What. A. Main. Card.
What. An. Event.
Just wow. UFC195 was the first event that I’ve live tweeted and by Jove was it beautiful. It had everything: Submissions, knockouts, back and forth wars and plenty of controversy. It was, in short, everything we love about the UFC. It had something for everyone.
Briskly sidestepping a few questionable judging decisions, it’s time to examine what the UFC matchmakers can best do to continue their best year ever for the future of the Main Card fighters.
Everything that needs to be said of Lawler and his seemingly indestructible chin and atomic hands have already been said. He has two fight of the year candidates from two title defenses and is probably the most exciting fighter in the UFC.
From a business perspective an immediate rematch makes sense. Fans want it, it would probably ensure Condit stays on the UFC roster and could main event almost any UFC card and draw millions.
I hope the UFC thoroughly consider this. Calls for the fight from fans and various media outlets seem reactionary and unfair to me. Although Condit seemed to many (myself included) it doesn’t change the fact that before the fight both Hendricks and Woodley deserved the shot more. Throw into the mix a potential GSP return and suddenly the rematch makes less sense.
That’s why I’d pick Woodley / GSP for the next fight.
Condit, on the other hand, should fight either Demian Maia or Rory MacDonald. The Maia fight might cause a little controversy as on face value it looks like a step down, but I think the BJJ ace is one fight away from a title challenge (although admittedly the same could apply to a fair few in the division).
The MacDonald fight makes a lot of sense. Both fighters are coming off super close fights with the champion, and if you can’t give a rematch to both then one of them has to earn it. No-one else in the division would merit another championship fight except each other in my opinion.
Pick: Condit – MacDonald
Winner of Werdum – Velasquez. I don’t think this requires much justification.
Sorry Overeem but you gotta either wait or fight again. The loser of the Cain-Werdum fight would be a good match-up and a big draw, especially if Cain loses.
This was a big loss for Arlovski. Not only was it an embarrassingly quick finish, it also called into question his previous wins. I wasn’t entirely convinced of Arlovski’s chances in this match as some of his fights before this can be called into question – e.g. his biggest win against Browne was slightly distorted as they regularly train together – therefore the striking match had none of the ‘feeling out’ phase.
Therefore the best match-up for me would be Junior Dos Santos. Both coming off a recent KO loss, their next fight could be booked for around the same time and a win would put them right back on track for another shot. There aren’t many fighters below them to chose from, and both men are fan favourites that everyone loves to see at the top of the division.
This was probably my second favourite fight on a card that was stacked with fantastic fights. I scored it Tumenov to win but it absolutely could have gone either way because Larkin’s leg kicks were so effective.
Still it was a hugely impressive boxing display against a very dangerous opponent. For that reason I’d match him up against former title challenger Thiago Alves, who this time last year earned an impressive KO victory against Jordan Mein before losing to Carlos Condit. This would provide the biggest challenge of Tumenov’s career and present an deserved opportunity to enter the UFC welterweight rankings.
I don’t think Larkin lost a tonne of momentum in losing this fight. He still demonstrated nasty striking capabilities and probably should be given another chance to prove his worth after looking much more dangerous in the WW division. Should he defeat Keita Nakamura, a fight against English up-and-comer Tom Breese makes sense to me.
Pick: Tom Breese
Ortega left it late to showcase a beautiful submission of a powerful striker in Brandao. Although he was outclassed on the feet in round 1, he looked a lot more comfortable coming into the second round, prompting commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg to stipulate that his game plan was to tire Brandao going into the third. Whether or not this is accurate or not is debatable. Regardless, it worked.
A ranked opponent such as Dennis Bermudez would be a fair challenge to both fighters. Bermudez is coming off two losses and should therefore justify his place in the top 15. He also has a couple of submission wins in his record so it would hopefully produce a good contest.
Brandao has never really hit the heights expected of him after his impressive TUF run and victory in the final. It’s a bit of a shame really because he remains a highly dynamic striker and has impressive BJJ skill. The winner of Makwan Amirkhani and Mike Wilkinson should provide an exciting fight that European fans would enjoy and give Brandao a rebound fight to prove he has what it takes to compete.
Trujillo looked confident in his striking and ground game in this fight and kicked off the card in great fashion but hasn’t really replicated the form he produced in his TKO win against Jamie Varner in 2014 before this fight. That being the case, I think a fight against Joe Duffy would give both fighters an opportunity to prove that they belong amongst the elite in the division. Both fighters have demonstrated impressive striking and BJJ technique so would make a fight well worth watching.
Pick: Joe Duffy
Sims looked.. less impressive. He had his moments in the fight but on the whole never really looked like he could compete. I’d favour a match up against lesser opposition looking to prove themselves in the UFC.
Pick: Julian Erosa
I hope you enjoyed my choices / analysis and, as always, feel free to agree / disagree in the comments section.