Top 5 Future Fights To Make After UFC 167
Why these 5 matchups are ones to make in the wake of UFC 167
The UFC’s 20-year anniversary event in Las Vegas sure had people talking. There was a little bit of everything at UFC 167. The card featured some explosive knockouts, decisive finishes, an impressive submission by a veteran who is pondering a change in weight class, and of course the controversy stemming from what seemed like an implausible decision that allowed Georges St. Pierre to hang onto his title and survive a formidable challenge from Johny Hendricks. St.Pierre added to the strange conclusion to the evening by talking about a need to step away for a while. We will see about that as GSP has always been identified by UFC president Dana White as the PPV king for the organization. St. Pierre might need a break, but you get the impression that he’s not quite ready to hang up the gloves just yet.
The event saw some proven veterans reestablish themselves as major threats as the stock of others took serious hits, and there was plenty of drama. Robbie Lawler’s move to the welterweight division continues to look like a terrific one. The hard-hitting veteran seems to have a new sense of maturity in his second stint with the organization. Tyron Woodley turned in the type of bounce-back performance he needed in finishing Josh Koscheck in devastating fashion. Rashad Evans seems rejuvenated thanks to back-to-back wins. He put aside his friendship with Chael Sonnen and dominated “The American Gangster.”
It was unfortunate that a special occasion ended on a sour note, St. Pierre did establish a new standard for most victories in the Octagon with the 19th of his career. Whether you disagreed or not with the decision that denied Hendricks the gold, hopefully people will drop the theory about St. Pierre not being able to take a punch. He took several heavy blows from a hard-puncher in Hendricks and while bloodied and battered, he survived -- and did enough to win in the eyes of the judges. For Hendricks, it was a terrific performance that seemingly deserved a better result.
With a thrilling night of fights in the books, I will now take a look at the top 5 future fights for UFC matchmakers to make in the wake of UFC 167.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports
5. Ali Bagautinov vs. John Lineker
The Russian Combat Sambo practitioner improved to 2-0 in the Octagon with a hard-fought decision win over Tim Elliott. Bagautinov showcased his precise striking while Elliott showed off an impressive chin. “Puncher” vs. “Hands of Stone” would be as explosive a fight as you can make in the flyweight division.
4. Tyron Woodley vs. Hector Lombard
“The Chosen One” put on a spectacular display against Josh Koscheck in registering a brutal knockout. Lombard looked terrific in his welterweight debut when he dismantled Nate Marquardt at UFC 166. With the tremendous power that both men possess, this matchup would have tremendous potential for a highlight-reel finish.
3. Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown/Carlos Condit winner
Lawler has made quite an impression at 170 pounds in the UFC with three straight victories. It was a solid all-around effort from “Ruthless” in getting past a dangerous opponent in Rory MacDonald. With a victory over the previously no. 3 ranked welterweight, Lawler is poised for another major fight and is closing in on a title shot if he keeps the positive momentum rolling.
Brown and Condit will meet in a highly-anticipated matchup next month. The pair both have aggressive styles, which would make a future matchup against the hard-hitting Lawler a terrific clash for the winner.
2. Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Cormier
Evans has talked about feeling rejuvenated, and the former light heavyweight champion looked outstanding in a dominant first-round stoppage of Chael Sonnen. Evans was in tip-top shape for the fight and possesses terrific athleticism, speed and power. Cormier is making the move down to the light heavyweight ranks after defeating Roy Nelson in a heavyweight clash at UFC 166. Cormier is unbeaten and intends to make some noise in the 205-pound division. A matchup against Evans would have the makings for an outstanding and very meaningful bout.
1. Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks 2
St. Pierre defended his title for a ninth time during his second stint as UFC welterweight champion by registering a razor-thin split decision win over Hendricks at UFC 167. Most observers seemed to believe that the challenger had done enough to wrest the gold away from the champion, but the judges begged to differ. With the controversy generated, there’s no doubt that it’s a fight that has to be made again. UFC President Dana White is on board for Hendricks receiving an immediate rematch -- we will wait to see what the champion’s plans are moving forward.