The UFC on FOX was last night, and now, I’ll play matchmaker and book future fights.
Well, the UFC has packed up their Octagon and rolled out of Long Island. That sound you hear is the hanging echoes of screaming fans celebrating Chris Weidman’s amazing victory. Chris snapped a three fight losing streak and did so in dramatic fashion. He choked out Kelvin Gastelum in the third round with an Arm Triangle.
So we’re going to take a look at some of the winners, and losers and see who it might make sense for them to face next. Should be fun.
Chris Weidman: Two words, Michael Bisping. I don’t care if you make it non-title or whatever. Robert Whittaker just won the right to face Bisping, but he’s injured. Yoel Romero wants Bisping, but he just lost to Whittaker. Rockhold has a date with David Branch and Jacare is still on the shelf. All things considered, a grudge match between Bisping and Weidman would be awesome. I’d watch it, that’s for sure. Make Weidman travel across the pond and meet Bisping on his home turf, and expect fireworks.
Jimmy Rivera: Makes sense for Jimmy to fight Dominick Cruz. He looked great in this fight against Thomas Almeida, and he’s ready to take that next step. He called out both Dom, as well as TJ Dillashaw pending an extended absence by injured champion Cody Garbrandt. Either of those two fights would be a great barometer of where Rivera is. Another potential fight could be an eliminator between Rivera and Raphael Assuncao.
Shane Burgos: Man this kid is a star in the making. Even though the UFC burired him for whatever reason on the FightPass segement of the card, he never fails to entertain. His style is absolutely tailor made for fan favoritism. He comes forward, throws big shots, and will never fear taking a shot to give a shot. He’s an exciting brawler who is technically proficient. He’s not currently ranked in the UFC, but after his third consecutive UFC win, and with his undefeated record, it won’t be long. Let’s get him booked with the winner of the Brian Ortega/Renato Moicano winner.
Kelvin Gastelum: Kelvin seems to have his heart set on returning to Welterweight, despite having extreme issues making weight there. He’s a smaller Middleweight, but he’s just not able to consistantly make the weight at 170. He performed well last night, and nearly finished Weidman at the end of the first round. If there were more time on the clock in the first round, this article could be reading a whole lot different. If he goes to Welterweight, an interesting fight would be Colby Covington. Colby is calling out anyone and everyone who he thinks can help him get noticed. I would prefer to see Kelvin stay at 185, but a fight with Colby at 170 wouldn’t make me mad at all.
Dennis Bermudez: He could fight another man who recently lost to Darren Elkins, in Mirsad Bektic. More interesting than that perhaps would be a fight with Dooho Choi. Last time we saw Choi, he was defeated by Cub Swanson in a fight for the ages. He was forced off of the UFC 214 card with a back injury, but is supposed to be ready for a November return, which could fit with Bermudez’ schedule. It would be an interesting matchup.
Time for a Release?
Timothy Johnson: Johnson has lost three of his last five fights, and outside of the Heavyweight division being really thin, he’d likely find himself seeking work elsewhere. He did not look at all in shape for this fight and was defeated in the first round, by a fighter making his UFC debut. Enough is enough, time for Johnson to get a couple wins strung together in the PFL.
Damian Grabowski: Three fights in the UFC, three losses, two of which he was finished in round 1. He doesn’t have the athletism needed to compete at the highest level. He simply at this point, isn’t a UFC caliber fighter. There is no shame in going back to smaller promotions, building a record and earning valuable experience. He went the distance last night, but honestly, he was there for the finishing.
Rafael Natal: It doesn’t seem that long ago that Natal was on a four fight winning streak in the UFC, and looking at breaking into the top ten. Now, he’s lost three consecutive fights and was TKO’d in the first round in the last two of them. The Middleweight division is talent-laden and it just doesn’t seem like Natal is a fit at this point. The UFC has gatekeepers at Middleweight, Natal seems like he could be on the way out.
Gian Villante: This one hurts me, trust me. I love Gian Villante, but it seems as if he has an issue closing the deal. He has moments where he looks amazing, but somehow finds a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He has talent, but can’t quite close the gap when it comes to being a consistent winner. He’s lost four of his last six, and retooling now seems like a better move than staying in the UFC and maybe losing a couple more fights. He has the tools, and experience in some smaller shows closing the deal would be beneficial to him.