UFC Fight Night 27: "Condit vs. Kampmann 2" is in the books and the return trip to Indianapolis for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was a lot more eventful than their last stint at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which was UFC 119 nearly three years ago.
See our full results and live play-by-play here.
That being said, main card competitors Carlos Condit, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kelvin Gastelum, Court McGee, Takeya Mizugaki and Brad Tavares all picked up victories on Saturday night (Aug. 18, 2013) on FOX Sports 1, which means it's time to anticipate their next moves in their respective weight classes.
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 match-making scenarios.
Here we go, from bottom to top:
Winner: Brad Tavares
Who He Should Fight Next: Tom Lawlor
Why They Should Fight: Bubba McDaniels may have shown that Brad Tavares is not yet ready for a top-10 opponent, but he can compete with someone who can trouble him on the feet and on the ground. A seasoned veteran such as "Filthy" Tom Lawlor would be Tavares' toughest test in his career, but it would also be a perfect fight to see what he is made of and if he is indeed another middleweight prospect we should keep an eye on.
Lawlor has been on a win-followed-by-a-loss streak for his past six fights and although his decision defeat to Francis Carmont at UFC 154 was an extremely sour judging call, he bounced back by submitting Michael Kuiper earlier this year at UFC on FUEL TV 9, and it looks like Lawlor may be searching for the right fight.
Tavares had some tough fights in his UFC career, ousting Dongi Yang, Tom Watson, Riki Fukuda and finished "The New York Bad Ass," Phil Baroni, in his UFC debut. Lawlor is not a top-10 opponent, but he lingers on the outside not far behind -- and without question is a tough fight for anyone having nine UFC appearances under his belt. He is 5-4 in his UFC career and Tavares is 6-1 in the promotion. This fight would be another solid example of the "new breed" against the "old-fashioned" fighter.
Winner: Takeya Mizugaki
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Raphael Assuncao vs. T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 29
Why They Should Fight: Takeya Mizugaki has not yet broken into the top 10 of the UFC's official ranking system and whether or not those rankings mean anything to anyone else but the bosses, he should damn well be inserted there after his slugfest with Erik Perez last night.
Mizugaki is best when he is on his fight and although he has shown vast improvements on the ground, two men who can test those skills are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt and winner of four straight, Raphael Assuncao, and Team Alpha Male budding prospect T.J. Dillashaw, who has three straight finishes in his last four wins. Both of those men fight at UFC Fight Night 29 at Ginasio Jose Correa in Brazil on October 9 and if Mizugaki is willing to sit back and relax (especially if he suffered significant damage against Perez), he can enjoy a string of upcoming bantamweight fights with an eye on this particular scrap.
Dillashaw may be the sweeter option for Mizugaki, who must still feel the burn from his submission blackout to Team Alpha Male teammate Urijah Faber at WEC 52 and will not be too shy to stand and trade with the Japanese standout. Since that fight, Mizugaki's record is 5-2 and a fight against either man would show that he could do a lot more than just brawl if he is taken or brings it to the ground.
Winner: Kelvin Gastelum
Who He Should Fight Next: Rick Story
Why They Should Fight: It looks like Kelvin Gastelum was able to stand with the presumably more-skilled stand-up fighter after all. The 21-year-old has got to be one of the best stories coming out of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the past few years. Picked last for Chael Sonnen's team on last year's The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, he upset the most feared man in TUF history, Uriah Hall, and won his first official fight in the UFC in the first round by choking out Brain Melancon.
Gastelum was supposed to face Paulo Thiago on this card and although a fight against the Brazilian would be a good option when Thiago comes back from injury, why not match him up against Rick Story?
Sure, it may not make too much sense for Story to fight Gastelum because he is coming off a loss, but Story is a tough match-up for anyone because of the power in his fists and has equally the same power in his grinding, wrestling style.
Maybe that is a step up for Gastelum but the undefeated Yuma United prospect can hang with the big boys now and a win over Story would propel him to cloud nine with bigger fights looming in the future. Story is a 13-fight UFC veteran who has had big fights before and until he started losing to the likes of Martin Kampmann and Demian Maia (not to mention his unfortunate showing against Charlie Brenneman on a day's notice for the underdog), he was supposed to be a threat at 170 pounds. This is a fight Gastelum would like to consider if he wants to move forward fast.
Winner: Court McGee
Who He Should Fight Next: Thiago Alves
Why They Should Fight: It's simple -- it is time for Court McGee to take the next step. He has not finished anyone since 2010 and before everyone starts to call him a boring "point fighter" (which he is not), he needs to escape those decisions whether or not he is victorious or on the receiving end of a loss. McGee's toughest fight was against Josh Neer but he also proved that sometimes he can be on the other side of a positively-driven controversy being in his favor with his loss to Nick Ring.
McGee is a TUF winner who eventually needs to stop fighting the same type of fights and try something different. He was successful in his welterweight debut and although Robert Whittaker had some bright moments of his own and almost had the win if it were not for a judge ruling it in McGee's favor, "Crusher" continued to prove he is a tough out for anyone.
Thiago Alves' style would force McGee to fight a little differently, to really give him a reason to go for the finish and not hang in there with "The Pitbull" if he is just going to make it a technical striking battle (that is, if he can excel in the trading).
Alves was a dangerous specimen before a string of losses hurt his chances to contend for the welterweight title. Alves is 2-4 in his last six fights and if he cannot get it together, he will fall into a pool of fighters who have not evolved as much as their counterparts. McGee could bring the fight to him and vice versa. A win for either man would be an impressive accolade in trying to get to the welterweight title.
Winner: Rafael dos Anjos
Who He Should Fight Next: Josh Thomson
Why They Should Fight: Rafael Dos Anjos needs one big win to convince everyone that he is ready for a title fight. Winner of five straight, Dos Anjos got the biggest victory of his career against Donald Cerrone and he showed that he is a bad match-up for anyone in the lightweight division. His ever-improving striking dropped Cerrone and his power cannot be underestimated when it comes to the ground.
If he is perhaps one win away from being considered as a legitimate title contender, then he should fight the man who made waves in his UFC return, Josh Thomson.
The AKA veteran has experienced a trilogy of close and exiting fights with Gilbert Melendez and was the first man to finish Nate Diaz by strikes, thanks to a devastating head kick that started Diaz's demise in that fight. Thomson can punch, grapple and do as much damage as he can with those same assets as Dos Anjos.
This does not mean Thomson would race to a title shot if he would win against Dos Anjos, but it would show us what the Brazilian is really made of and if his recent run is as legit as it looks. This would be a stellar fight between two lightweights who have resurrected their careers and are considered among the best in the division right now.
Winner: Carlos Condit
Who He Should Fight Next: The winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler at UFC 167
Why They Should Fight: If only Dana White and company waited a little longer to make the Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler fight slated for UFC 167, because another rematch for Carlos Condit could have been a perfect fight for him to get back into title contention. Although there is always Matt Brown, the winner of Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields or even an immediate title shot (which he could very well get because of his standing in the division), or any other possible fight that comes in the way of Condit's title aspirations.
Condit versus MacDonald 2 would be an epic rematch of their UFC 115 bout in Vancouver three years ago, as the young up-and-coming Canadian really stuck it to "The Natural Born Killer" for the first two rounds before Condit came back to annihilate MacDonald on the ground. These comebacks seem to be something he excels in.
Robbie Lawler would also be a great fight for Condit. The "Ruthless" one has some of the deadliest knockout power in all of MMA and if Condit cannot steer clear of his devastating one-shot knockout punches, it could derail his title aspirations for the foreseeable future.
Whichever road Condit decides to embark on, he is not short of options, but if the promotion does not offer him an immediate title fight, the winner of this fight would be a perfect opportunity to face either man who sent him down the pecking order (Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks).
What say you?
For our complete UFC Fight Night 27: ‘Condit vs. Kampmann 2' coverage stream, click here.