Sunday, 27 November 2011

Step Aside, Joe Silva

Lot’s of winners and lots of losers from the hangover of UFC 139, but immediately after the fights were finished I’m left wondering… ‘who’s next?’. The light heavyweights are my favourite division, so let’s start there and pretend I’m matchmaking:

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Stephan Bonnar

It’s been said that Shogun isn’t as banged up as we thought. There were fears he had a fractured skull but fortunately that isn’t the case and could return to the Octagon sooner rather than later.
After an absolute war and one of the best fights in MMA history against Dan Henderson, Shogun will be looking for a win. Obviously.
Bonnar said a few months back he wanted to fight against one of the top ten light heavyweights; here could be his chance. I’ve always rated Bonnar, never being knocked out or tapped out in his whole career is pretty impressive. Shogun is a man known for knocking people out. It all makes sense.
Bonnar seems to have relied on his wrestling in his past couple of fights and we all know Shogun has great takedown defence and loves to stand and bang. However, Bonnar is no slouch in the striking department, as everyone knows.
Grappling contest or slugfest? Let’s hope we find out.

Dan “Hendo” Henderson vs. Jon “Bones” Jones/Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida

Now, whoever is champion at this point will have a hell of a task on their hands - take out Hendo. Much easier said than done, I know, but it has been done.
Hendo’s last loss came at the hands of Jake Shields last April via unanimous decision. Not the most exciting fight, but a reality check for Hendo I’m sure. Since that loss Hendo has been knocking people out left, right and centre. Literally. His bout with Shogun last week was the first ever non-title fight to go five rounds in the UFC and what a fight it was. Could he replicate it against Jones or Machida?
Henderson believes he has the tools to beat the youngest champion ever in the UFC, Jon Jones. Rampage Jackson thought he did too. Machida though, is a very unique fighter as we all know, and how has Jones been able to prepare for him? It’ll be an interesting fight as to whether it’ll be a close contest, an absolute beat down or a snore-fest. The latter of which I very much doubt.

Rich “Ace” Franklin vs. Thiago Silva

I’m not exactly sure when Silva’s ban is over after failing his drug test last year, but Franklin’s last fight was a loss to Forrest Griffin in a fairly lacklustre affair. Thiago Silva always has exciting fights as far as I can remember and so does Franklin, usually.
This will be a good fight for both men, getting back and making a statement in the LHW division and get themselves in the mix for a title shot.
Franklin and Silva both have knockout power and underrated wrestling and ground skills. Makes ya think…

Dana White also said that Rashad Evans will want to fight when he returns from injury, before his eventual title shot. Will Rashad really want to risk another injury and a title shot? Of course he’ll risk it. He’s confident, coming off a win against Tito Ortiz and is one of the best light heavyweights in the world.

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