I'll Take This One Joe - Post UFC 149 MatchmakingUFC 149 is in the books. It wasn't the card that the UFC set out to show, but the worlds biggest promotion still managed to patch it up into a decent event with some top fights and stand out talent. With all the dust settled on the event, i give UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby the day off, and give my thoughts on some of the next bouts for the UFC 149 fighters.
RENAN BARAO (29-1-1)
Despite being one of the legends of the lighter weight classes, most fans backed Renan Barao to be too much for Urijah Faber. They were right. Barao extended his unbeaten streak to thirty fights, took out his third top ten bantamweight, and earned himself his first taste of UFC gold. Barao was never in trouble, and although he was not the furious and explosive fighter we are used to seeing, he was in total control of this bout from start to finish.
There are two schools of thought on what should be next for the UFC's latest Brazilian champion. Either wait for Dominick Cruz to return and have a unification bout, or have him defend sooner against another solid contender. Cruz blew his ACL, so it's tricky to know when he will be 100%. And i'm never in favour of fighters in there prime taking extended breaks. I say get Barao back in the cage, and give him another exciting young 135lb prospect in Michael "Mayday" McDonald.
RENAN BARAO VS. MICHAEL MCDONALD
URIJAH "THE CALIFORNIA KID" FABER (26-6)
Due to his history and marketability, Urijah Faber will never be too far from the title mix. There is no shame in losing decisions to the likes of Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao, but let's be honest, he should not be seeing a title shot again anytime soon. Faber is 33, and still able to compete with most anyone in the 135lb weight class. But in my humble opinion, he needs to start near the bottom and work his way back up.
Next for Faber is a fight i have wanted to see for a long time. Urijah Faber vs. Miguel Torres. The two men were arguably the most popular champions in WEC history, and a bout between the two has always seemed destined. Torres dropped out of the top ten with his recent knockout loss to Michael McDonald, and in all honesty, probably doesn't deserve a high profile fight like Faber. But Torres is the type of opponent Faber needs to try and get back on track....a former champ with name value.
URIJAH FABER VS. MIGUEL TORRES
HECTOR "SHANGO" LOMBARD (31-3-1-1)
Well that was somewhat of a letdown. When a former dominant champion with a 25 fight wins streak and a penchant for spectacular knockouts is making his debut against a fellow banger...you expect fireworks. What we got was a snail paced affair, as Lombard rarely threw more than one shot at a time on the way to a decision loss to Tim Boetsch. Given the hype behind it, it is arguably one of the the most disappointing debuts in recent UFC history. Maybe we just expected to much? Maybe it was the dreaded Octagon jitters? Or maybe the quality in the UFC really is just that much better than everywhere else.
Regardless of performance, Lombard needs a next bout, and he seemed to make his mind up on that before the bout with Boetsch had even started. Lombard stated that he wanted a fight with Mark Munoz after Munoz had criticised Lombard's "padded" record. Luckily for us, the fight also makes good sense. Both men have just lost title eliminator fights that leave them out of the mix. and both need impressive wins to bounce back.
HECTOR LOMBARD VS. MARK MUNOZ
TIM "THE BARBARIAN" BOETSCH (16-4)
I have always had a soft spot for Tim Boetsch. Ever since his UFC debut, i have always rooted for him. So it's pleasing to see him making waves in the middleweight division. Not only did he score a huge upset win over Yushin Okami at UFC 144. He is now the man who ended one of MMA's most impressive winning streaks, spoiling Hector Lombard's much anticipated UFC debut in the process. The win leaves Beotsch in an interesting position at 185lbs. It now seems to be a straight choice between himself and Chris Weidman for the pleasure of challenging Anderson Silva for the middleweight title
Sorry Tim, i hate to say it, but it's just not your time yet. We knew that the title shot would almost certianly go to the winner of either Weidman vs. Munoz or Boetsch vs. Lombard. Weidman tore through Munoz in devastating fashion, whilst Boetsch edged a split decision win over Hector Lombard. In an ideal world we would see Weidman vs. Boetsch in a straight up title eliminator. But i strongly believe that if you have a fit and healthy Anderson Silva waiting for a bout....then you do not keep him waiting. So for me, Wiedman should get the shot, whilst Boetsch can simply fight another contender. What would seem to make sense would be the winner of the Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann bout on September 22nd. The winner of that bout would find themselves among the top challengers at 185lbs, so it just makes good sense.
TIM BOETSCH VS. MICHAEL BISPING / BRIAN STANN WINNER
CHEICK "THE DARKNESS" KONGO (18-7-2)
UFC 149 was supposed to see Kongo square off against the legendary Minotauro Nogueira. Unfortunately Big Nog's was not 100%, so we were left with Shawn Jordan as a replacement. It always seemed too much, too soon for Jordan. And so it proved as Cheick Kongo out grappled and out struck Jordan on the way to a comfortable decision. Not the most exciting performance, and not the biggest win. But it got Kongo back in the win column, and he will no doubt be looking to turn that one win into a streak.
This one seemed simple to me. Kongo was supposed to face Nogueira, so with the extra rehab time that the Brazilian legend has had, there seems no reason not to simply make the match again. Noguiera needs to start at the middle of the pack if he has any hopes of making his way back to the top, and there is no more middle pack than Kongo, who is the unofficial UFC heavyweight gatekeeper.
CHEICK KONGO VS. MINOTAURO NOGUEIRA
RYAN "BIG DEAL" JIMMO (17-1)
Now THAT'S how you make a name for yourself in the biggest MMA promotion in the world. Despite all the hype being focused on the debut of Hector Lombard, it was former MFC Light Heavyweight champion Ryan Jimmo who made waves, scoring a seven second knockout over Anthony Perosh to extend that winning streak to 17 fights. It wasn't really expected either, as Jimmo has earned a reputation as more of a grinder. The fact is though, he has got that often tricky UFC debut out of the way, a win under his belt, and must surely have emerged from the bout injury free. So what next for "Big Deal"??
This win didn't tell us a whole lot about how good Jimmo is, so i don't think Jimmo really needs a huge jump up in competition. A fight i think would suit him is a clash with James Te-Huna. 30 year old Te-Huna is 4-1 in the UFC, has rattled off three straight wins, and his only loss is to Alex Gustafsson. I think both Jimmo and Te-Huna are at similar levels in the division, and whoever wins could then move on to bigger things.
RYAN JIMMO VS. JAMES TE-HUNA
BRIAN "BAD BOY" EBERSOLE (50-15-1)
I don't know what was wrong with him at UFC 149, but that was not the Brian Ebersole we are used to seeing. This is a man dubbed "The White Anderson Silva", yet he looked flat and uninspired, and it cost him the decision against the much bigger James Head. Maybe it was the fact he filled in on short notice, perhaps he already had one eye on the UFC lightweight division that we know he is moving to (a decision he made before accepting this short notice bout).
The UFC's 155lb division is stuffed with talent. Finding a bout for Ebersole is piss easy. Finding the RIGHT bout for Ebersole is a little more tricky. He hasn't earned a top ten fight yet, but has shown enough in his UFC tenure to have earned something solid. This may seem out of left field for some, but i think Clay Guida fit's perfectly. Guida has dropped his last two, is out of the top ten rankings, and is out of the title mix....but he is still a very good lightweight, and a tough fight for any 155lb fighter in the world. Guida needs to start all over again, Ebersole wants to get his lightweight career off to a flier. I also think it could make for a very exciting bout, especially if it turns into a grappling war.
BRIAN EBERSOLE VS. CLAY GUIDA
Published by Lee Rabey - Mon, 23 Jul 2012 00:28