I'll Take This One Joe - Post UFC 157 Matchmaking
Now the dust has settled on the event, i take a look at a selection of the fighters on show, give UFC matchmaker Joe Silva the day off, and suggest who they should be matched up with next.
"ROWDY" RONDA ROUSEY (7-0)
After ridiculous amounts of hype, Ronda Rousey was able to keep her stunning run of first round armbar submissions going, only this time she did it in the history making bout with Liz Carmocuhe, the first female MMA fight in UFC history. The blonde bombshell was under a lot of pressure, having been made the face of the UFC's first venture into women's MMA. "Rowdy" survived an early scare, fighting her way out of a nasty neck crank, to secure the win, cement her superstar status and lay down the first building block for women to build a permanent home with the promotion.
With Cyborg refusing to attempt the cut to 135lbs and making her way to Invicta FC, any notion of a superfight between the two went out the window. The likely next title challenger will come from the bout between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano, who throw down at the TUF 17 Finale. Tate would be the big money rematch, whilst Zingano is the extremely dangerous underdog.
RONDA ROUSEY VS. MIESHA TATE/CAT ZINGANO WINNER
LIZ "GIRL-RILLA" CARMOUCHE (7-3)
It takes two to put on a great fight, and whilst Rousey may have been getting all the hype and focus heading into UFC 157, Liz Carmouche played a huge part in the whole thing. The former Marine handled the press responsibilities brilliantly, conducted herself with class, and along with Rousey, put a very respectable face on the UFC's first foray into womens MMA. Once the fight got under way, Carmouche came close to scoring the upset, locking a nasty looking neck crank on the champion, very nearly making her pass out. Unfortunately for Carmouche, she ended up following in the foot steps of every other woman to cross Rousey, succumbing to that nasty armbar with 10 seconds left in round one.
The women's division has so much work to be done, who is and is not contracted to the UFC is still not clear, and we know they have loaned some talent to Invicta FC. So the best and clearest solution for Carmouche here, is to have her face the loser of the Tate vs. Zingano bout which goes down in April. Either opponent is tough and a new challenge for Liz.
LIZ CARMOUCHE VS. MIESHA TATE/CAT ZINGANO LOSER
LYOTO "THE DRAGON" MACHIDA (19-3)
I've never been a fan of Lyoto Machida. I never bought into the whole 'Machida Era', i don't enjoy his overly cautious counter attacking style, and i was hoping the H-Bomb would be exploding on hios chin at some point during this fight. That being said, this was a perfect stylistic bout for the Brazilian, and it showed, as he picked his shots against Hendo, and deserved the win. I'm not even sure how it was a split decision, i felt Machida won it fairly clearly.
According to Dana White, whilst he wasn't overly impressed with this performance, Machida IS now the number one contender in the light heavyweight division. Of course, you have to take what Dana says with a pinch of salt. There is an upcoming bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Gegard Mousasi that could well have title implications should the Swede win. But for now, Machida is in pole position to get another shot at gold. Personally, i'd rather see Gustafsson win and get the shot, it will no doubt be interesting to see what happens if the Swedish talent DOES get the win. So for now, i'm gonna have to hold off on matching Machida up, as i believe his fate won't be decided until UFC on FUEL TV 9 is done and dusted.
LYOTO MACHIDA.....On hold until Gustafsson vs. Mousasi takes place
DAN HENDERSON (29-9)
You gotta feel for Hendo. The legendary brawler is 42 years old, and this was likely the last chance he had to get a shot at UFC gold. The guy has won titles in PRIDE, Strikeforce, Rings and even has a UFC tournament win to his name. UFC gold is the one thing missing from his trophy cabinet, and it seems increasingly unlikely that he will ever get the chance to fight for the title again. Hendo has a history of upsetting the odds, and i'd love to see him get one more crack at it, but i can't see it happening.
Assuming Henderson doesn't retire from the sport, and nobody could begrudge him calling it quits, then he needs a new opponent. The division is a little booked up at the moment, so it will be interesting to see how they go about matching up Hendo. Rematches with Shogun and Lil' Nogs are possibilities. I think the time seems right for a Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson bout though. Both are marquee names coming off losses, both have top wrestling and knockout power, and it's a fresh fight for both men.
DAN HENDERSON VS. RASHAD EVANS
JOSH KOSCHECK (17-7)
Much like BJ Penn and Jon Fitch. Josh Koscheck seems to be on that slow decline. Don't get me wrong, he is still a serious threat at 170lbs, he just isn't quite the danger he used to be at welterweight. Koscheck got tanked by the big power of the returning Robbie Lawler, with some calling it a premature stoppage. Personally i thought it was a perfectly timed stoppage, Koscheck was taking bombs, offering no defence, and looked to go limp at one point. That's two straight losses for Koscheck, so expect him to face a lower ranked guy next.
It's a little tricky to match up Koscheck. He has dropped two in a row and doesn't deserve a top name bout. The flipside is that he is still a fairly big name himself, and matching him up against some low level guy seems bad business, so a middle ground needs to be found. I think a good bout for him would be against fellow veteran Mike Pyle. 37 year old Pyle is in the form of his life, winning and finishing against his last three opponents. The fact remains that Koscheck is step up in quality for Pyle, one he deserves. For Koscheck it represents a chance to get back in the win column, which is about all he can ask for right now.
JOSH KOSCHECK VS. MIKE PYLE
"RUTHLESS" ROBBIE LAWLER (20-9)
That's how you make a return to your old stomping ground. After almost eight years away from the UFC, Robbie Lawler returned with a first round knockout over a top ten opponent in a bout many pegged him to lose. Lawler looked much stronger at 170lbs, and is still young enough to make some headway in the division. The guy has some big power, a killer left hand, trains with top wrestlers and has plenty of experience against quality opposition. He could well find himself becoming a fan favourite amongst newer UFC fans.
Next up for Lawler, i'd like to see him matched up with top welterweight prospect Gunnar Nelson. The Icelandic star is unbeaten in his young career, recently scored his biggest win to date against Jorge Santiago, and would provide an interesting stylistic match-up for Lawler, who has proven vulnerable to submissions before.
ROBBIE LAWLER VS. GUNNAR NELSON
URIJAH "CALIFORNIA KID" FABER (27-6)
People like to get on the case of Urijah Faber, giving him shit for receiving favourable treatment and undeserved title shots. And he has been given both of those in the past. But for a long time he was the only genuine star amongst those lighter weight classes, and he was needed to help build both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Now, whilst that is no longer the case, it doesn't change the fact that Faber is without doubt one of the best at 135lbs, with only Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz deserving to be ranked above him. Faber is unlikely to earn a title shot after his win against Menjivar, he is however, deserving of another top ranked opponent.
My first thought was to match Faber with Michael McDonald, with both men being close to each other in the rankings. But i want to see McDonald (who is only 22) get some more experience before being thrown in the deep end against the likes of Faber, Barao and Cruz again. So with that in mind i thought that a bout with Scott Jorgensen made perfect sense. Surprisingly the two have never crossed paths, both are top ten ranked and both have recent losses to Cruz and Barao. A win over Jorgensen would no doubt push Faber back into the mix, deservedly this time!
URIJAH FABER VS. SCOTT JORGENSEN
IVAN "PRIDE OF EL SALVADOR" MENJIVAR (25-10)
Few gave Evan Menjivar much chance against Urijah Faber, and they proved correct as there was a notable difference in quality between the two. After a bright opening, Faber took control of the bout, raining down some vicious elbows from inside the guard before choking out the MMA pioneer. Menjivar will live to fight another day, this was just the latest in the long line of top contenders that the El Salvadorian has fallen short against.
Now i didn't want to see Michael McDonald matched up with Urijah Faber, but i think he is a perfect next bout for Ivan Menjivar. McDonald is a very dangerous prospect, but needs to be able to beat this level of fighter on a regular basis if he wants to maintain his reputation. Menjivar is unpredictable and dangerous, and would benefit greatly if he could earn a win against the youngster before he gets any better.
IVAN MENJIVAR VS. MICHAEL MCDONALD.
Published by Lee Rabey - Sun, 24 Feb 2013 17:43