Alexander Gustafsson (L) and Brian Stann (R) were the big winners on the night at UFC on FUEL TV 2: 'Gustafsson vs. Silva.' So what's next for both of these top contenders?
Sometimes, mixed martial arts (MMA) events don't end up being worth the hype. Seldom do you ever see an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fight card that has been promoted for seven steady weeks since the last time the promotion put on a show.
UFC on FUEL TV 2: "Gustafsson vs. Silva" may not have been worth waiting seven weeks for, but it was absolutely not a disappointment, delivering a fight card stacked and full of exciting fights in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sat., April 14, 2012.
Speaking of waiting, Thiago Silva, who competed in the main event versus the Swedish hometown hero, Alexander Gustafsson, had been on the shelf for over a year, due to an athletic commission suspension for using illegal masking agents.
It just wasn't Silva's night. As he admitted himself, he could never find his range or timing. Gustafsson used his length and impressive movement to keep the Brazilian guessing for three rounds. By the end of the fight, Silva's face was cut, swollen and bruised.
Brian Stann looked to get back aboard the "win wagon" as he faced Alessio Sakara, a man who was also seeking redemption after a year-long absence from the cage. From the opening horn, "The All American" jumped all over "Legionarius," and he looked like an absolute animal in the process. It was fairly quick and brutal, too, as Stann was able to pull off the first-round knockout victory he had been hoping for.
After the jump, we'll talk about what might be next for both of the big winners from UFC on FUEL TV 2.
Gustafsson is probably going to take a little bit of criticism after this most recent of wins. It will likely be due to the fact that he absorbed a lot of leg kicks, left himself open to taking a few big shots, and failed to finish his foe.
Frankly, those criticisms will be unfair. Silva is a beast in his own right. He'd give most of the light heavyweight division a run for their money. The fact that Gustafsson was not only able to avoid any real damage but also made Silva look like "The Elephant Man" by the end of the fight is a real plaque to nail on his wall.
He just keeps getting better. His footwork is not just amazing for a 205-pounder, it's impressive, period. His striking also just keeps getting cleaner. In my mind, he's one win away from a title shot.
So who should that one fight be against?
I might look foolish in a year for saying it now, but I don't think I will.
Stann looked fantastic last night. The problem is that he did against a guy who may not have deserved to be fighting him in the first place. Also, Sakara was probably no threat to take Stann down, and wrestlers have been a bit of a kryptonite for him.
Let Stann prove he deserves another title shot, and that he can beat a solid wrestler. The solution to this problem is simple: Mark Munoz.
"The Filipino Wrecking Ball" is currently without an opponent. Both he and Stann should be "in the mix." Michael Bisping fights Tim Boetsch at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012. I say let Stann fight Munoz sometime this summer. Then, after Stann has fought Munoz and Bisping has fought Boetsch, the number one contender for who gets to face the winner between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen should be clear.
Think you can do better? I'd love to hear all about it.