“UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir” is in the books, and once again the Ultimate Fighting Championship delivered a brilliant night of mixed martial arts action with an all-heavyweight main card. Junior dos Santos TKO’d Frank Mir in the second round of their main event bout to defend the UFC heavyweight championship for the first time. Also on the main card, Cain Velasquez, Roy Nelson, Stipe Miocic and Stefan each picked up impressive victory over their respective opponents.
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: Stefan Struve
Who He Should Fight Next: Mark Hunt
Why They Should Fight: Prior to Mark Hunt pulling out of UFC 146 just nine days before the event with an injury, Stefan Struve and Hunt were slated to compete against one another on the all-heavyweight card. Struve had a quick submission victory over Lavar Johnson and if Hunt is recovered from his injury relatively soon, putting this fight together makes sense. Fans were very excited for the original match up and after putting in full training camps, the two fighters deserve to face one another.
Winner: Stipe Miocic
Who He Should Fight Next: Gabriel Gonzaga
Why They Should Fight: Stipe Miocic replaced Gabriel Gonzaga on the UFC 146 fight card against Shane del Rosario after the former heavyweight number one contender was forced to pull out with an injury. Miocic picked up an impressive second round TKO victory over del Rosario and should face a name opponent next. Gonzaga is a dangerous fight on the ground and on the feet; the Brazilian has been in there with the best of them and would present unique challenges to the up-and-coming Miocic. The match up would gauge exactly where the Croatian sits in the division. If Miocic gets by Gonzaga easily, we would have a new heavyweight contender on our hands. If he struggles or loses, it would be evident that Miocic is not ready for the upper echelon of heavyweights.
Winner: Roy Nelson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cheick Kongo at UFC 149
Why They Should Fight: Roy Nelson and his powerful right hand stormed through Dave Herman in just 51-seconds at UFC 146. The win was significant for “The Ultimate Fighter” season 10 winner as he puts himself back on the map in the heavyweight division after a string of tough fights. For his next outing, Nelson against the winner of UFC 149′s heavyweight match up between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo would be a barnburner. It is likely that either match up would be contested on the feet, as all three fighters have been known to keep their fights standing of late. However, a Nelson vs. Nogueira fight has potential to be fireworks on the ground as both are high quality jiu-jitsu fighters.
If this fight doesn’t work out, Nelson against Brock Lesnar in the former champions rumored UFC return would be a very interesting fight that a large group of fans have wanted for quite some time.
Winner: Cain Velasquez
Who He Should Fight Next: Junior Dos Santos
Why They Should Fight: Cain Velasquez’s dominant victory over Antonio Silva is worthy of a UFC title shot. UFC president Dana White hinted after UFC 146 that a Velasquez/dos Santos rematch makes sense and is a fight that has a good chance of being put together for dos Santos’ second title defense. The two heavyweights first fought at UFC on FOX 1 with dos Santos knocking out Velasquez and taking the belt in just over one minute. Unfortunately, news surfaced in the fallout of the fight that both men were significantly injured and nowhere close to 100 percent. Not to make excuses for Velasquez, but many people wonder how the fight would have played out had the 29-year-old not been finished so quickly. In fact, a few members of the MMA media have stated they would favor Velasquez over the champion in a rematch. While the finish of the first fight was decisive, the top two heavyweights on the UFC roster still have unfinished business.
Winner: Junior dos Santos
Who He Should Fight Next: Cain Velasquez
Why They Should Fight: As stated above, 64-seconds was not enough time to determine who is truly the better fighter between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. Bring on the rematch.
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.