By now, you're sure to have read my "What's Next?" post, where I deduced that the logical next for opponent for Alexander Gustafsson would be the loser of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans.
Those of you with a solid intellect agreed with me. However, a fair amount of dissenters postured for a match up between "The Mauler" and Ryan Bader. It's not a terrible idea, but I still think I'm right and you're wrong.
Several of you suggested Gustafsson be given a date with the legendary Mauricio Rua. This intrigues me much more than a showdown with Bader. If you were one of the Maniacs who suggested this, I'm giving you a gold star and several hundred "Mania Bucks," which are, of course, absolutely worthless everywhere that accepts anything.
In the same post, I also argued for Brian Stann being paired up with the winner of Mark Munoz. Several of you were quick to go against the flow and offered Chris Weidman as a more suitable opponent. Sorry, I'm not buying that as a more intriguing fight than Stann vs. Munoz. You've failed to convince me. My pick stands.
After the jump, we'll talk future match ups for rest of the winners from yesterdays (Sat., April 14, 2012) UFC on FUEL TV 2 main card in Stockholm, Sweden:
Brad Pickett ran all over Damacio Page en route to a first round submission win. He's now 1-1 in the UFC, and has been on the giving and receiving end of a bad beating.
I'd love to see "One Punch" get an opponent who is a step up from Page, but not quite on the level of Renan Barao (who was responsible for Pickett's only UFC loss).
There are several interesting match ups, but I say give him Brian Bowles.
The rap on Pickett is that he needs to prove he's worked on upgrading his takedown defense. Bowles will test that theory, for sure. Plus, there's simply no way that doesn't end up being a tough fight.
Hook it up, Joe Silva.
John Maguire is now 2-0 in the UFC and has won seven fights in a row. He's one of those guys who doesn't look like he should be as good as he is. He's not the prototypical athlete or fighter, but he gets the job done.
"The One" has a great ground game, and he's becoming a true name to look out for in the welterweight division. He's only had two fights in the Octagon though, and it's too soon to feed him to the lions (or vice versa, if it turns out that way).
How about Simeon Thoresen?
"The Grin" earned himself a nice win on the same card as Maguire. They both have very good jiu-jitsu. They're two up-and-comers (as far as the UFC is concerned) who'd be battling it out for a chance to get a higher profile match up with a win.
I like it.
Dennis Siver did enough to earn himself a decision win over Diego Nunes in his debut at 145-pounds. He looked good. Honestly, Nunes looked good too, but Siver emerged as the victor.
I'll tell you who I'd love to see him fight: Maximo Blanco.
The two of those guys going at it, trying to land crazy spinning attacks and off the wall kicks, would be amazing. The problem is that Blanco is engaged in a fight this Saturday night when he takes on Marcus Brimmage at UFC 145.
If Blanco wins, Siver vs. Blanco could make for a very exciting brawl, don't you agree? (That was a rhetorical question. Of course you do.)
We've been hearing about Siyar Bahadurzada for a while now. "Siyar the Great" has now won seven in a row, and his first round shelling of Paulo Thiago put an exclamation point at on his UFC entrance.
We don't know a ton about him, but we do know he's vulnerable to submissions and prefers to stand and trade. So, it makes sense to test him with a ground guy who'd prefer to grapple, right?
Or, I could go totally in the opposite direction (which I'm going to) and suggest that he fight Diego Sanchez.
Look. The welterweight division is full of monsters. You either match Bahadurzada up against one of the few relative no-names, or you lock him in the cage with one of the many killers.
I opt for the latter.
In my mind, Sanchez is perfect. If Bahadurzada can best "The Dream," he gets a very nice-sized notch in his belt and a crack at a top 10 guy afterwards.
If he loses? Well, no one will fault him too much, unless he just goes in there and gets waxed.
The only fly in this ointment may be that Sanchez discussed moving back to lightweight after his loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FUEL TV. But, if presented with the right fight, I think he'd stick around at 170-pounds.
Got any better ideas for match ups?