UFC on FUEL TV 10: "Nogueira vs. Werdum 2" is in the books. And in the organization's third event of the year in the country of Brazil, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) produced an outstanding card of mixed martial arts (MMA) action out of the weakest cards of the year on paper.
Fabricio Werdum, Leonardo Santos, Thiago Silva, Erick Silva, Daniel Sarafian and Rony Mariano Bezerra were the big winners Saturday (June 8, 2013) night at Paulo Sarasate Gymnasium in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, with each picking up a (technical) knockout or submission victory over their respective opponents on the main card, which aired on FUEL TV.
After every fight card, fans wonder who the winners will be matched up with next. With another night of heart-racing fights in the rear-view mirror, it's time to look forward and put ourselves in Joe Silva's shoes to play UFC matchmaker.
Here we go:
Winner: Rony Jason
Who He Should Fight Next: Steven Siler
Why They Should Fight: Mariano Bezerra steamrolled Mike Wilkinson in the main card opener and is now 3-0 in the UFC and in need of more skilled opposition. By no means in Steven Siler a pushover --he would actually test Mariano Bezerra in all areas-- but the main motivation behind putting this fight together would be to get some more cage time for the first-ever TUF: Brazil winner.
Siler picked up a win over Kurt Holobaugh at UFC 159 just over a month prior to ‘Jason' defeated Wilkinson, which mean the timing for the two competitors would line up barring any injuries. Throw this fight on the FX or FUEL TV prelims of any UFC fight card and you have a fun featherweight contest.
Winner: Daniel Sarafian
Who He Should Fight Next: Cezar Ferreira
Why They Should Fight: While Cezar Ferreira is the official "TUF: Brazil 1" middleweight winner, his victory over Sergio Moraes in the tournament finals has an asterisk next to it due to the fact he was fighting against an injury replacement and not Daniel Sarafian, a fighter who dominated the competition in the house and should have fought Sarafian for the tournament crown at UFC 147 last summer.
If Ferreira wins his scheduled fight with Clint Hester at UFC 163, this is the fight to make for Sarafian.
There is unfinished business here and with both fighters coming off big wins in their most recent bouts, it only makes sense to rebook the fight that should have happened last year and determine who the real TUF: Brazil champion should have been.
Winner: Erick Silva
Who He Should Fight Next: John Hathaway
Why They Should Fight: While normal logic points to avoiding match ups between two talented prospects, Erick Silva and John Hathaway were already scheduled to face each other at UFC on FUEL TV 10 before Hathaway got injured, and there is no reason why the fight shouldn't be set up again.
Hathaway is one of the biggest welterweight fighters on the UFC roster and possesses solid offense skills along with sound defense. "The Hitman" would present an interesting challenge to Erick Silva, a well-rounded Brazilian who is quickly making a name for himself as someone who blows through opposition with relative ease.
One man would suffer a temporary setback in their young career while the winner would prove ready upper echelon at 170-pounds.
It wouldn't be a pushover for either fighter and it would be fascinating to see if Silva could continue his surge up the rankings against the very tough Brit.
Winner: Thiago Silva
Who He Should Fight Next: Jimi Manuwa
Why They Should Fight: Thiago Silva and Jimi Manuwa both recorded nice wins in the past few months, and considering each man's fighting style and place in the division, they seem to be on a collision course with one another.
Both men prefer to keep fights standing and slug it out until their opponent either hits the ground unconscious or the final bell rings. This would be a great fight for all fans of the sport and there's no way it would be a letdown.
The only roadblock to this match up would be if one of the two fighters are injured and cannot compete again for a while. However, since both Silva and Manuwa appeared to come out of their most recent fights essentially unscathed, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
If both are healthy, this is a fight that has all the makings for a highlight reel finish.
Winner: Leonardo Santos
Who He Should Fight Next: UFC Newcomer
Why They Should Fight: Santos rallied back from a tough first round to submit William Macario in the second and become The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil 2 welterweight tournament champion.
Typically, TUF winners receive a fairly winnable fight coming off the Finale, and there's no reason that would change now.
The UFC should sign a fresh face to take on Santos for his first post-TUF bout. By no means should his next fight be squash match, but considering the UFC just invested several weeks into the Brazilian and there is reasonably interest in his future, it would only seem logical that the organization throws some favorable match ups his way and let him develop for at least a couple of fights.
Should the free agent market be barren of 170-pound fighters for Santos to face, there are some bottom feeders in the division who could make for a solid scrap.
Winner: Fabricio Werdum
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne at UFC on FOX Sports 1 1
Why They Should Fight: While Daniel Cormier publicly stated he would be interested in challenging the winner of Fabricio Werdum vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, there are a number of reasons why that fight doesn't make any sense at this time in terms of the landscape in the heavyweight division going forward.
A fight that makes much, much more sense for Werdum at this point would be the winner of Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne, who meet in one of the featured bouts at the UFC on FOX Sports 1 debut card on Aug. 17, 2013.
For a number of reasons, that potential fight could be dubbed as a title eliminator in the heavyweight division, which would be hugely beneficial for a weight class desperately craving title-ready fighters.
To read a more detailed description on why the Overeem-Browne winner should be next for "Vai Cavalo," click here.
That ends this edition of Joe Silva's shoes. What do you think of these potential match ups? Do you agree? Disagree?
Let us know in the comments section below what fights you would make if you were in Joe Silva's shoes and played the role of UFC matchmaker.
For more on UFC on FUEL TV 10, be sure to visit our complete event archive here.