Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Manchester, England, for the third time last night (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) with solid showings both on the UFC Fight Night 30 "Prelims" and main card from Phones 4U Arena.
That being said, FOX Sports 2 main card competitors Machida, Jimi Manuwa, Norman Parke, Nicholas Musoke and John Lineker all picked up victories, which means it's time to anticipate their next moves in their respective weight classes.
Before we do that, we must mention that Melvin Guillard and Ross Pearson fought to a "No Contest," as Guillard delivered a knee to a downed opponent (watch the video highlights here and judge for yourself), which opened up a nasty cut on Pearson's forehead and left the referee with no other option but to end the fight.
At the post-fight press conference, it was confirmed that these two Lightweight veterans will slug it out in a rematch when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to London, England, on March 8, 2014. Also on the card, will be a Light Heavyweight main event between Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (full details here).
Indeed, after every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are already thinking about what the future holds for the stars of the show. With another night of action-packed fights, let's peer into our crystal ball and predict possible matchmaking scenarios.
Here we go, from bottom to top:
Winner: John Lineker
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Tim Elliott vs. Ali Bagautinov at UFC 167
Why They Should Fight: Despite the fact that there is not much digging when it comes to dreaming of a potential fight in the Flyweight division, Lineker has looked quite good in his short UFC career and if it was not for missing weight with the intentions of not even trying to cut the additional two pounds (which is the third time he missed weight out of five fights), Lineker would have probably received a title shot.
Or, at least, he would have been greatly considered.
Elliott and Bagautinov have looked almost equally as impressive as Lineker, who has four-straight wins, yet the two Flyweights that will battle at UFC 167 have not had the same amount of fights as the Brazilian.
A fight with Lineker and either of these two competitors would be fun.
Winner: Nicholas Musoke
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Ed Herman vs. Thales Leites at UFC 167
Why They Should Fight: "Nico" wowed the fans with his willingness to stand and trade with Alessio Sakara, and then submitted his opponent shortly after in the first round. Being a replacement for both Tom Watson and Magnus Cedenblad, Musoke earned the right to a bigger fight by defeating a competitor like Sakara, who was in his fifteenth UFC fight and has been with the company since 2006.
A fight against either Ed Herman or Thales Leites would be highly intriguing. Herman, who we all know is not afraid to slug it out on the feet, would prove to be an exciting match up against "Nico," who did not hesitate to stand-and-bang with Sakara.
Leites may have the advantage on the ground against Musoke, yet you cannot count someone out who is coming off a big submission victory against a seasoned veteran. And if MMA math means anything to some of you, Leites was unable to submit Sakara at UFC 101.
In fact, he lost the fight.
Of course, Musoke has options at Welterweight, too, if he decides that 185 pounds was just "one and done" to land his big MMA break.
Winner: Norman Parke
Who He Should Fight Next: Al Iaquinta
Why They Should Fight: Parke outworked Jon Tuck en route to unanimous decision win, getting the better out of the MMA Lab-trained fighter when trading on the feet. Another Lightweight who had success on the card was Iaquinta, and if timing and good health permits, why not have these two 155-pound up-and-comers duke it out to see who could come out on top and continue their winning ways?
Iaquinta's takedowns were the difference against Piotr Hallmann in his fight, and a gameplan like that would be beneficial against the Irish warrior, who is no slouch on the ground either, with 12 submission wins on his resume.
We saw enough stand up from both competitors at UFC Fight Night 30 to deem this a worthy fight, with the winner being unpredictable as of this moment.
Winner: Jimi Manuwa
Who He Should Fight Next: Ovince St. Preux
Why They Should Fight: There was a time when St. Preux was the "Jimi Manuwa of Strikeforce." OSP looked good on the Strikeforce "Challengers" cards, and ultimately questionable booking may have halted his career, since he was pitted against Gegard Mousasi, who was simply too much for him to handle.
Nevertheless, since that contest, OSP has three-straight victories, including two knockouts.
Manuwa is undefeated (14-0) and has been looking great inside the Octagon, without being put into too much danger in any of his battles thus far.
Manuwa may not be ready for a Top 10-ranked opponent just yet (maybe he is, depending on who you ask), but the Light Heavyweight division does not have many fighters under contract right now and a another quick win could get him further than expected.
These two athletes could bring forth an awesome fight, each possessing sheer power and brute force. They have both looked good and a potential meeting should be considered.
Winner: Lyoto Machida
Who He Should Fight Next: Ronaldo Souza
Why They Should Fight: There are several possible opponents for "The Dragon," yet the one who makes the most sense -- and makes us salivate -- is "Jacare."
Machida and Ronaldo Souza are both in similar positions right now in the Middleweight division. It may be premature to grant them title shots after their respective wins, yet they are not far away from the title, either.
Machida clocked Munoz with a headkick, finishing him in the first round and proving that he could compete with anyone in the sport. And "Jacare" would be a great match up for him.
Souza may have the advantage on the ground, and even if Machida has slicker stand up, "Jacare" pummeled Yushin Okami on the feet in his last bout, which led to the Japanese fighter's release.
This fight makes the most sense for both men and the division. It would be a perfect title eliminator bout. Would anyone object if this contest happened in Brazil? Surely, the nation's faithful would not.
For complete UFC Fight Night 30: "Machida vs. Munoz" results, recaps, videos and more click here.