Top 5 UFC Fights To Make In The Wake of Fight Night 33
Why these are the best 5 matchups to make after UFC Fight Night 33
It proved to be quite a night of action at UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia. The prelims produced a tremendous debut by a hard-hitting welterweight prospect and a highly entertaining, punch-filled bantamweight clash. The main card saw a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter stay relevant, a true MMA legend was able to resurrect his faltering career with a devastating knockout and we witnessed an incredible heavyweight main event. There were definitely fighters who raised their stocks while others like popular fan-favorite Pat Barry are left to wonder whether they have a future in the promotion after difficult nights.
The UFC has a tremendous final month in store for fight fans with what should be a solid night of action upcoming in Sacramento at UFC on FOX 9, and, of course, the highly-anticipated year-end finale at UFC 168. However, it’s safe to say that fans were pleasantly surprised by the action that was delivered in Brisbane before a crowd that got to witness a truly epic main event.
As I like to do after major events with the UFC, I will put on my matchmakers' hat and take a look at some of the key matchups to make in the wake of Fight Night 33. The year has produced some terrific fights in the Octagon and I believe that these matchups are the Top-5 Fights that should be put together in the aftermath of an exciting night of action in Brisbane.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.
5. Soa Palelei vs. Brendan Schaub
Palelei made up for a poor effort at UFC 164 despite a victory over Nikita Krylov, by blitzing fan-favorite Pat Barry in the first round at Fight Night 33. It was clearly an emotional victory for “The Hulk,” who improved to 2-0 in his second stint with the promotion. He’s reeled off 10-straight wins and all 20 of his career victories have come by either knockout or submission. Schaub has looked impressive in securing back-to-back wins inside the Octagon including recording the first submission victory of his career against Matt Mitrione. He’s tremendously athletic and has power with seven knockouts in his 10 career wins. However, Schaub's chin has been called into question as he has been knocked out in all three of his career losses.
4. Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera
Mizugaki registered a thrilling decision victory over Nam Phan in the prelim portion of the card. Mizugaki maintained his top-10 standing in the 135-pound weight class and continued his trend of being involved in exciting fights. His boxing style and high volume output would be a great test for the hard-hitting Rivera. The latter, for his part, has been on quite a roll in the bantamweight division showing off some serious finishing ability. He most recently destroyed George Roop at Fight for the Troops 3 and is ready for top-10 opposition.
3. Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Bader picked up a much-needed victory over Anthony Perosh to avoid falling any further down the ladder in the light-heavyweight division. He looked impressive in battering Perosh and no doubt would relish an opportunity to test himself against top-flight competition. Cavalcante is a former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion with tremendous power and finishing ability. After losing his first fight in the UFC, he rebounded in impressive fashion with a first round knockout of Igor Pokrajac at Fight Night 32. A meeting of these two powerful punchers would have fireworks written all over it.
2. Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson 2
“Shogun” put all of the retirement talk to rest by ending a two-fight slide with a crushing KO of James Te Huna. A tremendously timed left-hook ended the contest just 63 seconds into the fight. Rua seems to be willing to stay at 205 pounds for now, but there has been plenty of speculation about a possible move down to middleweight. I think most fans would welcome the chance to see two MMA legends tangle one more time. Rua and Henderson met in an all-time epic battle at UFC 139 with “Hendo” securing the decision win in the 2011 Fight of the Year. There is a big caveat, though, in putting this fight together as Henderson still has to come to terms on a new UFC contract. That’s no guarantee. He’s lost three-straight fights, including a most-recent knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, but keep in mind his losses to Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida were both by split decision. Rua vs. Henderson 2.0 could potentially bring out the best in both fierce competitors one more time.
1. Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt 2
These two heavyweights truly delivered one of the most thrilling and bloodiest heavyweight fights in UFC history. That isn’t being over-dramatic as their contest, which ended in a five-round majority draw, had everything you could have asked for. Both men showed incredible resolve and their chins were thoroughly tested by the ferocious exchanges. Neither deserved to lose in Brisbane, so the draw is one of those rare times where you didn’t feel cheated after the result was announced. They both raised their stocks considerably with the epic clash and deserve a resolution and should therefore do it again.