Last Saturday at the United Center in Chicago the UFC held its sixth iteration of the UFC on FOX. The fight card featured exciting finishes, Bas Rutten liver kicks and grueling ground and pound. Moving forward we’ll take a look at the main card winners and who they should challenge next.
As Big John would say, “Let’s get it on!”
Ricardo Lamas – Lamas made former No. 1 contender Erik Koch look like a TUF tryout victim. Since moving down to featherweight, Lamas is on a four-fight win streak and after his domination of Koch on Saturday night it’s time Lamas gains traction as a legitimate title contender.
When reviewing the featherweight landscape there’s only a few top 10 contenders available for Lamas to fight. Swanson, who Lamas already defeated by submission, is booked and Silver is sidelined with injury. There’s only one top featherweight available for Lamas to fight — Jung Chan-Sung.
Desired matchup No. 1: Lamas vs. Korean Zombie
Anthony Pettis – Wow! It took “Showtime” 2 minutes, 35 seconds, of the first round to finish opponent Donald Cerrone by TKO (liver kick). I’m not going to sugarcoat my analysis of Pettis. He looked crisp, efficient and deadly. His performance prompted UFC President Dana White to tweet this after his fight: “PETTIS = AMAZING. OK I’m sold”
Immediately following the UFC on FOX 6 event White confirmed that Pettis would be next in line for a shot at the lightweight title. Pettis will fight the winner of UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. The two champions will face off at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Desired matchup No. 2: Pettis vs. Henderson/Melendez
Glover Teixeira – It’s important to remember that Rampage has an excellent chin and is very difficult to finish, period. Teixeira looked like a seasoned veteran on Saturday night beating Jackson by unanimous decision. In my view, Teixeira won all three rounds, but the judges scored the fight 30×27, 30×27, 29×28. I have no idea what the “third” judge was watching, but clearly he/she had some form of sympathy for the overmatched Jackson.
If the UFC thought finding an opponent for Teixeira was difficult before, it’s going to be near impossible now. If Glover wants to be a legitimate contender in the light heavyweight division, he’ll need to fight against a dominate wrestler. Rashad Evans is the first light heavyweight that comes to mind and if Evans can defeat Nogueira at UFC 156, then that’s the match the promotion should put together.
Desired matchup No. 3: Teixeira vs. Rashad Evans
Demetrious Johnson – In his first title defense (and first flyweight title defense period) Johnson looked like he suffers from Frankie Edgar syndrome. The flyweight champion has cardio for decades, incredible speed and phenomenal technical skill, but on Saturday night Dodson’s power created a problem for the champ in the first two rounds.
Even though Mighty Mouse came out slow in those first two rounds, he finished strong in the last three. Fortunately for Johnson, the judges saw it that way as well and he beat John Dodson via unanimous decision.
As the champion of a division that has very little depth, Johnson will see a revolving door of familiar faces as No. 1 contender. This time the winner of Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall will be crowned the No. 1 flyweight and have a shot at the champion, again. Benavidez and McCall are both victims of Johnson’s win record.
Desired matchup No. 4: Johnson vs. Benavidez/McCall
I’m not going to say I’m Joe Silva but I probably should be (yes I know that’s extremely presumptuous). Either way we’ll have to wait and see if my matchmaking fantasies become our reality.
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.