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

Thanks to Chris Weidman the UFC’s middleweight division is wide open for the first time in years.  That’s what makes UFC Fight Night 36 so interesting.  The final two bouts on Saturday night could very well determine the next man to challenge for the 185lb crown, when Lyoto Machida faces Gegard Mousasi and Ronaldo Souza meets Francis Carmont.  Depending on how they win, one of these four men will likely be the number one contender.  All in all there are 5 bouts on the main card and it promises to be a pretty entertaining event, so here are the predictions.

 

Andy Ogle vs. Charles Oliveira

I like Andy Ogle’s enthusiasm, but unfortunately that won’t help much when he steps into the cage with Charles Oliveira on Saturday night.  Oliveira looked pretty good in his last fight against Frankie Edgar, despite losing he was never completely out of the fight.  I think the Brazilian’s skillset is just too diverse for Ogle and I can’t see Oliveira losing.  Ogle will come out aggressive and that’s going to land him on the mat where Charles Oliveira will truly shine.

Prediction: Charles Oliveira via Submission Round One

 

Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke

I’ll be honest I don’t know much about Viscardi Andrade.  However, I do know that I really liked what I saw from Nicholas Musoke in his UFC debut when he submitted tough veteran Alessio Sakara.  He’s a huge welterweight and he should be able to get a win at UFC Fight Night 36.  It’s going to go the distance and Musoke will remain unbeaten inside the UFC octagon.

Prediction: Nicholas Musoke via Unanimous Decision

 

Takenori Sato vs. Erick Silva

It’s true that Erick Silva has never quite lived up to his potential since joining the UFC.  He’s been pretty inconsistent, especially in his last outing when he was brutally knocked out by Dong Hyun Kim.  That being said, this should be a pretty winnable bout for Silva and if he does end up losing, he should begin to rethink his strategy.  Sato is making his octagon debut and will be in over his head on Saturday night.

Prediction: Erick Silva via Submission Round Two

 

Francis Carmont vs. Ronaldo Souza

This is a very interesting matchup.  Carmont has bored fans with his grinding wrestling style, yet he remains unbeaten in the UFC.  Meanwhile, “Jacare” Souza has looked spectacular in his first two UFC fights, submitting Chris Camozzi and knocking out perennial middleweight contender Yushin Okami.  He was once known as a nasty submission fighter, but recently Souza has shown ever-improving striking skills.  The outcome of this fight really depends on where it is contested.  If Carmont can use his length to fight from a distance and turn it into a technical kickboxing affair I really like his chances.  But, if it’s a slugfest or a ground battle I am favoring Souza.  It’s kind of a toss-up and I’m going with Ronaldo Souza.  The win will get him another big fight and it’s possible that he’ll be competing for UFC gold by the end of the year.

Prediction: Ronaldo Souza via Submission Round Two

 

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

Yes, Gegard Mousasi is extremely talented.  However, I truly think he is underestimating Machida heading into this fight.  I expect Mousasi to take a lazy approach in this one and he’s going to be shocked when Machida is the aggressor early and often.  Machida may not be able to get a finish, but I do think he can do enough to outpoint his opponent for the unanimous decision victory.  It’s likely “The Dragon” will get the next crack at the UFC middleweight title.  He’ll just have to wait to see if he is going to face Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort.  I’m taking Machida for the win on Saturday night!

Prediction: Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision