UFC Fight Night 28: "Teixeira vs. Bader" is in the books.
The return trip to Brazil for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) proved to be a successful one in terms of action brought forth from its competitors.
See our full results and live play-by-play here.
That being said, main card competitors Glover Teixeira, Ronaldo Souza, Joseph Benavidez, Piotr Hallmann, Rafael Natal and Ali Bagautinov all picked up victories on Wednesday night (Sept. 4, 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 matchmaking scenarios.
Here we go, from bottom to top:
Winner: Ali Bagautinov
Who He Should Fight Next: Tim Elliott
Why They Should Fight: There are not many options at flyweight and the timing makes sense, as Tim Elliott just fought a few days ago at UFC 164. Bagautinov looked good against Marcos Vinicus, but at the same time, he has stuff to work on. Elliott's wrestling pedigree may be a notch above the Russian's, but Bagautinov showed he does have punching power and that he's a young flyweight prospect to watch.
In a thin-as-they-come division, matching up guys could be pretty easy even though some may be mismatches. Elliott could be a little more seasoned, largely due to the big stage experience, although this would be a tough fight for him, too. These guys just fought days apart from each other and both have momentum to gain with a win over the other.
Winner: Rafael Natal
Who He Should Fight Next: Derek Brunson
Why They Should Fight: Maybe Natal does not get the top-10 opponent just yet, although Derek Brunson is by no means an easy fight. Good on the ground with a solid wrestling pedigree, a classic jiu-jitsu vs. wrestler chess match would be displayed. If they both decided to stand up with each other, it is tough to say who would have the advantage since they are similar in striking.
Natal is riding a three-fight win streak and Brunson, coming off a win over Chris Leben, has shown he can hang in there with the vets, yet sometimes has trouble with established fighters like he did against "Jacare" Souza and Kendall Grove.
Brunson has been there before on the bigger stage with Strikeforce and now UFC, while Natal is just starting to come into his own with the spotlight. A good fight for both in terms of moving forward.
Winner: Piotr Hallmann
Who He Should Fight Next: Mitch Clarke
Why They Should Fight: Piotr Hallmann was almost finished by Francisco Trinaldo and badly hurt in the first round. Not only did Hallmann recover -- he submitted a Brazilian in Brazil, which is more or less a feather in his cap in his short UFC debut.
Hallmann is riding a 10-fight win streak and he looked good by surviving adversity in his UFC debut. Clarke has good wrestling and like Hallmann, his striking is not terrible; however, it could use some improving.
A tough, gritty fight for him would be the Canadian. With only 12 fights under his belt, "Danger Zone" has had some adversity to fight back from himself, losing his first two UFC fights; however, he did oust a five-time UFC veteran in John Maguire earlier this summer. Let us see if Clarke has the big-stage experience he needs sooner rather than later to climb up the lightweight ranks.
We can also see if Hallmann is the real deal, apart from his wins in the indies.
Hallmann did get exposure on this card, winning the "Submission of The Night" and because of that, he may be the favorite going into this fight. Like mentioned before, Clarke has had more UFC experience even though he is 1-2 in the promotion, which would test Hallmann's 14-1 record with most of those fights not coming against top caliber opponents. It's a decent scrap to see where both men stand in the division, and to see if one is lowlier than the other in their young careers.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez
Who He Should Fight Next: Demetrious Johnson
Why They Should Fight: Maybe you do not like this match-up. Maybe you will leave a stern comment in the section down below saying that Benavidez has already lost to Demetrious Johnson and that the flyweight division sucks and has no real contenders. Leaving a comment would be unnecessary because for the most part, you are right, so let us not beat a dead horse.
Until the flyweight division signs another group of fighters, it is going to remain thin. You will get match-ups arising that you may have already seen and title fights you may not want to see. If Johnson easily beat John Moraga in his last title defense, it should be proof that mismatches are not the way to go.
Benavidez will beat anybody outside of a title fight and there are two reasons that he should not fight the winner of John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague at UFC 166. First, let us assume Dodson wins, it would cancel out one definite contender by putting these two men together and the division cannot afford that right now. Come to think of it, if Montague won, you could say the same thing for him. Secondly, how long are you going to make a healthy Demetrious Johnson sit out if that happens?
Remember, Johnson already beat Benavidez in a close split decision to be the first inaugural flyweight champion at UFC 152. Would a rematch end differently based on "Joe Jitsu's" improvements?
Winner: Ronaldo Souza
Who He Should Fight Next: Gegard Mousasi
Why They Should Fight: Gegard Mousasi has not been missing since his win over Ilir Latifi in April of this year. He unsuccessfully petitioned for a fight against Vitor Belfort at any weight and was not successful. The perfect opponent for Mousasi would be the most interesting man at middleweight, Ronaldo Souza.
On September 23, 2008, the Armenian knocked Souza out with an upkick that Mousasi landed on the ground, off his back at DREAM 6. It cost "Jacare" the 2008 Grand Prix and the DREAM middleweight championship that came with it.
Souza can expose Mousasi's weak grappling defense, as he was having success in their first fight; however, now it is a different story. "Jacare" has knockout power, with his finish over Yushin Okami, someone who does not get knocked out very often (even though Tim Boetsch had a comeback for the ages against him).
"Jacare" needs one more win to leapfrog everyone in the division and if he can beat a solid competitor like Mousasi -- and get revenge at the same time -- then you can forget about guys like a certain British fighter who has been begging for a title shot for years. Souza would be the man.
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Fight Next: The winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165
Why They Should Fight: The truth is, Glover Teixeira should not fight the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, even though he will, as there other fighters he could have faced.
Teixiera may have done enough to get the title shot but as we said before, there is nobody left to face apart from perhaps Phil Davis. It's a shame Rashad Evans had to take a fight against Chael Sonnen because him and Teixeira would have been a great clash and would have provided us with answers to see if Teixeira is in fact ready to take the next big step.
Either way, Teixeira is getting the next shot.
With the reach, combined with the power both of his possible opponents possess, he may have a tough night. Ryan Bader was able to find openings, so do not think that Jones or Gustafsson would have a hard time, either. They would probably take the Brazilian down as much as possible to wear him out, since his cardio is also an unanswered question.
For Teixeira's sake, he would probably have a better time against Gustafsson and although he would rather fight Jones, he could trouble "The Mauler" with his power. Still, it is tough to say if he could overcome the speed of both competitors.
Should Teixeira be fighting these men at all? Or has he thoroughly deserved it? We'll find out soon enough.
For our complete UFC Fight Night 28: "Teixeira vs. Bader" live story stream, click here.