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Armchair Matchmaker: UFC 130 Edition


(Meanwhile in Roy’s stomach, a dozen undigested cheeseburgers cried for mercy. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

Look, I was all for sweeping UFC 130 under the rug and never mentioning it again, but since ReX has shamed me into doing this, it’s time to look back at Saturday’s big winners (and big, big losers) and see if we can devise some future matchups for these guys that will actually produce interesting fights. Make it happen, tiny atheist.

Quinton Jackson: Dana White seems dead-set on giving Rampage a title shot if his hand is healthy enough to accept it. Ugh, terrible. Why the UFC isn’t interested in promoting the hottest rivalry in the sport is anybody’s guess. (And don’t give me that bullshit about “timing”; it’s more likely related to White’s personal feelings about Rashad Evans.) In a perfect world, Rampage sits out for a few months and faces the winner of Shogun vs. Forrest at UFC 134 in Rio. With losses to both on his record, I don’t think motivation would be an issue.

Matt Hamill: Sure, on paper Hamill was coming into the fight against Rampage with a five-fight win streak — but considering that the most impressive victory in that streak (by far!) was his knockout of Mark Munoz, you have to wonder where the Hammer really sits in the light-heavyweight pecking order. My first thought was that Hamill should face the resurgent Vladimir Matyushenko next — but Vlad already has a date in August. So give him the winner of Kyle Kingsbury vs. Fabio Maldonado at this Saturday’s TUF 13 Finale. Either Hamill rebounds, or a rising prospect gets a big-name notch on their belt. Seems win-win to me.

Frank Mir: Unfortunately, back-to-back wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson have done nothing to raise this guy’s stock. I think a fight against Brendan Schaub still makes sense, as long as Schaub finds a way to get past Big Nog in August and Mir is willing to sit out for a while. At that point, fighting the TUF 10 finalist might be considered a step up for Mir.

Roy Nelson: Throw him up against Cro Cop on the Spike Prelims portion of a pay-per-view event. The loser leaves the Octagon forever. And for Christ’s sake, Roy, talk to Mike Dolce.

Travis Browne: After a 2-0-1 UFC stint against solid competition, I’d like to see Browne get a modest step up against another dangerous bastard — namely Mike Russow, who is also undefeated in three Octagon appearances. Russow is coming off a doctor’s stoppage TKO of Jon Madsen, which followed his legendary comeback knockout of Todd Duffee. It’s a matchup that would produce a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division.

Rick Story: With six wins in a row, he’s now qualified to call out any 170-pounder in the UFC outside of Georges St. Pierre — and for some reason, he’s chosen Jon Fitch. Dude, what? Nobody looks good fighting Jon Fitch, except GSP himself. Instead, Story should be calling out Josh Koscheck, who’s just as highly-regarded as Fitch, but more likely to produce a memorable fight. In a way, Story is like the second-coming of Koscheck — a seasoned wrestler with power in his hands — so a meeting between the two makes a lot of sense.

Brian Stann: The UFC’s 185-pound division is heavy at the middle right now, so one more impressive win could break Stann out of the logjam and set him on a title track. But all the other contenders in the middleweight division seem to be booked right now. The best option? Have the All-American fight the winner of Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz, who meet at UFC 131 on June 11th.

Demetrious Johnson: If you’ve compiled a four-fight win streak with your last two victories coming against Miguel Torres and Kid Yamamoto, then yes, you are one of the top dogs in the bantamweight division. But I’d like to see how well Mighty Mouse does against a fighter who can stop his takedowns — and there are a number of 135-ers in the UFC who fit that description. July’s UFC 132 event holds two possibilities: Urijah Faber if he loses to Dominick Cruz in the main event, or former champ Brian Bowles if defeats Takeya Mizugaki. Either opponent would be a trial-by-fire for Johnson, but he’s earned it.

(BG)

Got any other suggestions for UFC 130′s fighters? Let us know in the comments section…

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D-man420- June 1, 2011 at 9:32 am
@ccman If we do add in other factors like he can't make weight or w/e than ya of course he wont be able to hold the belt. But besides weight jones has enough talent to be champ for 5 years easy. Don't forget this guy is really young and is just starting and is a champ. Won the belt off a weak shogun but did it in a way that he looked bad but still made shogun look bad. The only one that i think had a chance in beating him is shogun. So jones will get some easy fights like rampage machida have some more training for the shogun rematch and will win again. And i don't mean easy like his last few fights but easy like he is ending them soon no later than round 2. At least i hope. And about jones not making weight that means he could be at a weight were he could fight Fedor right? now that would be a fun fight to see.
Jawbreaker_46- May 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm
I'm a fan of Rampage vs Shogun or Forrest
I like Hamil vs Vlad, or even Brilz
What about Mir vs Meethead?
or Nelson vs Schaub rematch, doesnt make alot of sense for Schaub but I'm sure he'd like a rematch.
Or Browne vs Meethead!
Story vs Kos, or Ellenberger
good pics for Stann
For Mighty Mouse, there are a handful that would be worthy match ups
Smitty- May 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm
@ RWR
Break that shit down for em bro!!!
@ Spicymeatball
FINALLY!!! Someone sayin what I was thinkin since Saturday. Torres won that fight imo too.
As far as this discussion about Jones, he won't be losin soon so, we might as well change the subject.
RwilsonR- May 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm
@ xveg & Stak40 - I never said Jones was invincible, but he is heading quickly towards being head and shoulders above the 205 competition. However, you will see in my posts even before this past weekend, I think Rampage or Machida testing his chin if they can would go a long way towards answering the few remaining questions about Jones. Also, as ccman said, it is hard to gauge 205 ranking right now because the past top 10 have largely aged out, or are question marks as to where they stand. Also, in assessing Jones, it isn't just the competition he has faced, but how he has looked in facing them.
As for the wrestlers Jones has faced, if you aren't impressed by his list xveg, then I'd be curious how you think Rashad is better. Hamill is an incredibly talented wrestler, and unbelievably good at using his wrestling defensively. He has an impeccable wrestling pedigree from D3 (say what you want, but after wrestling was destroyed by Title IX, a lot of smaller schools and even Junior Colleges have aazing wrestling programs). Beyond that, Hamill has shown his wrestling to be very effective in MMA when he uses it. Just because he could not take Rampage down is more a statement on MMA and range that it is his wrestling. Hamill has beaten two former NCAA D1 national champions, and even outwrestled them in the UFC. Matyushenko is an excellent wrestler. Ryan Bader has a wrestling record that is fantastic, and much better than Rashad's. He has also used it more effectively in MMA. O'Brien also has a wrestling background better than Rashad's, but he has looked lackluster in MMA. Also, Brandon Vera is a very talented greco wrestler, who has managed to use it to avoid being taken down by someone as good as Randy Couture. Jones ragdolled Hamill and Vera, two guys who have avoided that by virtually everyone else.
I just don't think Rashad is much competition for Jones based on styles. Jones knows how to use his wrestling well for MMA, and Rashad is not that great of a wrestler to begin with. He is average. I think the only questions I have left for Jones would be Rampage and Machida. I think they have the best chance of finding his chin. If they can't, Jones wins.
Actually, the best challenge would be Anderson Silva, but that isn't happening.
ccman- May 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm
2meatball. Amen. Until commissions realize there is more than boxing and learn something we are stuck.
@dman. No way was tha 100% shogun. Zero cardio and timid. Bones bitches will say it was all jones.... I do not see that. I saw no timing, aggression, sense of distance, or confidence. Basically I saw rua the last time after a very long layoff.... coleman fight. Again, not saying he would have won, saying very different fight.
Still in the end the question remains; how long can bones make weight? Spider barely can and still fight, and were seeing the difference. Bones is a natural 250 easy. Probably fights at an honest 225-230. He can't go 5 years at lhw.
Spicymeatball- May 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Johnson lost that fight. Did nothing but lay and pray. Torres spent the entire match working slick setups from his guard and raining up elbows. One day these judges are gonna need to grow some balls and give a decision to a guy who does that, until then MMA will not be able to grow.
D-man420- May 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm
@mofo i think there is odds in mma but im not 100% sure. That might be true for everyone in 205 but jones and thats with us not counting the DQ as a lose. @ccman sorry i thought when he was going into that jones fight he was at close to 100% i thought he went in surgery and had lots of recovery? But if shogun was not at all 100% or healthy than that makes a hell of a lot more sense how jones won the way he did. Because i knew he would win but thought it would be some what a war. But even when thats the case i think jones could hold the belt for a record time. He did not win his fights he fully dominated and crushed all in his way. When you ask the whole who has he fought stuff i just look at overrem and think just because he has fought garbage for a while does not take away from his epic ability in the ring.
1962f85- May 31, 2011 at 12:30 pm
I dont see why Story should get Fitch.
I like the Kos match up,
Lytle or Condit would be good as well
Mofo- May 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm
@D-man - dude, there's no such thing as math in MMA. For example at 205, everyone has beat everyone. It's like a giant circle jerk. Wait, what? No it's not.
xveg- May 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm
@RwilsonR jones has fought the following great wrestlers that i know of hamill, bader, matyushenko, jake o'brien. Hamill and Bader's wrestling is overrated in my opinion unless there against a total non-wrestler, bader was barely getting nogueira down. matyushenko doesn't really use that much wrestling and that fight was like 30seconds anyway. jones fought o'brien really well and it's very likely him vs rashad looks just like that, but watch rashad throw rampage or thiago around the ring and it looks like your watching gsp's big black brother. Again i'm not picking him to win just saying he has a better chance than anyone else.
ccman- May 31, 2011 at 11:45 am
R
ccman- May 31, 2011 at 11:43 am
@stak40. I think jones is for real as a fighter. That said yes his resume is not the stuff of legends but in truth lhw was so stacked a ton of natural 205ers changed classes because it was so deep. Now its aged too much to honestly guage it. I. Dispise shad but believe him when he says he could control jones from the top, if he can get there is the question. And honestly jones biggest ? Is if he can hold weight. He is a natural heavy but I think his high end he loses speed and can't get over 250 to deal with the real big boys. His frame at 205 will not hold. I honestly wish they would make weigh in the day of the fight. I'm sick of obvious size difference winning fights (yes I include spide)
RaginAsian- May 31, 2011 at 11:17 am
I think Story would trounce Fitch on the feet when/if their wrestling cancels each other out. But of course, Fitch isn't taking any fight but GSP or BJ, so I guess that's out of the question.

Suddenly I'm beginning to think Dana was onto something when he tried to fire Fitch for being "difficult".
jfjjfjff- May 31, 2011 at 11:17 am
i dont get all the rampage hate and the boos. i'll disclaim that i am obviously a fan of the guy, but did we not see him clearly trying to win that fight with some very impressive strikes?
 
i think the only reasonable criticism would be that he is slow to throw. is that deserving of boos?
aaronb- May 31, 2011 at 11:10 am
Both Roy Nelson and Travis Browne had highlight reel KO's of Steph Struve. I'd like to see those guys fight to establish the bottom of the top 10 hierarchy.

Browne wins and you can sell him as a legit HWY contender. Roy wins and he's the ultimate gatekeeper of people breaking into the top 10.

Roy vs Ben Rothwell 2 might also be a nice little Spike/Versus headliner as well?

Miguel Torres was absolutely robbed. Not sure where either guy goes after that fight? Might as well give Demetrious Johnson to Faber/Benevides loser and see how that goes?

Page ain't going to have an answer for Jon Jones. I'd like to see him get Shogun after, Shogun beats Forrest.

Mir is in limbo right now. Only good fight for him on the horizon is maybe JDS if he loses to Shane Carwin.
Stak40- May 31, 2011 at 11:08 am
Rwilson

Who has Jones beat that has convinced you of his immortality? Shogun who in the top 5 has he beat. LHW for a while now has been about styles and match-ups. Match-ups and injuries, in my opinion, are the main reason for the belt constantly switching hands. Not say Jones isnt the GSP/Silva of the LHW Div but i have a hard time accepting that until he has beat most of the top comp. Right now he has beat one. Shogun, on his recovery from surgery fight.
RwilsonR- May 31, 2011 at 10:57 am
I don't get how anyone is buying into this "Rashad can lay on Jones for 25 minutes" thing. We have no idea about the details. The only thing we do know is that Rashad is an average wrestler, and Jones has absolutely wrecked every other wrestlers he has faced. Greco, free-style, folk-style - he has dominated them all. Rashad stands much less of a chance than Rampage or Machida against Jones, and I don't give them much of a chance, either.
 
@ ccman - I'm with ya, man. But a healthy Shogun is a rare thing, and who knows how his body will hold up from now on. Still think Jones would beat him pretty handily, though.
Stak40- May 31, 2011 at 10:48 am
CCMAN

I agree, I don't know if Jones loses but a healthy Shogun would have made it a much different fight. At least that's what i keep telling myself. I need Jones to fight someone healthy, at the top of their game, so i can judge how good he really is. He hasn't fought anyone worth a shit except a recovering shogun.
ccman- May 31, 2011 at 10:35 am
D-man, you cant remember the fight because shogun and evans never happened. that was how Jones got his title shot. Further I really want to see Shogun HEALTHY fight Jones. I am not saying he would win, but that was a whisper of the shogun before he went down for a year. Half of why Evans is so pissed, Rua was prime to be beaten and any of the top 5-7 LHW's would have beaten him that night.
indiana- May 31, 2011 at 9:49 am
I want the 'arbitrary ratings' thing back!
D-man420- May 31, 2011 at 9:40 am
And about mir UFC really does need some strikeforce guys for him everyone else is kinda to good for him. i also like mir and don't want to see him get his ass knocked out again by top guys. I wonder who would win now brock or mir thats the only one i would want to see besides JDS and mir someone would be getting knocked out for sure. Mir and big foot would be a nice fight.
D-man420- May 31, 2011 at 9:34 am
@xveg im sorry man but anyone who thinks jones is going to lose to any of them is crazy. Jones dominated shogun and shogun dominated rashad well i can't remember the fight but shogun beat rashad with a nice knockout so how can you think rashad has a chance in hell?? Jones ground game is fucking sick. I see jones being champ at least for the next 5 years unless he gets to cocky and to flashy than makes a bit of a mistake and gets knocked out. But after watching him face shogun i only see him doing even worse to other people. Don't forget shogun is a fucking sick fighter and got is ass handed to him. Jones has the chance to be better than silver which he is already very close to being. Just needs bit more experience omg can't wait for the next victim and i hope its not rampage i like him. He was one of the first fighters i saw when i first started watching like 7 years ago. Came across the fightnetwork saw some pride stuff and never looked back. Jones champion for life will end up with longest winstreak for sure.
Paysayten- May 31, 2011 at 9:02 am
Big Country should take 1 year off to loose the gut. Afterwards Dana should grant him an immediate title shot against GSP.
rearnakedchickenchoke- May 31, 2011 at 8:55 am
I'd like to see Mir vs JDS... If JDS loses of course. The only guys who have man handled him are...the guys big enough to man handle him. JDS is not, although he can knock his head off.
xveg- May 31, 2011 at 8:52 am
rubber match angle of Mir vs Lesnar might be promotable. It will be lesnar off an injury and a familiar come back fight for him.

i'm kind of buying into the rashad has a chance of beating jones via grappling. Jones and Dana may be trying to avoid that fight for a while. put it this way rampage or lyoto have a 10% chance of beating jones and maybe rashad has a 40% chance of laying on jones for 25mins. Jones probably wins that but the odds are better for Jones against someone beside Rashad. Dana doesn't want to lose a rising star in Jones especially in a boring wrestling match. Watching Hamill flail around trying to take rampage down confirmed my suspicion that Rashad is the best mma wrestler in the lhw division aside from maybe Jones himself. Also i still don't know why Jones didn't consult all his doctors before making his decision to get out of the fight. Not that he won't win but it's a more risky fight.
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