Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the pay-per-view (PPV) platform this past Saturday night (September 5, 2015) for the UFC 191 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, featuring the highly anticipated Flyweight title rematch pitting Demetrious Johnson against John Dodson at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the main event of the evening, Johnson outworked Dodson in a flawless performance that will still somehow get criticized because he didn't finish "The Magician."
In the co-main event, Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski battled in a bout 10 years in the making, and reminded fight fans why we all hoped to see the fight a decade ago after a 15 minute snoozefest (highlights here). "The Pitbull" ultimately won the unanimous decision, but the fight was entirely uneventful.
With that quick recap of the night's marquee bouts, its now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."
Winner: Demetrious Johnson
Who Should He Fight Next: TJ Dillashaw
I know this is likely wishful thinking when you consider the fact UFC brass has failed to deliver at nearly every opportunity to book a super fight between champions, but then again, "Mighty Mouse" has essentially cleaned house in the Flyweight division.
With Dillashaw currently sitting on the sidelines as the Bantamweight kingpin waiting for a potential fight against Dominick Cruz, why not slate the two champs to battle each other?
Johnson's options are quickly diminishing, as he has taken out half of the division's top 10 -- including two victories each over Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson.
If a super fight is not in the books, Johnson will likely be taking on the winner of the Jussier Formiga vs Henry Cejudo battle at UFC Fight Night 78, even though it is painfully clear neither man has anything to offer "Mighty Mouse" at this point.
Winner: Andrei Arlovski
Who Should He Fight Next: Matt Mitrione
Andrei Arlovski could have earned an unlikely UFC title shot at UFC 191, but after a banal performance against Frank Mir, "The Pitbull" will undoubtedly have to take on another ranked contender before vying for UFC gold.
Nearly every ranked Heavyweight is slated for upcoming fights already, so UFC brass can keep Arlovski waiting on the sidelines as a potential injury replacement before the dust eventually settles.
If the former Heavyweight champ wants to get back into the Octagon quickly, I would expect to see Arlovski battle Matt Mitrione next.
Winner: Anthony Johnson
Who Should He Fight Next: The Winner of Daniel Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson
The Light Heavyweight division is a barren wasteland of contenders, and Anthony Johnson is undoubtedly the No. 1 contender.
Earning yet another vicious knockout at UFC 191 (see the highlight here), "Rumble" improved his UFC record in his second stint to 3-1, with all of his victories coming via thunderous finish.
The former Welterweight has already knocked out current title challenger Alexander Gustafsson, and was thoroughly manhandled by Cormier at UFC 182, so expect the Blackzilians product to be rematching either one of those men following their UFC 192 title fight.
Winner: Corey Anderson
Who Should He Fight Next: Ovince St. Preux
Defeating Jan Blachowicz so handily is nothing to sleep on, but Corey Anderson is still far from being a legitimate contender in the 205-pound division.
With a win over a ranked contender now in his back pocket, expect "Beastin' 25/8" to continue his ascension up the Light Heavyweight ladder.
With limited options, I suspect the TUF winner to take on Ovince St. Preux his next time out.
Winner: Paige VanZant
Who Should She Fight Next: Jessica Penne
UFC brass wants to take Paige VanZant's progress slowly, but when the 115-pound champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk is taking on No. 10 ranked Valerie Letourneau, there is only so many fights "12 Gauge" can win before she is thrusted into a title fight.
With that being said, VanZant is ready to take a step up in competition, and I'd like to see her battle former title challenger Jessica Penne next.
Not only is Penne a stiff test for the young VanZant, but she could prove to be a catapult for the Team Alpha Male product's MMA career.
No more squash matches for the 21-year old.
That's a wrap!