UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera is in the books and once again the Ultimate Fighting Championship delivered a solid night of mixed martial arts action. Mike Swick, Joe Lauzon, Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua were the big winners last night in Los Angeles as each picked up victories 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: Mike Swick
Who He Should Fight Next: Siyar Bahadurzada
Why They Should Fight: Mike Swick picked up a brutal knockout of DeMarques Johnson at UFC on FOX 4. Siyar Bahadurzada was recently forced off the UFC 149 fight card due to an injury, but the Afghan fighter is expected to return to the cage sooner than later. Bahadurzada scored a highlight-reel knockout over Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut earlier this year, and a match up with Mike Swick would be a great clash of two hard hitting strikers.
Bahadurzada would pose a huge threat to Swick on the feet due to his devastating knockout power, and the same can be said for Swick. Both guys are trying to establish themselves as contenders in the welterweight division; a win for either of them would help build ground towards that status.
Winner: Joe Lauzon
Who He Should Fight Next: Rafael Dos Anjos
Why They Should Fight: Rafael Dos Anjos and Joe Lauzon sit in roughly the same middle-of-the-pack spot in the UFC lightweight division. Each man has won and lost some big fights in the UFC and with both having competed within 30 days of each other, the timing would line up to have them fight.
Dos Anjos showed in his win against Anthony Njokuani at UFC on FUEL TV 4 that his overall game has vastly improved and facing either Lauzon would be a very exciting fight to watch.
In Lauzon, Dos Anjos would face another fighter whose primarily strength lays on the ground and it would be interesting to see if the two fighters opt to stay on the feet and trade punches or if they would prefer to take the fight to the mat and prove who the superior grappler is. Either way, Lauzon vs. Dos Anjos would be a great fight and has the potential to be ‘Fight of the Night’ no matter which fight card it ends up on.
Winner: Lyoto Machida
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson at UFC 151
Why They Should Fight: If UFC president Dana White holds true to his word, Lyoto Machida will challenger the winner of the UFC 151 main event between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson for the UFC light heavyweight championship in his next fight. Exactly when that will be is unknown at this time, but assuming the winner of Jones vs. Henderson comes out of the fight without any major injuries, it could be as soon as late-2012 or early 2013.
Machida has already fought and lost to Jones once before, and that was just two fights ago. The Brazilian was choked out in the second round by the current champion, but arguably won the first round prior to being submitted. While some people may not be very interested in seeing a rematch, the UFC will certainly spin the angle of Machida doing well in the first round against Jones as a way to promote a rematch, given Jones gets by Henderson.
Henderson defeating Jones at UFC 151 would be a big turning point for the 205-pound weight class as a handful of new title fights would be available. From a promotional standpoint, it would be a lot easier for the UFC to sell Henderson-Machida than a Jones-Machida rematch, and it would be a fight that would likely catch a lot more interest from fans.
Either way, the UFC has two light heavyweight title fights lined up so the future of the weight class going into early next year is essentially set.
Winner: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander Gustafsson
Why They Should Fight: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua failed to secure a title shot at UFC on FOX 4, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a top contender.
Following his fourth-round TKO of Brandon Vera, “Shogun” is in line to fight another top 205-pound contender and Alexander Gustafsson is one of the few elite light heavyweights without a fight at this point. A potential bout with “Shogun” was brought up a few months back after Gustafsson beat Thiago Silva at UFC on FUEL TV 2, but now that both men have won their recent fights, booking the two to face off makes a lot of sense.
While Gustafsson has fought solid competition, he has yet to share the octagon with a former world champion, Rua is one of the most decorated champions in the history of the sport. If Gustafsson beats “Shogun” he would prove is one of the very best fighters in his weight class and is ready to fight for belt. From Rua’s perspective, he would have the opportunity to halt the momentum of one of the division’s rising stars.
The UFC could easily peg a Rua vs. Gustafsson fight as a number one contenders bout. Place it as the co-main event on the same card as Machida’s title shot against Jones or Henderson and you have some big things brewing at 205-pounds.