Last year's end brought great news for the UFC Heavyweight division, which was in desperate need for some new blood. The new organization under the Zuffa umbrella, Strikeforce, would have its heavyweight division dissolved, and the HW roster would be absorbed by the UFC's own HW division.
Lately, we've seen some fighters make unexpected moves throughout the division. The best example of this is Mark Hunt, who dismantled Cheick Kongo's 3 fight win streak (if you disconsider his draw with Travis Browne), scoring a big knockout victory at UFC 144.
The Super Samoan, who is now on a three fight win streak himself, seems to have made some improvements to his physical shape and ground game, and is climbing up the HW rankings.
With that changing landscape, it is only natural for us fans to play matchmaking. Let's start with the big guns:
Also at UFC 146, there will be another interesting HW battle, Shane Del Rosario vs. Gabriel Gonzaga. Rosario is a hot prospect, a perfect record in all his 11 pro MMA fights. However, he was sidelined due to injury, and this will be his first fight since February 12th of 2011, when he submitted Lavar Johnson. Gonzaga, on the other hand, is a UFC veteran that just recently came out of retirement. He is coming of a win by rear naked choke on another brazilian and JDS's homie, Ednaldo Oliveira.
I believe if Shane wins decisively, showing no ring rust, he should be pitted against Fabricio Werdum, who looked very impressive in his stand-up domination against the always tough Roy Nelson. I don't think Gonzaga is quite there yet, and if he gives Shane his first professional win I'd say give him someone else in the middle of the pack.
Mark Hunt, who I mentioned earlier, should be booked against Stefan Struve to see who gets to step up in the HW ladder. I believe, despite the freakish size difference, they are in similar positions ranking-wise and are both coming off wins.
Kongo can get the guy who just lost to Struve, Dave "Pee Wee" Herman. Both are coming off losses and I think they match-up rather well together.
Still, there are tons of other fights to be booked, specially when we go down a few steps in the rankings. Guys like Roy Nelson, Brendan Schaub, Shane Carwin (who will probably make his return past the middle of the year), they all need fights.
What about you Maniacs? How do you feel about the next fights taking place in the UFC's HW division?