Simply put, Saturday’s second UFC on Fox event saw its fair share of ups and downs. Chris Weidman was able to score the biggest win of his career over Demian Maia on just 11 days notice (which leads us to believe that the Vegas bookies knew something about Maia the rest of the world didn’t), and both Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen managed to punch their tickets to a title shot against the men they despise the most. And though the future is set for two contenders, the fates of many still remain unsure. That’s why we are here to right the ship that misplaced NFL theme music and Jon Jones‘ “commentary” threatened to sink. So join us as we determine the best match-ups for last weekend’s biggest winners and losers.
Phil Davis: Although he started off strong (or at least held his own) in the striking department in the early going, the championship rounds saw Davis overwhelmed by “Suga’s” speed and stamina, content to throw weak, pawing jabs that were anything but wonderful. My older brother, who is by no means a huge MMA fan, summed it up best when he said, “What does he expect to accomplish with that kind of offense?” Davis undoubtedly has a bright future ahead, but needs to round out his game a little more before he takes on a top contender like Evans again. Matching him up against the resurgent Stephan Bonnar, or, depending on how he fares against Rampage Jackson, Ryan Bader would make sense. Forrest Griffin is also a big light heavyweight coming off a loss, so that could make for a great fight as well.
Michael Bisping: Let’s be honest, Bisping put on the performance of his career last Saturday night, if only because of the expectations he defied in his close decision loss to Chael Sonnen. He was able to keep the Oregonian on the defensive for the most part, and proved once and for all that he is no slouch when the fight hits the mat. We all know he’d like to erase the unanimous decision loss he suffered to Wanderlei Silva back at UFC 110, but we think a better match-up for the Brit would be someone like Mark Munoz, who was originally scheduled to face Sonnen before being forced out of the bout with a last minute injury. Both men are top of the heap contenders at 185, and pairing the two against one another would be a great way of trimming the herd.
Chris Weidman: It may not have been all that pretty, but Weidman did what needed to be done against a tough competitor in Demian Maia, who has all but fallen off the middleweight radar with Saturday’s loss. Is it too early for Weidman to face Brian Stann, given he has a full training camp to prepare for him? Probably, but booking him against the winner of the Yushin Okami/Tim Boetsch scrap would be a fair test of his skills.
Demian Maia: Rousimar Palhares. We don’t care that one is on the upward trajectory and the other blah blah blah. We NEED to see this one.
Charles Oliveira: To my knowledge, Oliveira’s calf-slicer submission of Eric Wisely was the first in UFC history, and a thing of beauty at that. But it’s really hard to gauge exactly where Oliveira stands amongst the featherweight division; with high profile (not to mention quick) losses at lightweight to Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller, we’re not exactly sold on Oliveira as a featherweight contender just yet. Pairing him up in the near future against a badass like Erik Koch, who recently withdrew from his fight with Dustin Poirier due to injury, would make for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Evan Dunham: If anything, Evan Dunham truly has a penchant for cutting up the faces of the poor saps he is put against. His two round war with Nick Lentz, of all people, showed just that, and it’s about time that Dunham started facing legit contenders at lightweight once again. Jim Miller came away unharmed from his first round submission win over Melvin Guillard, but is facing Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3 in May, so that’s a no go. How about Donald Cerrone? Both are well rounded guys who can take a shot and are looking to propel themselves into a future title shot, and this fight has all the makings of a war.