By Benjamin Bieker
Mike Pierce vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Pierce is the most underrated fighter in the welterweight division. He currently sits at 9-3 in the UFC with his only losses coming to Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck, and Jon Fitch. A lot of people felt he beat Koscheck, the fight against Fitch came on short notice, and Hendricks was a split decision loss. With a four fight win streak, two of which came by came by stoppage, he deserves a step up in competition. Saffiedine dropped out of his fight with Lawler due to an injury, and it would seem like Pierce would be a decent fight upon his return.
Brian Melancon vs. Rick Story
Melancon picked up a huge win in his UFC debut and proved he belonged. Why should he go back and fight anybody that will not further his status as an up and comer. Story may have a few losses in his past few fights, but he is still a big name fighter that can give someone a legit fighter on their record if they beat him. Melancon may be taking to big of a step up, but with a knockout like he had last night why not just let it happen.
Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Barboza is 5-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to former WEC champion Jaime Varner. He is on the cusp of challenging the top ten of the division, but that loss to Varner has people wondering what happens when someone can put the pressure on his. Nurmagomedov is 20-0 in his career and has three finishes in his four UFC wins. This puts both fighters in essentially the same place so why not match each other up to see who comes out on top.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan
Gonzaga picked up an amazing win with his super fast knockout of Dave Herman. In his career, Gonzaga has only ever lost to title holders and title challengers outside of Brendan Schaub. Fans believe that Jordan could be the next big thing in the heavyweight division, and if he can get past Gonzaga then he may gain even more followers that truly believe he is the next big thing.
Norman Parke vs. Rustam Khabilov
Parke has picked up two wins since winning the TUF Smashes, but he has not shown the finishing ability he showed on the show and in the beginning of his career. Khabilov is 16-1 in his career with two exciting finishes in his UFC career. So, maybe a matchup with Khabilov would bring the finishing ability out of Parke, or a better fighter will take his notoriety from him.
Chris Leben vs. Rich Franklin
Both are big veterans of the UFC, have had some tough losses as of late, and may be nearing the ends of their career. Leben made some improvements in this fight be still did not look like the same fighter he once was. Even though they are coming off losses, these two fighters could still headline an FX card, and give either of them the type of fight they could finally walk away from the sport on.
Andrew Craig vs. Winner of Josh Samman vs. Uriah Hall
Outside of his loss to Ronny Markes, Craig has had a pretty good career in the UFC so far. He deserves a bigger fight but not someone that is necessarily a step up in competition but more someone on his level. The winner of the Samman and Hall fight makes sense, because while they have not proven to be any better than Craig they have a bigger name which is always good.
What are your thoughts?