Top 5 Fights To Make In The Wake Of UFC Fight Night 36

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Top 5 potential UFC matchups to explore after Fight Night 36

Lyoto Machida
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

A pivotal night of fights in Brazil for the UFC’s middleweight division is in the books and Fight Night 36 saw two fighters emerge as front runners for future title shots. Former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida continued his career resurgence in the 185-pound weight class with a second consecutive strong performance against Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi failed to slay “The Dragon” in his second Octagon appearance and was simply outgunned by the Brazilian veteran.

Machida is likely sitting at the head of the class when it comes to the next middleweight title opportunity after Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort square off in their title fight in May. Machida’s dominant decision win over Mousasi was a solid follow-up to his middleweight debut when he knocked out top-10 contender Mark Munoz. While the effort against Mousasi didn’t produce the explosive finish that his fight against Munoz did, it was still a solid win against a dangerous opponent.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza continued his winning ways by defeating Francis Carmont by unanimous decision. Souza has now reeled off 6 straight wins although this was the first bout during that stretch where he had to go to the judges' scorecards. “Jacare” is now 3-0 inside the Octagon and there’s no doubt that his strong overall game poses a formidable challenge for any fighter in the division.

There were also a couple of key bounce-back performances on the card from a couple of highly touted prospects. Charles Oliveira looked sharp in submitting Andy Ogle in the third and final round to end a two-fight losing skid and earn a Performance of the Night bonus. Meanwhile, after suffering a devastating knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim, Erick Silva turned in an impressive performance and got back into the win column by blasting out Takenori Sato in just 52 seconds. Fans were also treated to an entertaining bantamweight clash between Yuri Alcantara and Wilson Reis.

As we like to do after each major UFC event, we will put on the matchmaker’s hat and examine the Top 5 fights we’d like to see in the wake of Fight Night 36.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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5. Yuri Alcantara vs. Alex Caceres

Yuri Alcantara
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Alcantara was able to survive a stiff challenge against Reis at Fight Night 36 and emerge with the split decision verdict. He has been in against the best in the division, facing the likes of Urijah Faber and would likely make for an attractive fight against Caceres. Caceres is fresh off of an impressive submission win over the previously unbeaten Sergio Pettis at UFC on FOX 10. In that contest, “Bruce Leeroy” secured both Fight and Submission of the Night bonuses.

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4. Charles Oliveira vs. Dennis Siver

Charles Oliveira
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Oliveira was able to get his career back on track by finishing Andy Ogle in front of his partisan Brazilian fans. He’s secured a number of Fight Night bonuses including one of the first Performance of the Night bonuses under the UFC banner at Fight Night 36. A matchup against the ultra-tough seventh-ranked Siver would be another solid test in the progression of “Do Bronx.” Siver is fresh off of a decision victory over Manny Gamburyan at UFC 168 and is one of the toughest 145-pound tests in the promotion.

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3. Erick Silva vs. Brandon Thatch

Erick Silva
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

This fight would fall under the category of "one prospect might be permanently damaged." However, on the excitement scale there simply would not be many more appealing matchups of 170-pound prospects than this one. Silva rebounded nicely from a KO loss in his last fight with a blistering stoppage of Sato at Fight Night 36. Meanwhile, Thatch is 2-0 in the Octagon and is fresh off of yet another destructive finish as he stopped veteran Paulo Thiago in the opening round at Fight Night 32.

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2. Ronaldo Souza vs. Michael Bisping/Tim Kennedy winner

Ronaldo Souza
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Souza’s win over Carmont moved him closer to title contention. The talented Brazilian is a tough out for any 185-pound competitor, and a fight against the winner of the April 16 matchup between the talented and highly confident Bisping and the rugged Kennedy would seem like a logical bout to make. Bisping would be the more attractive matchup of the two because of his marketability and his skills at selling a fight. Souza has a past history with Kennedy, having defeated him by decision to win the middleweight title back in their Strikeforce days.

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1. Lyoto Machida vs. Chris Weidman/Vitor Belfort winner

Lyoto Machida
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Machida is being rightly fast-tracked to the top of the line based on a former title reign as a light-heavyweight and his career rejuvenation in the 185-pound division. Machida against the winner of the May 24 matchup between the unbeaten Weidman and the red-hot veteran Belfort would be an automatically marquee matchup. Hopefully a foot injury to “The Dragon” suffered in the victory against Mousasi won’t hold up those plans.