The recurring theme from last night’s UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir card in Brazil was the incredible success of the betting underdog. Ivan Jorge was the only listed favorite to come away victorious, while the main card was a clean sweep for the underdogs. It was terrific for gamblers who cashed in on low-risk parlays, and terrible for the bulk of the actual Brazilian fighters who competed. Antonio Silva was absolutely destroyed in the main event by Frank Mir, who put him away in less than 2 minutes.
What’s next for Mir and the rest of the main card winners? It’s time to do some fantasy matchmaking in the latest edition of “Fights to Make”.
Frank Mir. I’m going to go through the slightly unorthodox route with Mir. He has already either lost to or would likely lose to the majority of the current top 10 ranked heavyweights. I believe Mir should be facing a prospect like Ruslan Magomedov, who is 13-1, a very skilled striker, but doesn’t possess any sort of punching power comparable to the opponents Mir historically struggles with. If Joe Silva wants to go a little more upscale, then do Mir vs. Todd Duffee. Otherwise, I really do not see many positive outcomes involving Mir against the likes of Hunt, Miocic, Arlovski, or the new and improved Rothwell.
Michael Johnson. I said on Twitter last night that I was more than comfortable with giving Johnson a title shot with a win over any top 10 opposition he faces in his next fight. While I’m far more intrigued by a long-term move to welterweight, if Johnson wants to take on Ben Henderson, then make this fight happen, and preferably make it 5 rounds.
Sam Alvey. That was a hell of a knockout by Smilin’ Sam. It wasn’t looking too good for the American until he unleashed the fury of happy fists onto Cezar Ferreira’s unhappy and soon-to-be unconscious face. Following a really sub-par showing vs. Tom Watson, Alvey has won his last two by KO, and I think he gets the winner of Clint Hester/Luke Barnatt (April 4th).
Adriano Martins. A win over a ranked opponent goes a long way towards Martins becoming even a fringe contender in a crowded division. He was able to outwrestle Rustam Khabilov and generally make the most out of a fight with very little action. It wasn’t an entertaining win but it was an effective performance against a tough opponent. I’d love to see the Brazilian face a healthy Matt Wiman.
Frankie Saenz. Well well well. We have ourselves a possible new contender at bantamweight. Saenz always had the wrestling advantage against Iuri Alcantara, but his top game was very good and he absorbed some hard shots on the feet. For what it’s worth, an upset of this magnitude won’t necessarily mean a step up in competition from Alcantara, but he’s definitely earned plenty of respect and recognition after his performance. I believe he’ll face the winner of Aljamain Sterling/Takeya Mizugaki (April 18th), keeping in mind that Sterling was supposed to fight Saenz last November before Saenz pulled out with an injury.
Santiago Ponzinibbio. As underwhelming as TUF Brazil 2 has been, “The Ponz”( as I will affectionately call him) is a keeper. He’s got good hands and a fan-friendly style that makes him a fun watch each time he steps into the cage. I’d put him up against Lorenz Larkin.
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