Top 5 Fights To Make In The Wake Of UFC On FOX 10
Why these five matchups are ones to make after UFC on FOX 10
The UFC’s latest offering from Chicago provided fans with a little bit of everything. UFC on FOX 10 saw brutal knockouts, a slick submission and plenty of debate sparked by a razor-thin decision in a very close main event between two of the organization’s best lightweights. Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson spoiled Josh Thomson’s bid to get a title shot against Anthony Pettis by getting a split-decision verdict in a five-round fight that could've gone either way. It was a much needed win for “Smooth” after his loss to Pettis at UFC 164, and firmly puts him back in the title mix. “The Punk” suffered a serious blow with the loss as he was on deck to face the champ if he had emerged with the victory. He turned in a brave effort despite sustaining a broken thumb early in the bout.
Other highlights included Donald Cerrone continuing to be a bonus machine inside the Octagon as he delivered a brutal head kick KO of Brazilian Adriano Martins. “Cowboy”, who secured the Knockout of the Night bonus with the effort, is hoping to fight a remarkable six times this year. A second straight impressive performance should get him another high-profile bout in relatively short order.
Jeremy Stephens continued to show that dropping down to the 145-pound division was a wise career move as he turned in a strong performance in besting top-10 featherweight Darren Elkins. Stipe Miocic continues to be one to watch in the heavyweight ranks as he halted Gabriel Gonzaga’s late-career surge with a unanimous decision victory.
There were also noteworthy performances in some of the preliminary contests. Former bantamweight title challenger Eddie Wineland responded from his loss to Renan Barao by taking it out on Yves Jabouin with a second round stoppage, while Alex Caceres derailed the Sergio Pettis hype machine by submitting “The Phenom” in the final round of an exciting bout that produced the Fight and Submission of the Night bonuses. It was the first career loss for the younger brother of the current lightweight champion.
As I like to do after major UFC events, I will put on the matchmaker's hat and propose the top five Fights that I would like to see made moving forward.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports
5. Stipe Miocic vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Miocic made it back-to-back victories with a clinical boxing performance against Gonzaga. He was ranked no. 8 heading in, and it’s time to up the level of competition to see whether he’s indeed a legitimate title threat or not. While “Big Nog” has had his share of injury issues, he’s targeting a return to action in May and would still represent a major test for Miocic. This matchup would likely produce a stand-up battle two fighters who have shown a reliance on solid striking games in their respective careers.
4. Jeremy Stephens vs. Dustin Poirier
Stephens is proving to be a force at 145 pounds as he reeled off a third straight win in besting the tremendously tough Elkins. Only his opponent's ability to absorb punishment denied Stephens another knockout victory. Poirier is fresh off an impressive knockout of Diego Brandao at UFC 168 and has turned in back-to-back solid efforts after a loss to Cub Swanson. “The Diamond” would stack up as another stiff test for the surging Stephens.
3. Eddie Wineland vs. Michael McDonald
Wineland showed that he remains a legitimate top-five bantamweight by finishing Jabouin. He’s hoping to work his way back into title contention as quickly as possible after a failed effort at UFC 165, and a matchup against McDonald would have the makings of a tremendous tilt. The 23-year old McDonald is in bounce-back mode after being submitted by Urijah Faber in the second round of their battle last month at UFC on FOX 9. There’s no shame in a loss to the red-hot Faber, and McDonald still sits with a no. 2 ranking in the 135-pound division. Both men have tremendous power and this fight would not only be a meaningful one, but would also produce plenty of fireworks.
2. Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza
Cerrone continued to impress with his brutal finish of Martins and has his sights firmly set on a title shot down the road. He’s been a top-10 fixture for some time and a fight against the exciting Brazilian, who is currently riding a three-fight win streak, would have the makings of an exciting fight. When you add to the mix the fact that Barboza recently mentioned Cerrone as a fighter that he’d like to face next, you would also have a matchup that would likely have an edge to it.
1. Benson Henderson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
The former champ is looking to get his belt back and while it was a win against a very good opponent in Thomson, there was a hint of controversy to the decision. It was clearly a 3-2 fight either way, but the 4-1 verdict in Henderson’s favour is the one that produced the uproar. Needing at least another win to get back in the title picture, a victory over “The Eagle” would be just the remedy Henderson needs for the organization and fans to take notice. Meantime, the unbeaten Russian would definitely strengthen his case for a title shot if he could add a former UFC champion to his list of victims. While UFC President Dana White has said no one wants to fight Nurmagomedov, Henderson has shown a willingness to take on all comers during his career. It would have the makings of a high-stakes collision between two of the most physically imposing fighters in the weight class.