“UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans” is in the books, and once again the Ultimate Fighting Championship delivered a brilliant night of mixed martial arts action. Jon Jones defeated Rashad Evans by unanimous decision in their main event bout for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Rory MacDonald, Ben Rothwell, Michael McDonald, Eddie Yagin and Mark Bocek each picked up impressive victory over their respective opponents on the main card.
After every fight card, fans wonder who the winners will be matched up with next. With another night of UFC action in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look forward and put ourselves in Joe Silva’s shoes to play UFC matchmaker.
Winner: Mark Bocek
Who He Should Fight Next: Takanori Gomi
Why They Should Fight: Takanori Gomi has struggled with talented grapplers throughout his UFC career. Mark Bocek is the definition of a talented grappler; let’s see if Gomi has made the necessary improvements in his game to compete with the best in the lightweight division.
Winner: Eddie Yagin
Who He Should Fight Next: Marcus Brimage
Why They Should Fight: Eddie Yagin and Marcus Brimage earned quality wins at UFC 145. Both fighters were underdogs to their opponents coming into the event, but that didn’t stop them from winning. Yagin and Brimage are both quick on the feet, carry powerful strikes and prefer to keep their fights standing. A match up between the two would be a welcomed addition to any UFC card.
Winner: Michael McDonald
Who He Should Fight Next: Brad Pickett
Why They Should Fight: At this point in time, Michael McDonald vs. the winner of Renan Barao/Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148 for number one contendership in the bantamweight division is a fight that makes sense. However, July is a long ways away and McDonald may want to compete between now and the time the Barao/Menjivar winner is ready to fight again. That’s where Brad “One Punch” Pickett comes into the picture. Pickett picked up submission win over Damacio Page at UFC on FUEL TV 2 earlier this month, and said he is eager to fight again soon. Pickett is a top-10 bantamweight and a formidable test for any fighter, especially an up and comer such as McDonald. The styles of McDonald and Pickett mesh well and it would make for an exciting fight.
Winner: Ben Rothwell
Who He Should Fight Next: Travis Browne
Why They Should Fight: Both Ben Rothwell and Travis Browne picked up big victories over their respective opponents at UFC 145 and were as impressive as ever in the process. With a majority of the heavyweight division booked at the moment, pitting these two heavyweights against one another is a no-brainer.
Winner: Rory MacDonald
Who He Should Fight Next: Jake Shields
Why They Should Fight: In Joe Silva’s Shoes after UFC 144, I said Jake Shields should face the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills and I will stick with that. Shields recently stated he is considering a move up to the middleweight division, but I believe that is a mistake and he will not find success against much larger fighters. MacDonald is an up and comer in the welterweight division and after a dominant win over Mills at UFC 145, has earned the right to face elite competition. A former world champion in the Strikeforce organization, Shields resume fits the bill for the type of opponent MacDonald should face next. Shields is a well travelled fighter with ground skills that can give any man problems, a fight against MacDonald would be very interesting.
Winner: Jon Jones
Who He Should Fight Next: Dan Henderson
Why They Should Fight: It was a well known fact going into UFC 145 that Dan Henderson was the next challenger to the UFC light heavyweight championship. Henderson earned his number one contenders spot when he defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139 last November. The 41-year-old future Hall-of-Famer has held every prestigious title in the MMA world, except for the UFC belt. He will get his shot to add that belt when he takes on reigning champion Jon Jones later this year. A date a location for Jones/Henderson has not been announced, but with Jose Aldo’s next featherweight title defence likely being shifted to Brazil, UFC 149 in Calgary is in need of a main event.