Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Mexico for another pay-per-view (PPV) event this past Saturday night (June 13, 2015) as UFC 188 crowned a new undisputed UFC champion from inside the Arena Mexico in Mexico City.
In the main event of the evening, Fabricio Werdum outlasted Cain Velasquez, dominating the former champ on the feet in the second round en route to a third round guillotine choke victory to secure the title.
In the co-main event, Eddie Alvarez picked up his first UFC victory with a gritty comeback performance over Gilbert Melendez after having his eye completely swollen shut in the first round (see it here). In the end, the former Bellator champ was able to secure the split decision victory in Mexico.
With that quick recap of the night's marquee bouts, its now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."
Winner: Fabricio Werdum
Who Should He Fight Next: Junior Dos Santos
Fabricio Werdum has beaten some of the all time greatest fighters in MMA history, and "Vai Cavalo" should have the opportunity to avenge some of his prior losses now that he is the champion.
Having already defeated Minotauro Nogueira in their rematch back in 2013, I suspect the champion would like to rematch Junior Dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, and even Alistair Overeem in the future.
Considering "JDS" is the only man to ever finish Werdum in his five career losses -- and with the former champ sitting pretty at No. 2 in the division rankings -- I would be absolutely flabbergasted if UFC brass didn't immediately set up the rematch for the belt sometime in the coming months.
While it would be amazing to have the rematch in Brazil on PPV, the timing did not work out so well with UFC 190 going down in Rio De Janeiro in just about two months.
If I were to guess, I suspect Werdum vs Dos Santos 2 will be the main event for UFC 192 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on October 3, 2015.
Winner: Eddie Alvarez
Who Should He Fight Next: Dustin Poirier
You want action? You want violence? You want guaranteed fun?
Simply throw Dustin Poirier into the mix against anyone in the lightweight division, and you can bet it will be a contender for "Fight of the Night."
With Eddie Alvarez willing to stand toe-to-toe with anyone in the world -- often times to a fault -- you have to expect this fight to be made following his gritty win in Mexico over Gilbert Melendez.
With "The Diamond" on the rise in the lightweight division following two straight knockout victories, I would love to see the Bellator champ get his hands on Poirier in a fight that could determine the No. 1 contender, or at the very least catapult either man into the top five.
Winner: Kelvin Gastelum
Who Should He Fight Next: Dong Hyun Kim at 170 or Robert Whittaker at 185
Can Kelvin Gastelum make 170 pounds? Will Dana White even give him a chance?
Gastelum looked dominant at UFC 188 against Nate Marquardt, but let's not pretend that "The Great" isn't on a major downswing in his career and far removed from his days at the top of the welterweight and middleweight heap.
I believe The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner is a top 10 welterweight, but Dana White seems hesitant to allow Gastelum another shot at making 170 pounds following the UFC 183 debacle that saw him weigh in at 180 pounds for his fight against Tyron Woodley.
If UFC brass gives Gastelum another chance at 170, I want to see him fight fellow Woodley victim, Dong Hyun Kim. If the 23 year old is forced to stay at 185 pounds, I suspect a fight against Robert Whittaker would deliver a thrilling affair.
Winner: Yair Rodriguez
Who Should He Fight Next: Dan Hooker or Taylor Lapilus
Yair Rodriguez stunned a lot of folks in Mexico City by defeating the highly touted Charles Rosa, and while I was truly impressed by his overall game and enthralling style, let's pump the brakes a bit on the TUF: Latin America winner.
I want to see Rodriguez fight at least once more against a middling featherweight, and considering there are literally dozens of prospects at 145 pounds, I hope UFC matchmakers deliver another exciting bout for fight fans.
In my estimation, I would like to see Rodriguez take on Dan Hooker or Taylor Lapilus next.
Winner: Tecia Torres
Who Should He Fight Next: Maryna Moroz
For all the great fights the women have put on inside the Octagon since both the 135 and 115 pound divisions were announced, Tecia Torres and Angela Hill laid a dud on fight fans to open up the UFC 188 PPV.
Torres, having already defeated Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas and Felice Herrig, was in a position to potentially get a title shot with a dominant victory over the neophyte in Hill, but her ugly unanimous decision win definitely won't earn her a crack at UFC gold.
The "Tiny Tornado" is a very well rounded fighter at 115 pounds, and I suspect she will fight for the belt in 2015 if she can pick up one more victory inside the Octagon.
Considering she has faced off against a large percentage of the women that debuted on TUF, I would like to see Torres face off against Maryna Moroz -- who is coming off a shocking armbar victory over Joanne Calderwood -- next.
For complete results from UFC 188: "Velasquez vs. Werdum," including play-by-play updates, click here.