Top 5 Fights to Make After UFC 165
UFC 165: Matches to Make
The fans got more out of UFC 165 than they bargained for, especially when it came down to the main event. Going into the event, there were complaints about the lack of advertising for the pay-per-view. As to the actual fight, many people didn't give Alexander Gustafsson much of a chance to beat Jon Jones for the light heavyweight strap.
The Mauler proved each of those individuals wrong after he pressured the champ for all five rounds of the title fight. At times, Gustafsson looked poised to take the title away from Jones. His strikes were accurate and his ability to trip Jones up was fluent. In many people’s eyes, Gustafsson should have woke up Sunday morning as the new champ.
The individuals actually scoring the fight from ringside saw the fight a little different. The fact is, throughout the war, Jones still showed the world he was the champ. Despite facing the toughest fighter the UFC could offer, he walked out of the octagon as the light heavyweight champion.
Renan Barao also walked out of the Air Canada Centre as champion after what was a surprisingly close battle with Eddie Wineland. Barao finished the fight early in the second round with a flashy spinning back kick and follow up punches. Until that point, Wineland made the fight look interesting.
Jones and Barao have only a select few fighters who could present a challenge as Gustafsson and Wineland did, but there are some opinions out there. The same goes for the other main card winners on the night. So here are the top-five best fights the UFC can make following UFC 165:
5. Stipe Miocic vs Brendan Schaub
Brendan Schaub increased his record to 10-3 after submitting Matt Mitrione. He showed many people that he can be just as dangerous on the ground as he is standing up. The submission was Schaub's first inside the UFC. In all of his previous fights, he was content with standing and trading blows with his opponents and either knocked them out or was on the receiving end of one.
Now on a two-fight win streak, Schaub could be inching his way back to relativity, as he was between March 2010 and March 2011. During that time span, he won four in a row against the likes of Mirko Filipovic and Gabriel Gonzaga.
For his next opponent, the UFC should pair him with Stipe Miocic. Some may argue Miocic is to far up the pecking order to pair with Schaub. The fact is Miocic is still honing his skills, as shown in his recent victory over the slower Roy Nelson. The fight would pair two of the more athletic fighters in the division together.
It would also allow Miocic to fight an opponent who would be in on the same level of athleticism as himself. The winner would definitely increase their stock inside the heavyweight division.
4. Yushin Okami vs Francis Carmont
It may not have been the prettiest fight anyone has ever seen, but Francis Carmont played it smart against Constantinos Philippou. Knowing Philippou has great angles and striking skills, Carmont took him down to the ground and beat him up for all three rounds of the fight.
Now 6-0 in the UFC, Carmont has slowly proved he can be a contender in the middleweight division. The only problem for Carmont is the lack of quality fighters he has fought on his ascension. Besides Philippou, the only name that stands out is Lorenz Larkin, whose lone defeat came at the hands of Carmont. It is now time for the Frenchman to show his worth. His next battle should come against well-known gatekeeper Yushin Okami.
Okami is coming off a knockout loss to Ronaldo Souza. Despite the loss, he has won three of his last five fights and six of his last 10. Throughout his history in the UFC, Okami has proved to be the fighter the UFC goes to so they can judge up-and-coming talent.
This would be a great opportunity for the UFC to test Carmont's 6-0 record inside the UFC. If he wins, let Carmont try out some top-10 talent. If he loses, send him back down the ladder.
3. Urijah Faber vs Renan Barao
Renan Barao once again proved why he should be considered the legitimate bantamweight champion when he beat Eddie Wineland using a flashy spinning kick. Barao has looked great in each of his title fights. To claim he is just an interim-champ is absurd.
To continue to send him ill-prepared contenders will only hurt the UFC. Michael McDonald was at least several months away from being ready for Barao's skill set, Eddie Wineland didn't own the talent to beat Barao and Raphael Assuncao needs one more good fight before he would be ready to take on the champ.
The only logical opponent for Barao next would be Dominick Cruz, but his status is shaky. The UFC should do a rematch with Urijah Faber (insert boos here).
Faber will be fighting McDonald at UFC on Fox 9 in December. If he walks away with the victory, he should receive another crack at Barao. Despite what many people say about Faber, he deserves another title shot. Since coming over to the UFC, he has only lost to Cruz and Barao and neither by finish. If he gets past McDonald and Cruz is not healthy, give him his third shot at the title.
2. Phil Davis vs Alexander Gustafsson
Talk about a tough break. Alexander Gustafsson went into UFC 165 against the champ, executed his game plan perfectly and still walked out of the octagon on the wrong end of the judges' scorecards. Gustafsson doesn't move far (if at all) in the light heavyweight rankings after his fight with Jon Jones. He proved that another crack at the champion could be within reach if he strings together a couple of wins in what has become a shallow pool of contenders.
Out of all the opponents Jones has fought, Gustafsson has by far been the most challenging. He was ruthless in the fight and kept the talented Jones at bay throughout. He has nothing to be ashamed of in defeat.
Gustafsson deserves a shot at redemption against the only other person who has defeated him, Phil Davis. Both men are different fighters since their first encounter. Davis is in line for a title shot and Gustaffson just fought the champion in a hard fought war.
It would be an interesting fight and would bring in numbers as a co-main event on a pay-per-view card or as a headliner for a televised event. Would be interesting to see if Gustafsson could stop Davis' takedowns. After watching the Jones fight, the answer is probably yes.
1. Glover Teixeira vs Jon Jones
For the first time in a long time, Jon Jones looked vulnerable when he fought Alexander Gustafsson. At times it looked like the decision may go the other way. Jones was able to dig deep and show his heart. It was enough to sway the judges in his favor.
Now he must fight the man many believe will be able to one up the champ and take his belt. Glover Teixeira earned his title shot by knocking out Ryan Bader. Dana White announced the fight would take place at a future card.
Teixeira didn't look his best during his encounter with Bader. At one point, Bader was nailing Teixeira would combinations while he was against the fence. It wasn't enough to win, but if Bader did anything it was show Teixeira can be hit with punches.
The fight between Jones and Teixeira could be interesting. Then again Jones could stop all the hype surrounding their encounter with one elbow to the face.