Time for another stirring rendition of Mania Matchmaker, where we prognosticate on the matches to be made for the winners of UFC 145.
Another weekend of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) dominance has come and gone, as UFC 145: "Jones vs. Evans" blew the doors off the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, with a fight card topped off with a thrilling championship bout on Sat. April 21, 2012.
Jon Jones proved that he is not only the man to beat in the UFC's light heavyweight division, but it's starting to look like he may just be the best mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter on the planet.
Looking forward, it's highly likely "Bones" will be slated to take on Dan Henderson in his next title fight, as rising star Alexander Gustafsson lurks in the wings waiting for his big chance at greatness.
That much appears to be inevitable, but what about the rest of the pack?
After the jump, we'll talk about the matches to make for the winners from UFC 145's main card.Can we really call Rory MacDonald a prospect anymore? This kid is running through a "who's who" of fighters in the welterweight division. It's not title shot time, but it's not as far away as he made it sound in his post-fight interview.
Certainly, the UFC will be careful in bringing him along, but he's got to get a big name in his next fight. No disrespect to Che Mills, who is a very serviceable fighter and a guy who was made to look worse than he actually is in his fight against MacDonald. It's just time for "Ares" to fight the upper echelon of the division.
In a couple of weeks, Johny Hendricks will face Josh Koscheck at UFC on Fox 3, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I'd love to see MacDonald get the winner. Truthfully, I think he beats either guy, but it's a test that needs to happen. If he wins and does it convincingly, he'd have to be considered a top five guy, and maybe even a fight or two away from a title shot.
Ben Rothwell made his re-emergence to relevance with a very nice KO win over Brendan Schaub on Saturday night. He looked great, not just in how he fought, but his physique and conditioning were unlike we've ever seen of "Big Ben."
I'd love to see him fight a fellow UFC 145 winner in Travis Browne. So much size and raw power in one cage. It would be potentially fantastic. Someone's going to sleep in that one.
Michael McDonald is a guy who is causing quite a stir in the bantamweight division. His perfect mixture of speed, power and grappling make him a serious force to be reckoned with at 135 pounds.
Miguel Torres is, by far, the biggest name he's fought and defeated in the UFC, so he needs an opponent who is a level up, but not too far up the ladder. Not yet, anyway.
How about T.J. Dillashaw? He's coming off a nice win over Walel Watson and is continuing to improve with each outing. He's a strong wrestler, so I think it makes for an interesting stylistic match up. Truthfully, it would be nice to see the UFC to go out and grab some more talent for this somewhat thin division. With that said, I don't hate this match up. It'd be fun to watch.
Eddie Yagin won a close decision victory over veteran Mark Hominick. I have to say, his toughness and the absolute bombs that he throws had me super impressed. From a well-roundedness perspective, he has plenty of room to grow, but this guy throws haymakers with bad intentions. That's the kind of thing that sells tickets and makes any fight interesting.
I think Erik Koch makes for an interesting potential opponent. He's riding a four fight win streak and is also fairly new to the UFC. He is more of a submission specialist than anything else, so both fighters would be tested by each other's opposing background.
Mark Bocek scored his second consecutive win with a nice decision victory over John Alessio at UFC 145. Call me lazy, but I'd like to see him in there with another fellow UFC 145 winner, Mac Danzig. They both are at similar places in their careers. Each fighter is solid on the ground, though the nod probably goes to Bocek in that category.
Danzig is an explosive fighter who, when at his best, he's going to give anyone in the division a tough time. A win puts either guy in contention to land a big name opponent. A loss is not earth chattering or career ending. It makes sense to me.
Okay, Maniacs, it's your turn. What matches would you make for the winners of UFC 145? Are there any undercard winners you have plans or ideas for?
Hit us up in the comments section with your best laid-out plans!