Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held its 20th Anniversary show over the weekend (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it was a night worth celebrating besides just the main event.
Judging has gotten atrocious as of late, and this past Saturday was a prime example as Georges St-Pierre received a split decision victory over Johny Hendricks in a fight he did not appear to win (watch highlights here).
"Rush" looked decisively beat, at least judging from a round-by-round basis. The good news is an immediate rematch looks definite as long as St. Pierre sticks around.
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.
Winner: Ali Bagautinov
Who He Should Fight Next: John Lineker
Why They Should Fight: The Dagestan fighter found himself in a tough scrap, edging Tim Elliott and he proved that he is eager and willing to participate in hard-fought battles.
John Lineker has looked solid in the UFC so far in his career, and if it was not for multiple failed weigh-in attempts, he could be in the title picture by now. Even though Bagautinov could use some sharpening in his well-rounded abilities, this would be a flyweight scrap between two powerful fighters who would urge you not to blink during their potential scrap.
Winner: Tyron Woodley
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night 34
Why They Should Fight: Strikeforce vet Tyron Woodley has finally made his mark in the UFC by knocking out Josh Koscheck in devastating fashion on the main card of 167.
"The Chose One" was able to rebound with a win, and now escalates in search of making a statement in the top 10 -- however he needs another win in order to do that.
A fight with either Tarec Saffiedine or Jake Ellenberger would be a good match-up on paper, and could provide the fans with some excellent and entertaining striking battles. If Saffiedine wins, he would rematch Woodley in a fight he lost almost three years ago at Strikeforce Challengers 13.
Winner: Robbie Lawler
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown at UFC on FOX 9
Why They Should Fight: Robbie Lawler is a veteran of the sport reborn, boasting three impressive victories in his second UFC stint and toppled a rising stud in Rory MacDonald in "Sin City."
The title talk has already started for Lawler, who is a former Elite XC Middleweight champion and Strikeforce title contender, although chances are he would have to take one more fight to fully convince everyone there is no other fight that makes sense to book.
The winner of Carlos Condit and Matt Brown will see one welterweight making a statement in the division, and with "The Immortal" on a resurgence of his own, along with the impressive track record of "The Natural Born Killer," the winner of that fight against Lawler should be made for all the right reasons.
Winner: Rashad Evans
Who He Should Fight Next: Daniel Cormier
Why They Should Fight: Dana White suggested earlier this week that he did not know what to do with Daniel Cormier. Rashad Evans showed us that he could have a solution to fix the problem.
After tearing through Chael Sonnen, "Suga" has established his worth in the Light Heavyweight division, meaning he is back and ready to anticipate the challenges that would get him back in a title fight.
"D.C." has moved down in weight, and with most of the major players in the division already booked for future plans, a fight between Evans and Cormier could grab the attention of observers rather quickly.
Winner: Georges St-Pierre
Who He Should Fight Next: Johny Hendricks
Why They Should Fight: Because anything less than that would be an utter disgrace to our sport after last night's call.
The term "to be the champion, you have to beat the champion" gets thrown around loosely after decisions like these, yet Johny Hendricks did not deserve to lose by split decision last night and lashed out the worst beating on GSP that we have seen him take thus far in his career.
Hendricks had better wrestling, outworked his opponent even though he was tired and looked better on the feet at times as well. If GSP is serious about taking a lengthily break, then this fight may not be on the cards however after Dana White's talk -- we may get this rematch sooner than later.