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

You wouldn’t have to search very hard to find an example of a weak UFC fight card.  In fact, next weekend’s UFC 161 fits the bill perfectly.  After a couple of injuries the event is now being headlined by Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson.  It is a decent main event, but after that the lineup resembles a free TV card, except it’s airing on pay-per-view.  This isn’t the first time this has happened, we all remember UFC 151.

So it was a relief when Dana White and company began announcing August’s UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 fight card.  Not only will it be free, it is also stacked with exciting matchups.  As long as the fighters stay healthy the event could set matchmaking standards for future UFC events.

UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC).  Rua was supposed to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161, but an injury forced “Little Nog” to withdraw.  Sonnen did offer his services as a late replacement, unfortunately visa issues made him unavailable.  Instead of rescheduling the original matchup, the UFC decided to have Sonnen vs. Rua headline the UFC on FOX Sports 1 debut.

The bout should end up being very competitive.  It will pit the elite wrestling skills of Sonnen against Shogun’s elite striking.  If for some reason the fight is boring, at least we’ll get two months of Chael Sonnen trash talk leading up to it.  You’ve got to admit, the guy knows how to sell a fight.

The co-main event will be a heavyweight showdown, with Travis Browne (14-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) facing Alistair Overeem (36-12-1NC MMA, 1-1 UFC).  Browne is coming off a first round TKO victory over Gabriel Gonzaga, while Overeem was knocked out by Antonio Silva the last time he was in the octagon.  Both of these men are excellent strikers, so fans should expect a standup war.  Overeem definitely has more experience, but I have to give the speed advantage to Browne.  Whoever is victorious will move themselves closer to contender status in the UFC heavyweight division.

Urijah Faber (28-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) will lend whatever star power he has left to the Fox Sports 1 card, when he takes on dangerous Brazilian Yuri Alcantara (28-4-1NC MMA, 3-1-1NC UFC).  Although casual fans won’t be too familiar with Alcantara, he should be a good challenge for Faber.  It will be interesting to see how “The California Kid” deals with the size of his opponent, who is a very large bantamweight.

If Matt Brown (17-11 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Thiago Alves (19-9 MMA, 11-6 UFC) does not end up being a bloodbath, I’ll be very disappointed.  It should be Brown’s biggest challenge yet and a win over Alves will confirm his status as a legitimate welterweight contender.  Meanwhile, if Thiago Alves can bring an end to Matt Brown’s incredible winning streak, it would be a major statement to the rest of the 170lb division.

There are still two fights left on the main card.  TUF 17 finalist Uriah Hall (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will make his official UFC debut against Nick Ring (13-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC).  The fact that Hall is a human highlight reel is the only reason you need to watch this fight.

Joe Lauzon (22-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Michael Johnson (12-8 MMA, 5-4 UFC) will kick off the main card broadcast with a lightweight matchup.  Lauzon could change his nickname to “Mr. Bonus” and no one would complain.  Obviously Joe is a bonus machine, but Michael Johnson’s athleticism should keep him in the fight.  If Johnson can defeat Joe Lauzon it would be the biggest victory of his career.  However, Lauzon is coming off a loss against Jim Mille and he’ll be hungry to get back in the win column.

In addition to the main card the prelims will feature a bantamweight fight between contenders Michael McDonald and Brad Pickett.  Former Cage Warriors two division champion Conor McGregor, Mike Brown and Diego Brandao are among the other fighters on the preliminary card.

UFC on FOX Sports 1:1 is stacked from top to bottom.  It’s too bad it won’t happen until August.  We’ll just have to patiently wait for what could be the summer’s best MMA event.  To see the entire fight card click here and keep checking back with Profightingfans.com for further updates.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer