All the best, most interesting, and absolutely coolest fights the UFC needs to book following the UFC’s latest event in Buffalo, NY.
If nothing else, UFC 210 offered a lot of drama. Of the 13 bouts on the card, seven ended by finish, with three submissions and four TKO/KOs. Will Brooks took a second massive upset loss in a row, Chris Weidman hit a three-fight losing skid by way of controversial fight ending knees, and Anthony Johnson straight-up retired. That leaves a lot to process in terms of what comes next.
With Jon Jones talking about a ‘tune-up’ fight is he still next for DC? Does Gegard Mousasi get another UFC contract? What does the UFC do with Will Brooks now? I’ll be doing my best to find the must-book next fight for each and every fighter on the card, using the classic Silva/Shelby model. That means matching winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured fighters against one another. I’ll be joined this week by BE reader Gaudior. If you want to take a crack at matchmaking for the next event, leave a comment below starting with “Can you tell me why you’re wrestling? Now, you’re not going to wrestle.” I’ll choose one winner from the responses. Now, lets get to the fights.
Hello Bloody Elbow Community. You know me by my username Gaudior. My real name is Mychal. By day I am an accountant-in-training, student, and voice actor, by night MMA fan.
Mychal – DC fought a smart fight this time; he did a good job of avoiding Rumble’s bombs. I don’t want to book Jon Jones right into a title fight, and I think DC’s callout was a good one. He’s never fought Jimi Manuwa before. My pick: Jimi Manuwa vs Daniel Cormier.
Zane – Okay, on the surface, if Jon Jones wants a tune-up and DC wants to fight Manuwa, then there’s no reason not to book Manuwa vs. DC. But, when is the UFC going to learn its lesson about booking the big fight when they big fight is there to be booked? DC vs. Jones 2 is the fight to book at light heavyweight. And if Jones is going to go around calling himself the best light heavyweight in the world, then throw him back in the title picture and make him prove it.
Mychal – This win was controversial. Without wanting to start a flame war, mistakes were made on all parts. I think the only logical resolution is an immediate rematch. My Pick: Gegard Mousasi vs Chris Weidman rematch.
Zane – The line at middleweight is long enough and everybody seems unhappy enough with the result that I’d be fine seeing a rematch happen. But, since rematches are kind of lame, instead I’m going to say that the UFC should book Gegard Mousasi against Luke Rochold. Rockhold has been angling for a return bout against Jacare Souza, but Jacare is booked already, and it seems he’s not going to step in against Anderson Silva for Kelvin Gastelum. In the meantime, Rockhold vs. Mousasi is brand new and would be exciting as hell. Book it.
Zane – So since I’m not booking Weidman in an instant rematch with Mousasi, he needs a new fight, and at this point, probably something of a bounce-back to get some momentum. Unfortunately the top of his division is pretty much booked solid right now. I wouldn’t be adverse to the UFC booking him against Nick Diaz, but who knows what Diaz is up to these days. Instead, I’ll say that Weidman should fight Uriah Hall. Both men are on bad losing streaks, but both have enough name value to give the fight some sizzle.
Mychal – That was a good showing against Patrick Cote, but it was against a retiring Patrick Cote. Retiring fighters often don’t have the heart that surging fighters do. I’m not ready to toss Thiago right back into ranked contention. Instead, I’d rather toss him to a scrappy newcomer in need of a fight against a wily veteran. My pick: Mickey Gall vs Thiago Alves.
Zane – If Matt Brown weren’t coming off three straight losses, this would be the ideal time to book that fight. It would still be fun, but I’d rather see Brown have a little momentum going in. Otherwise, I’d rather see Alves fight someone more proven than Gall. And if Gall could take Alves down and sub him, that’d make me kinda sad. I wouldn’t mind seeing him fight Tim Means, but if I’m going for a fighter off a win, I think the UFC should book Thaigo Alves vs. Alex Garcia.
Mychal – Do Bronx is in an awkward position. I think he beats most fighters ranked below him, and he has lost to most fighters ranked higher than him. While this was an excellent win, it was to un-ranked Will Brooks. I think Do Bronx needs to prove himself against another top-15 talent before going after a higher ranking again. My pick: Renan Barao vs Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira.
Zane – I hope Oliveira doesn’t drop back down to featherweight, even though I’ll agree that a fight with Renan Barao would be fun. Instead, as long as he’s sticking with the lightweight division there are a lot of great fights out there for him. If he wants to wait, a bout between the Iaquinta/Sanchez winner would be fantastic. Also a fight with Gilbert Melendez would be good if Melendez stays at 155. If he wants a fight right away, however, the most interesting fight I can see is with Rustam Khabilov. Khabilov is one of the best un-ranked LW in the division and it’d make for a fascinating style matchup.
Mychal – Will Brooks is in need of a tune-up fight. A glance to the middle-bottom of the featherweight group reveals two fighters that seem likely picks: Alex Caceres and Hacran Dias. All three of these fighters are on two-fight losing skids, so it would likely give the loser his walking papers. Desperate people take desperate measures. My pick: Hacran Dias vs Will Brooks.
Zane – Featherweight may not be a bad move for “Ill” Will, but there’s no sign as of yet that it’s a move he’s making. Nonetheless, Brooks does need a tuneup badly at this point. His slow starts, lackadaisical response to bad positions, and less-than-huge stature have made his lightweight UFC run a lot more difficult than anticipated. A fight with Des Green has a certain appeal, but instead I’m going to say the UFC should book him against Drew Dober. Dober is a workhorse and a well rounded fighter, but generally hasn’t been threatening enough anywhere to be a big finisher in the UFC. Will Brooks vs. Drew Dober is my pick.
Mychal – There are still questions lingering over Usman about his ability to finish fights. That said, he is talented, scrappy, and fun to watch. I think he deserves a crack at a higher ranking off this win, but against a fighter who will make him work in the fight. My pick: Kamaru Usman v Dong Hyun Kim.
Zane – Unfortunately, DHK just got booked to fight Colby Covington, because Usman vs. Stun Gun would be a great fight. With that off the board, however, throw Usman at Ryan LaFlare. The two men have a somewhat similar style of fighting, and LaFlare has a long history of success in the UFC. He’d be a great veteran test for Usman as he continues to climb to the top ten at welterweight.
Mychal – Myles is in the undesirable position of having been sidelined for a long time. Largely, we’ve forgotten about him. He does gain a lot of stock from this fight, but not enough for me to book him against a ranked fighter, but he is one good win away. I am juggling between Andre Fili and Jeremy Kennedy. In the end, my pick: Andre Fili vs Myles Jury.
Zane – I’m still not sure what Fili’s status with the UFC is. It sounds kinda like he’s on the way back to the promotion after fighting out his contract, but there haven’t been many updates. Instead, I’m going to say book Jury against Brian Ortega when Ortega comes back from injury. Ortega has been awfully hittable in his UFC career, but has also had a great knack for picking off opportunistic submissions. I feel like that’d make a fight with Jury an especially interesting matchup given Jury’s sniping strikes and heavy top game.
OTHER BOUTS: Calvillo vs. Pereira, Gonzalez vs. Botelho, Strickland vs. Jouban, Burgos vs. Kennedy, Rosa vs. Jason, Cummins vs. Pedro, Gillespie vs. Martin, Holbrook vs. Packalen, Green vs. Makhachev, Emmett vs. Mustafaev, Chookagian vs. Smith, Aldana vs. Mazany, Bibulatov vs. Benoit, Lausa vs. Shelton