UFC on Fuel 8 had some surprising performances on the main card that likely complicated Joe Silva’s job a bit. Sometimes matchmaking looks pretty easy – winner of A vs. B fights C regardless of who wins. But many other times, a weak judge’s decision or an upset throws those plans out the window and the puzzle gets a little harder to solve. Last night’s event firmly falls into the second category, so I’m probably going to have to use a little more creativity than usual. Anyway, let’s get on with it – here’s who the UFC on Fuel 8 main card fighters should meet in their next bout.
Wanderlei Silva -I think the best fight out there for him right now is the one that was originally booked for UFC 147 – Silva vs. Vitor Belfort. But this time, do it at 205. Silva has stated that he might never fight at middleweight again, and Belfort is fine with not having to cut weight. There’s a good rivalry there, and both men aren’t really in the title picture at the moment. Whether Belfort wins or loses against Rockhold doesn’t really matter – it’s the bout to make next.
Brian Stann – There really aren’t a ton of credible options for Stann coming off a loss. Mark Munoz would be a good matchup.
Mark Hunt – The Super Samoan wants a top-five opponent, and he might have earned that with the win over Struve. But I’d rather see him fight Roy Nelson right now. Nelson might just take it to the floor, but those two standing and striking would make for a great Fuel main event or something. Nelson has to get through Cheick Kongo first though.
Stefan Struve – It’s kind of hard to believe that Struve has already fought 13 times in the UFC. That definitely limits the matchmaking options a bit since the division is shallow and they probably don’t want to go to rematches. I can only see one real choice among the currently unbooked guys, and it’d be a decent fight. Struve vs. Ben Rothwell.
Diego Sanchez – Sanchez did not look good in his bout and doesn’t look like he’s going to be a player in the lightweight division. But he did pick up a win, and will likely face a top-25 guy in his next bout. The winner of the Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham bout at UFC on FX 8 would be a good test.
Takanori Gomi – Even though he lost, that might have been the most complete performance of Gomi’s career. They’ll probably put him against someone who loses their next bout, so I think they should match him up with the loser of the Daron Cruickshank vs. John Makdessi fight at UFC 158. At least it’d be a good standup fight no matter what.
Yushin Okami -They seem to be giving some Strikeforce fighters some high-profile challenges in their UFC debuts, so let Okami welcome Tim Kennedy to the UFC.
Hector Lombard – I’m really not sure what they want to do with Lombard considering how much money he makes. But two losses in first three fights has made his stock plummet quickly. What could get it back up a bit? A nice knockout over a tough fighter. And I think that guy he should be matched up with is Chris Leben.
Rani Yahya – He’s 3-1 in the UFC now, but he’s not really climbing the featherweight ladder all that fast. He’d be a stiff test for the rising Nik Lentz, though it might not be the most exciting bout ever.
Dong Hyun Kim – It appears that Tyron Woodley will be meeting Jake Shields in June. The winner of that bout would be a tough challenge for Kim. They could also put him against John Hathaway on a UK card.
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