By Benjamin Bieker
Rafael Assuncao vs. TJ Dillashaw
Assuncao picked up his fourth straight win at 135, but a lot of those wins were not above the highest caliber opponents. Dillashaw has won four straight as well, but his opponents were not that high caliber as well with two of their four wins being common opponents. Being ranked number six and ten respectively in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings makes the matchup a perfect idea.
Erick Silva vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Saffiedine has lost a lot of luster since his win over Nate Marquardt, because injuries and dropping out of bouts have kept him out of the cage and fans minds. With Silva’s win over Jason High, he showed he can beat some of the better fighters coming over from Strikeforce. So, why not take on the last champion the promotion had at 170 upon his return? Silva stated he wants work his way to the title, and Saffiedine may be the next logical step.
Thiago Silva vs. James Te-Huna
Silva came through big this Saturday winning his first fight in nearly four years. It was still a weird fight with Cavalcante effectively giving up halfway through the first round. Te-Huna just lost to Glover Teixeira but had won four straight beforehand. If Silva wants to become a top ten fighter at 205 again he will have to fight someone that does not wilt three minutes into a fight.
Leonardo Santos vs. Mark Bocek
Santos wants to drop down to 155, and he will need an opponent that will not get outclassed on the ground. Bocek has proven to be a good test for Santos since he will not wilt under Santos’s ground attack, and he will be able to give him trouble on the feet. This would seem like a logical fight for the newest Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner unless they match him up with Santiago Ponzinibbio who should have been in the final but a broken hand kept him out of the finals which lead the way for Santos to win.
Antonio Nogueira vs. Josh Barnett or Mark Hunt
It is unlikely that Nogueira will retire after this loss, but it may have proven that he cannot compete at the highest level anymore. Like other fighters before him it will be hard for him to hang it up, but luckily there are still some intriguing match ups for him in the UFC. If Barnett losses to Frank Mir there is a rubber match between the two that could be very entertaining based on their first two bouts. Also, Hunt just lost a big bout against JDS, and a fight with Nogueira would be a great throwback to PRIDE days as well.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez
Werdum was promised a title shot if he beat Nogueira and coached the Ultimate Fighter opposite of him. He fulfilled both of those conditions, but it looks like he will not get what he was promised. While title shots are meaningless in the UFC now and days this is the fight that should happen. At age 35, Werdum is not getting any younger, and the longer they wait to use him as a valuable contender the less likely it will be that he is still intriguing. In contrast, JDS is only 29 while Velasquez is 30, and that means a third fight between the two could take place anytime down the road and still make sense. Why not go with what should happen first over what could happen at anytime?
What are your thoughts?