it’s obvious he’s not ready for the top of the division just yet. However a fight with Pickett would give him a challenge against a veteran with a good chin and great stand up ability. Of course at Pickett’s age it’s always nice to say you beat a young up and comer like Erik Perez.

 

Tom Breese (10-0)

Who he should face next: Sean Strickland (17-1)

Tom Breese came away from UFC Fight Night 84 with his perfect professional record still intact. He’s 3-0 since joining the UFC, but his victory over Keita Nakamura was far from being his most impressive and the UFC might want to keep pushing him along slowly before they give him a major step up in competition.

Sean Strickland is 4-1 since joining the UFC’s welterweight division in 2014. His only loss came against Santiago Ponzinibbio and he’s since won two straight. This would be an exciting matchup and the outcome would prove which one of these guys is ready for that big step up in competition.

 

Gegard Mousasi (38-6-2)

Who he should face next: Derek Brunson (15-3)

Gegard Mousasi has been a tad inconsistent since finally joining the UFC in 2013. He has losses to fellow middleweights Lyotoa Machida, Ronaldo Souza and Uriah Hall. He’s still in the top ten of the middleweight division, but if he wants a title shot he needs to keep fighting the best of the best.

Derek Brunson is finally on the cusp of cracking the top ten, he still needs a signature win to put him on the map. A victory over a proven veteran like Gegard Mousasi would be incredible for his career. The UFC would just need to convince the often bored looking Mousasi that this is a fight that would be good for him.

 

Michael Bisping (28-7)

Who he should face next: Yoel Romero (11-1)

After Michael Bisping defeated Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 84, many people were calling for him to get a shot at the middleweight title. Sure he’s been around a long time but I think he needs to beat another top 185lb fighter before he gets the title shot that has eluded him for many years.

Yoel Romero thought he might get a title shot after he took out Ronaldo Souza at UFC 194. However, the UFC had other plans and granted former champion Chris Weidman a rematch with Luke Rockhold at UFC 199. Now Romero can either wait or take another fight. There has been so much controversy in Romero’s UFC career that I really think he needs a number 1 contender fight before he gets a title shot. Facing Michael Bisping would be a worth title eliminator and the winner would most definitely be the front runner for a middleweight title shot.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

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.

Amanda Nunes (12-4)

Who she should face next: Holly Holm (10-1) or Julianna Pena (7-2)

Amanda Nunes is a legitimate contender in the women’s bantamweight division, there is no doubt about that.  However, since she’s right near the top of the pack at 135lbs, her future really depends on who new champion Miesha Tate faces next.

Dana White made it clear that Ronda Rousey would be Miesha Tate’s title defense.  But, as we know all too well in MMA, plans don’t always work out the way we want.  Maybe Ronda gets injured or retires and Holly Holm gets a rematch with Tate.  If Holly Holm doesn’t get the rematch, instead of waiting around for the winner of Tate vs. Rousey, she should face Amanda Nunes for the number one contender spot.

Let’s say Ronda doesn’t fight Tate next, then Nunes’ best option is to face another ranked opponent.  I think putting her up against Julianna Pena would make for an incredible matchup.  Both women are strong on the ground and neither of them ever seems to back down from a challenge.  The options are plenty for Nunes and let’s hope her next fight is against one of these two women.

 

Corey Anderson (8-1)

Who he should face next: Ilir Latifi (12-4)

Although Corey Anderson wasn’t overly impressive in his victory over Tom Lawlor at UFC 196, he is still on a three fight winning streak.  That alone should earn him an opponent near the top ten in the light heavyweight division.  However, Anderson only has nine professional fights, so matchmakers will likely keep in that in mind when they are booking his next fight.

Another guy riding a three fight winning streak is Swedish fighter Ilir Latifi.  It just so happens that Latifi fought right after Anderson on Saturday night and picked up a decent win of his own when he earned a unanimous decision over Gian Villante.  Anderson and Latifi are both headed in the same direction and a fight between them would separate the middle of the pack fighter from the contender.

 

Ilir Latifi (12-4)

Who he should face next: See above

 

Miesha Tate (18-5)

Who she should face next: Ronda Rousey (12-1)

Miesha Tate picked up the biggest victory of her MMA career at UFC 196 when she captured the women’s bantamweight title in thrilling come from behind fashion against Holly Holm.  It was a once in a lifetime type of win and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Dana White has already said Ronda Rousey will get the first shot at Tate and there is no reason to argue with that.  Unless of course Ronda isn’t able to fight, or doesn’t want to and in that case Tate should give Holly Holm a rematch.

As we all know Tate and Rousey have a rivalry that goes all the way back to their Strikeforce days.  They’ve fought once since they joined the UFC and Rousey won both fights by submission.  However things become different when the title is around the other person’s waist.  Tate is now a UFC champion and the mentality that comes along with it could be what she needs to beat Ronda Rousey once and for all.

 

Nate Diaz (19-10)

Who he should face next: Eddie Alvarez (27-4)

Not many people gave Nate Diaz a chance at beating Conor McGregor when he stepped in on short notice to face the cocky Irishman.  He had less than two weeks to prepare for the fight of his life.  Diaz once again proved that he and his brother are usually at their best when they are put in terrible positions.  Diaz took everything McGregor threw at him and kept moving forward until he hurt the featherweight champ then submitted him with a rear-naked choke.

Dana White suggested that Diaz might get a welterweight title shot after his win Saturday night.  But let’s be realistic about this.  Diaz is a lightweight who was fighting a featherweight, at welterweight on short notice.  He really has no business jumping the line and challenging for Robbie Lawler’s welterweight title.

However, Diaz does deserve a big (lightweight) fight the next time we see him in the octagon.  Eddie Alvarez would definitely be a suitable opponent for Nate and if he could earn a victory he might be next in line for a lightweight title fight.  Anthony Pettis is another good option but he’s currently scheduled to fight Edson Barboza next.  So Alvarez vs. Diaz should be the fight that the UFC makes and they may as well make it a number one contender fight.  Because everyone knows, especially after UFC 196, that Nate Diaz is the man!

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

 

On Saturday night Miesha Tate once again proved that with heart and determination you can accomplish anything you set out to do. In doing so, she also became the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion of the world.  It was no easy task dethroning Holly Holm and it was a roller-coaster of a ride in the co-main event of UFC 196.

The two women took the first round to get used to timing and tried to establish distance. They didn’t stand and trade much but Holm was definitely the aggressor and she took the round on all the judge’s scorecards.

In the second Miesha came out like a woman on a mission and attacked Holly from everywhere. With just over a minute gone in the round Tate got a huge takedown and immediately went to work.  Tate was trying submissions, landing big punches and overall just dominating the fight.  She never let the champ breath and kept it up for the remainder of the round.  All 3 judges gave the round to Tate 10-8.

The score was even heading into the third round. They started off similar to the first, where both women showed patience and it was a much slower pace. Halfway through the round Miesha looked for a takedown but Holly was able to stuff it.  That was the story for the rest of the round, Holly kept the fight standing was able to land shots on a frustrated Tate.  She never had Tate in trouble but Holm definitely won the third round.

In the 4th Holm continued to stuff Miesha’s takedown attempts and kept the fight at her preferred distance.  She kept landing side-kicks to the body and was doing just enough to win the round.  The champion was up three to one going into the fifth and final round.  One more good round and Holm would have secured her first successful title defense.

Apparently Miesha Tate had other plans in store for the final round. She came out quick and tried to establish herself as the aggressor.  However, for the first three minutes Holm was able to stuff numerous takedown attempts and land some good combinations of her own.  Then at the two minute mark Miesha Tate finally got the fight to the mat and this time she wasn’t letting go.  Holly tried to get to her feet and Tate just dragged her back down.  Miesha quickly took her back, locked in a rear naked choke and bit down on her mouthpiece.  Instead of tapping Holly Holm went to sleep and it was an epic moment in the career of Miesha Tate and women’s MMA overall.

UFC 196 ended up being a night of big upsets and Tate’s was arguably the biggest considering she was on her way to losing the fight. Dana White said afterwards that Ronda Rousey would likely be Miesha Tate’s first title defense and that seemed just fine with her.  For more coverage of UFC 196 keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Not many people thought Nate Diaz had a chance to knock off Conor McGregor on Saturday night at UFC 196. The Irishman was jumping up two weight classes and taking on a legitimate contender in Diaz, however it was expected that Conor’s quickness and accuracy would win him the fight.

In the opening frame McGregor looked great. He controlled the center of the octagon and was the aggressor for the majority of the round.  Conor was able to land some solid punches, he didn’t wobble Nate but he definitely gained the veteran’s attention.  That was also the case when McGregor opened up a cut over Nate’s right eye.

Unlike all of McGregor’s other UFC opponents Nate Diaz didn’t allow him to get into his head. Diaz stayed focused and got a late takedown to make the first round close but McGregor probably won it on the scorecards.

In the second Nate continued to pump a strong jab while blood ran down his face and his right eye was nearly swollen shut. Conor landed a few more decent punches but with just over two minutes left in the round all hell broke loose.

Diaz caught Conor with a right-left combination that stumbled him and right at that moment it became a matter of how and when Nate would win the fight. Conor never backed down and kept throwing shots of his own until he’d had enough and made a weak shot for a takedown which allowed Diaz to gain top control.  He is a BJJ blackbelt and McGregor isn’t, it was so obvious when the fight hit the mat.  Nate ran right through McGregor and with just a minute left in the second round he forced the featherweight champion to tapout with a rear-naked choke.

It wasn’t the outcome McGregor or most of the world had predicted and it sent shockwaves through the MMA community. With just eleven days worth of preparation Nate Diaz put on the performance of a lifetime and it likely earned him an even bigger payday the next time he steps into the octagon.  It was a great way to cap off a night of major upsets, including Miesha Tate winning the women’s bantamweight title when she came from behind to choke out Holly Holm in the fifth and final round.

For more coverage of UFC 196 continue to check back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

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.

Donald Cerrone (29-7-1NC)

Who he should face next: Thiago Alves (21-10)

Donald Cerrone made a successful welterweight debut, but the one thing we must keep in mind when thinking about who he should face next is just that, it was his debut in a new weight class. Cerrone was a longtime lightweight contender, however he could never seem to win the big and one get that belt around his waist.

So let’s be realistic, he beat Alex Oliveira, a guy who is nowhere near the top ten in either of the weight classes he fights in, lightweight or welterweight. That being said Oliveira was a short notice opponent and that should mean something, plus Cerrone is always to fight anyone. The UFC should give him someone in the top 15 in the welterweight division and Thiago Alves seems like a perfect candidate. The Brazilian returned last year after a long layoff and lost an exciting fight to Carlos Condit. If he and Cerrone met in the octagon it would probably be a standup war, and neither guy has ever backed away from one of those.

 

Derek Brunson (15-3)

Who he should face next: Uriah Hall (11-6)

Derek Brunson has won five of six fights since joining the UFC, yet he is somehow still flying under the radar in the middleweight division. After a fourth straight win and third straight by stoppage, Brunson is oh so close to the top ten. That should mean that next time out he should get an opponent who is also close to or in the top ten.

Uriah Hall has been up and down in his UFC career. He’s coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 193 but one fight before that he got the biggest win of his life, beating Gegard Mousasi by TKO. Sometimes Hall has been accused of lacking a killer instinct, Brunson is someone who would force Hall to bring his best if he wishes to come out on the winning side.

 

Cody Garbrandt (8-0)

Who he should face next: John Lineker (26-7)

Cody Garbrandt’s original opponent at UFC Fight Night 83 was supposed to be John Lineker. Unfortunately Lineker had to withdraw from the bout due to injury. There isn’t much need for an explanation, this fight should still happen. Garbrandt made it look pretty easy against short notice opponent Augusto Mendes, but he still needs a signature win before he’ll be taken seriously in the UFC’s bantamweight division. A win over Lineker would be a big statement, the UFC needs to make this happen.

 

Dennis Bermudez (15-5)

Who he should face next: Charles Oliveira (21-5)

After two straight stoppage losses to Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens, TUF 14 veteran Dennis Bermudez was in desperate need of a win against Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 83. Bermudez wasn’t able to get a finish but it was still a dominant win and it keeps him around the top ten of the featherweight division.

Charles Oliveira is a UFC veteran and has faced a who’s who of top fighters in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. Oliveira is coming off an impressive win over Myles Jury and is likely hungry to put together a winning streak. Bermudez tends to rely on his grappling when he’s in the cage against tough opponents, it would be interesting to see how he would handle a submission ace like Oliveira.

 

Chris Camozzi (23-10)

Who he should face next: Josh Samman (12-3)

In the fall of 2014 Chris Camozzi found himself being cut from the UFC roster after four straight losses. But when the UFC was looking for a replacement opponent for top middleweight Jacare Souza, Camozzi was willing to take a rematch with him on short notice. He lost the second fight with Souza faster than he did the first but because he stepped up the UFC gave him another shot. He’s since won two straight against Tom Watson and Joe Riggs.

Camozzi will likely never be a UFC champion, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be used as a measuring stick for up and coming fighters. Josh Samman is coming off his first UFC loss, to Tamdan McCrory, but he’s been impressive enough so far that job security isn’t an issue just yet. Samman should be put up against another veteran to see if he’s ready for bigger things, and Chris Camozzi is the perfect option.

 

James Krause (23-7)

Who he should face next: Alex Oliveira (12-4-1)

James Krause has finally put together a winning streak in the UFC after a unanimous decision victory over Canadian Shane Campbell at UFC Fight Night 83. He showed a lot of promise after a debut win over veteran Sam Stout but then stumbled against the likes of Bobby Green and Jorge Masvidal. A fight with Alex Oliveira would give Krause a legitimate chance at a three fight winning streak.

Oliveira did the UFC a huge favour by taking a short notice fight with Donald Cerrone in a weight class he thought he had left behind. It’s likely that “Cowboy” will move back down in weight now and Krause would present a well-rounded challenge for the Brazilian. It also doesn’t hurt that the two are on the same schedule after they both fought last week.
Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

After his first seven professional fights it would have been acceptable to give Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (29-7-1NC) the nickname “The Triangle King”. Five of his first seven victories came via the triangle-choke submission, but before Sunday night he’d only used it twice since 2007.  Well it was definitely worth the wait.

Cerrone met fellow “Cowboy”, Alex Oliveira (14-3-1-1NC) in the main event of UFC Fight 83 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was Cerrone’s welterweight debut while the bout marked a return to the weight class for Oliveira after dropping to lightweight for his last appearance.

Although Cerrone is often known as a slow starter it was expected that when the two met in the octagon there would be fireworks. They certainly didn’t disappoint and wasted no time getting down to business.

After a brief exchange in the Thai clinch, that saw both men land some knees, Donald shot for a takedown. His wrestling has always been underrated and he was able to get Oliveira to the mat without much trouble.  Cerrone established top control and was very methodical in his approach.  Once he found the opening he made a beautiful transition into mount then almost immediately he locked in the triangle choke.  Oliveira quickly tapped and before three minutes had gone by in the first round the fight was over.

It was a spectacular welterweight debut for “Cowboy” Cerrone and it also earned him a performance of the night bonus. Now it will be interesting to see where Cerrone goes from here.  It’s conceivable that he could bounce between both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, as he’s always been known as a guy who’s willing to fight anytime, anywhere and against anyone.  Donald made that very clear in his post-fight interview when he said “If anyone at 170lbs wants to get hurt, I know a guy”.  The victory was also the perfect rebound for Cerrone after a failed attempt to capture the UFC lightweight title last December against current champ Rafael dos Anjos.

For further coverage of UFC Fight Night 83 and everything MMA keep checking back with Profightingfans.com

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

When Bellator officials announced the main and co-main events for Bellator 149, we as MMA fans had to know what was coming. It was Kimbo Slice taking on a guy going by the name of Dada 5000, as if Kimbo Slice wasn’t silly enough. Then you had Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie refusing to admit it’s no longer 1993. We really couldn’t have expected anything different than what we got, complete chaos.

Thankfully there were a couple of decent fights to round out the main card, as we all know, too much chaos isn’t good for the MMA fan. While the last two fights saw the decline of cardio and greatness among other things, the other fights followed a consistent trend of decline.

We saw Daniel Pineda fall to Emmanuel Sanchez by split decision. Pineda continues to falter on MMA’s bigger stages as he’s now lost 5 of 6 fights between his Bellator and UFC appearances. Four years ago when he burst onto the big stage Pineda showed a lot of promise, winning his first two UFC fights by submission. Then he lost 4 of 5 and that saw booted from the UFC and he went back to the regional scene. In last night’s fight with Sanchez it looked like Pineda was on his way to a victory, but as the fight went on he lost any real momentum he may have had and was beat up for the remainder of the night.

In the evening’s next fight Emmanuel Newton looked to come out on top in his rematch with Linton Vassell. When the two met in 2014, the Bellator light heavyweight title was on the line and Newton choked out Vassell in the 5th round. The fight last night was only scheduled for three rounds, and it went the distance this time. Newton came out on the wrong side of the win column, losing a unanimous decision, and it was his 3rd straight loss inside the Bellator cage. It’s a far cry from just a couple of years ago when Newton looked like the next big thing in the light heavyweight division.

Melvin Guillard also continued on his post UFC career decline. He’s lost 3 of 4 fights since leaving the UFC and the lone victory came in a fight where Guillard failed to make the lightweight limit of 155lbs. After an unsuccessful Bellator debut against Brandon Girtz, an opponent Guillard hand-picked, Melvin was hoping to bounce back against Derek Campos. In true “Young Assassin” form, Guillard came out swinging against Campos, and in the end that was his biggest mistake. Less than a minute into the 2nd round Campos unloaded everything he had and was able to force the referee to stop the fight due to strikes.

The end of the Guillard/Campos fight marked the beginning of the circus at Bellator 149. The promotional team billed it as a “street fight in the cage” when it was announced that Kimbo Slice would meet longtime nemesis Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris in the evening’s co main event. It’s unclear if what took place could even be considered a “street fight” but regardless, by the time it finally came to an end in the 3rd round, you could hear the collective sigh coming from Houston through the television.

Both men were completely exhausted halfway through the first round, the punches were laced with quicksand and the lack of preparation was embarrassing. When Kimbo hit Harris with one last punch it might have been obvious to everyone but Kimbo that the fight was over. Thankfully Slice moved out of the way and that allowed for Harris to faceplant into the mat, ending his Bellator debut and hopefully his Bellator career at the same time.

The night could have ended after the co main event debacle and no one would have complained, but unfortunately fans were treated to one more sideshow before it was all over. 52 year old Ken Shamrock was looking for revenge 23 years after a controversial loss to Royce Gracie at UFC 1. Gracie, who is 49 himself, actually showed a solid kicking game in the opening moments and it was a surprise that he didn’t immediately try to take the fight to the ground. His striking was limited to kicks though, as it was made known during the broadcast that Gracie asked to not have his hands wrapped for the fight. Surprisingly the athletic commission overseeing the event allowed that, which could have caused Gracie to break his hands, seeing as there was nothing protecting his hands from Shamrock’s granite forehead. The fight ending strikes actually came from some knees thrown in the Thai clinch, what was not obvious at first glance was that the original knee landed low on Shamrock. For some reason Ken didn’t find it necessary to bring the low blow to the attention of the referee until it was already too late. After the bell Shamrock exploded with anger, only to eventually calm down once he realized the low blow wasn’t intentional.

Needless to say Bellator 149 was a tragic mix of disappointment and decline. But there is no doubt that people were still watching when Royce Gracie had his hand raised, and long after Dada 5000 fell flat on his face. If people keep watching, Bellator will keep putting on crazy fights no one is asking for. For further coverage of Bellator 149 and everything MMA keep checking back with profightingfans.com

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

 

Mike Pyle (27-11-1)

Who he should face next: Ben Saunders (19-7-2)

After Mike Pyle’s impressive TKO victory over Sean Spencer at UFC Fight Night 82 it is clear the 40 year old veteran still has some gas left in the tank. Mind you it’s likely a very limited tank at his age.  However he’s still a great measuring stick for up and coming welterweights looking to make a name for themselves in the UFC.

Yet sometimes it’s fun to see veterans of the sport face off against one another, especially when they’ve had long careers without ever crossing paths. That’s why it seems like a matchup with Ben Saunders (19-7-2) could produce some fireworks. Saunders is coming off a TKO loss to Patrick Cote in January so he should be on the same schedule as Pyle.

The matchup would determine whether or not Saunders has what it takes to make an actual title run while it would give Pyle an idea as to whether or not retirement is a viable option.

 

Misha Cirkunov (11-2)

Who he should face next: Francimar Barroso (18-4)

Canadian light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov is riding high on a six fight win streak including two victories in the UFC. After making a mess of Alex Nicholson’s jaw at UFC Fight Night 82 he should be in for a step up in competition next time out.

Cirkunov’s most recent win should have put him close to the top 20 in the division so another top 20 opponent would be ideal. The only issue is that there are very few top tier light heavyweights that are actually coming off a win in their last fight.  One guy around the top twenty who is currently on a two fight winning streak is 35 year old Brazilian Francimar Barroso (18-4).

Barroso is 3-1 inside the octagon with victories over Ryan Jimmo and Elvis Mutapcic. Both men are finishers with nine of Cirkunov’s wins having been finishes while the same goes for 14 of Barroso’s 18 career wins.  The winner of this bout should be ready for a top ten opponent and the loser would be looking to refocus.

 

Joseph Benavidez (24-4)

Who he should face next: John Dodson (17-7)

When a guy has won 11 of 13fights in the UFC it’s hard to argue against giving him a title shot. Unfortunately when the two losses in that run have come against current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson a title shot is unlikely.  That is the case right now for Joseph Benavidez who won yet again this past Saturday when he dominated Zach Makovsky for a unanimous decision victory.

I don’t think it’s time just yet for Benavidez to move up to the bantamweight division. However one more victory as a flyweight has got to get him a third crack at “Mighty Mouse”.  Another flyweight looking for a third crack at Johnson is none other than John Dodson (17-7).  He lost his last fight, to Johnson, but before that he had won three straight against legitimate flyweight contenders.

The winner of this fight would get the ever illusive third title shot while the loser would likely be forced to move up a weight class.

 

Ovince Saint Preux (19-7)

Who he should face next: Short Notice Opponent or Quinton Jackson

In the past Ovince Saint Preux has stumbled against opponents in the top five of his division, but after another solid dominating win at UFC Fight Night 82, it looks like Saint Preux should get another chance to prove himself against the best of the best.

Saint Preux’s biggest problem is that all of the guys he could face he’s either lost to or they are already scheduled to fight. That’s why it might be in his best interest to wait by the phone for an injury replacement opportunity.  But, if he isn’t interested in taking a replacement fight he could ask for a fight with veteran light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (36-11).

It’s unclear whether the 37 year old Jackson will fight again inside the octagon. It’s been close to a year since he returned to the organization.  If he does return he’d be the perfect name for Ovince Saint Preux’s impressive resume.

 

Roy Nelson (21-12)

Who he should face next: Derrick Lewis (14-4)

Roy “Big Country” Nelson was in desperate need of a win when he met Jared Rosholt at UFC Fight Night 82. Although it wasn’t one of his classic knockout victories it was a unanimous decision win against a young and tough wrestler.

Assuming he’s not going to hang his gloves up before he fights again, the UFC would be wise to put Nelson in a potentially fun fight. There is no reason to put him in a title eliminator or anything like that at this point in his career, so a fight that has the potential for entertainment is the way to go.

Although he’s on the rise, fellow heavyweight Derrick Lewis (14-4) is nowhere near ready to fight for a UFC title. But, he does pack an explosive punch and most likely he wouldn’t be afraid to stand in the pocket and trade with Nelson.  Plus, a win for Lewis would be a huge accomplishment and a win for Nelson would be a feather in his cap to say he took out an up and comer at his age.

 

Stephen Thompson (12-1)

Who he should face next: UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler (27-10)

There is no doubt that after taking out Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night 82 Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomspon is ready for superstardom. Seeing as Hendricks probably would have received a trilogy bout with current champ Robbie Lawler had he won, it’s only fair that Thompson get the same reward.

Thompson looked fantastic on his way to a dominating first round TKO of the former champ and other than a stumble against Matt Brown he’s been flawless in his pro MMA career. A bout with Lawler might play out the similar to the one with Hendricks, and it’d be interesting to see how a true veteran like “Ruthless” would handle the unpredictable karate style of Stephen Thompson.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Heading into UFC Fight Night 82 most people were picking Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (17-4) to beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomspon (12-1). With a win Hendricks would have kept his hopes of a title shot alive.  Well apparently Thompson didn’t get the memo and had plans of his own on Saturday night.

Thompson came out and almost immediately looked to establish distance by using his karate style kicking game. It definitely worked because after the very first kick landed it was obvious Johny Hendricks didn’t have an answer.

Hendricks was able to close the distance once but it resulted in an unsuccessful takedown attempt. That seemed to take all the confidence right out of “Bigg Rigg” and it was the beginning of the end.  Thompson set the tone with kicks and then landed some really nice combinations with his hands that kept Hendricks constantly guessing as to what was coming next.

There was less than two minutes left on the clock in the first round when Thompson landed a spinning back kick to the body of Hendricks while he was against the cage and that was all it took. “Wonderboy” landed a few more punches before the referee was forced to jump in and stop the fight.

Although Hendricks is the former UFC champion it was Thompson who looked like a champion at UFC Fight Night 82. Once Thompson smelled blood he never took his foot off the gas.  It remains to be seen as to how Thompson will handle an opponent who can get him to the ground.  But until then it’s tough to argue that with a six fight winning streak in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions Stephen Thompson isn’t deserving of a title shot, or at the very least a number one contender fight with fellow welterweight Tyron Woodley(15-3).

For more coverage of UFC Fight Night 82 keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer