UFC Matchmaking Update: Henderson vs. Machida, Belfort vs. Bisping, and More

By David McKinney
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has had a busy day, as several spots were filled on upcoming UFC cards. Now Silva can take a break from MMA matchmaking and have himself a little turkey over the holiday weekend.

First up, heavyweight Todd Duffee will return to the UFC for the first time since 2010, as he will take on Phil De Fries at UFC 155 as a replacement for Matt Mitrione. Mitrione will step in for the injured Shane Carwin to take on Roy Nelson at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale on Dec. 15. Whew…catch your breath.

Duffee, who was 1-1 in his first UFC stint, is also 1-1 since his last UFC appearance. He was the victim of a 19-second knockout loss to Alistair Overeem at the annual Japan New Year’s Eve card in 2010, but then returned in April to earn his own 34-second TKO over Neil Grove at Super Fight League 2 in India.

Duffee had a ton of pressure on him after delivering a UFC-record seven-second knockout in his promotional debut, but he was then cut after an embarrassing comeback knockout loss after dominating Mike Russow in two rounds. Although the book is probably out on his chances as a contender in the UFC, you’re still almost guaranteed some sort of craziness each time Duffee steps in the cage. Good replacement.

Also at UFC 155, Constantinos Philippou will step in for an injured Chris Weidman to take on Tim Boetsch on the UFC’s end of the year card on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas. While it’s a tough break for the surging Weidman, Philippou gets a lucky break by getting another fight just over a month after his bout against Nick Ring was canceled on fight day when Ring fell ill at this past weekend’s UFC 154.

Starting into the New Year, the UFC will make its return to Brazil, as UFC on FX 7 is set to take place in Sao Paulo with a headliner between middleweight contenders Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping. This is an intriguing matchup and it’s also a decent card that features Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell in heavyweight action.

Welterweights in desperate need of a win will square off on Super Bowl weekend, as Jay Hieron takes on Erick Silva at UFC 156 on Feb. 2 in Las Vegas. While a featherweight bout between champ Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar being the entree here, Hieron-Silva could be a decent side dish, as both fighters with clashing styles. Hieron gets most of his wins with wrestling, while Silva showed in his last fight against Jon Fitch that his wrestling game leaves a lot to be desired.

After getting passed up for a light heavyweight title shot in favor of Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson will return to the cage against Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 in Anaheim on Feb. 23. This will likely be one of the top two fights on the bill, and the winner is all but guaranteed the next shot at whoever the light heavyweight champion is heading into the summer.

Let me know your opinion on all of these matchups and any MMA topics on Twitter @MMAMcKinney.

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