UFC Fight Night 37: "Gustafsson vs. Manuwa" was quite the cup of tea, taking place last night (March 8, 2014) at O2 Arena in London, England.
The main event saw Alexander Gustafsson book his place in the next light heavyweight championship bout, as he crushed Jimi Manuwa by knockout in the second round (watch the highlights here). The co-main event was a bit of a sleeping pill, as Michael Johnson outworked Melvin Guillard to a unanimous decision victory in a fight we should easily forget.
Also on the card, Brad Pickett successfully made his debut at flyweight with a win over promotional newcomer Neil Seery, and Gunnar Nelson mopped the floor with Omari Akhmedov in one round, submitting him via guillotine choke.
Indeed, after every event, fight fans are already thinking about what the future holds for the stars of the show. With another night of action-packed fights, let us peer into our crystal ball and predict possible matchmaking scenarios.
Here are our next matches to make:
Winner: Gunnar Nelson:
Who He Should Fight Next: Mike Pyle
Why They Should Fight: Printed a few weeks ago, I said Mike Pyle's win at UFC 170 granted him a potential fight against Jason High; however, shame on me for not seeing this picture sooner.
Nelson was supposed to face Pyle at UFC 160; however, he pulled out due to injury and that's when his lengthy break from action commenced. This meeting makes perfect since, as both welterweights have fought not too far apart from each other, meaning UFC's return to Dublin in July already has a headlining fight featuring one of their adopted sons.
If both are healthy, the supposed match up could be a corker.
UFC has another up-and-coming welterweight who inserted himself into the fold, but he doesn't quite deserve to be rushed.
An experienced vet known for derailing young prospects should do the trick.
Winner: Brad Pickett
Who He Should Fight Next: John Moraga
Why They Should Fight: "One Punch" may have looked decent in his flyweight debut, but in no way should he face Demetrious Johnson for a second time just yet.
He could face really anyone in the flyweight division for us to assess his role, yet a bout against someone like John Moraga proves if he really belongs with a test such as that one. Moraga has fought for the belt and maybe his last win over Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 35 was questionable, but he's still not an easy fighter to conquer.
Also, there are no problems if the match against Ian McCall gets reworked; he was simply too easy to answer, opting for a more creative side of the things.
Winner: Michael Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza at UFC on FOX 11
Why They Should Fight: UFC on FOX 11 in April gets a hare-brained scrap for the ages when Donald Cerrone faces Edson Barboza, in a fight where Johnson could anticipate the winner. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 finalist may not have the best striking in the division like he said he did at the post-fight presser; however, it's getting pretty damn good.
Johnson also made a point at the post-fight presser that fighting the winner of Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov isn't good enough; meaning, he feels a more elevated opponent would be suitable.
I can't help but think the winner of that fight either gets the next title shot, or earns the right to face the elevated opponent like Benson Henderson or Josh Thomson.
It's good marketing on Johnson's part, but the winner of UFC on FOX 11's clash is the wiser decision to see what Johnson is capable of against a renowned striker.
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira at UFC 172
Why They Should Fight: It's already a given. "Gus" against either the current champion or the challenger is going to happen.
You can make your case for Cormier, but it's just not in the cards.
If there's something we know about UFC, it's their love for rematches where they can build storylines around it, and this is what's happening for all roads leading up to Jones vs. Gustafsson 2.
There's been talk of fear, worthiness, and even matchmaking from some parties involved, but if we're ever going to see Gustafsson get a second fight against Jones, now is the time. Plus, even if Teixeira wins, "The Mauler" is automatically inserted into that fight, too.
That's the official ruling.
For complete UFC Fight Night 37: "Gustafsson vs. Manuwa" coverage, check out our story stream here.