UFC 141 Results: 5 Fights for Ross Pearson To Take Next

Mark PareCorrespondent IIDecember 31, 2011

UFC 141 Results: 5 Fights for Ross Pearson To Take Next

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    Ross Pearson made a successful debut in the featherweight division with a unanimous decision victory over Junior Assuncao at UFC 141.

    Though the fight wasn't as exciting as it could have been, Pearson was on point, tried as much as he could in terms of what his game plan was, coming at Assuncao for the majority of the fight and earned the win.

    The former Season 9 T.U.F. winner is a great boxer and has won six of his last eight fights.

    The road to the featherweight title has just begun for Pearson, and with a couple more wins, could find his way into the top 10 of a stacked division.

    Here are five fights that Pearson could take next.

Erik Koch (13-1)

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    When it comes to Erik Koch, Pearson would have an exciting fight, one that would override what we just saw at UFC 141.

    Although Pearson wasn't all to blame for the lackluster bout, the fact that it went three rounds might be something that eats at him until his next bout.

    Koch is on a four-fight winning streak, including two "Knockout of the Night" awards for his wins against Francisco Rivera and Raphael Assuncao at WEC 52 and UFC 128, respectively.

    An injury forced him out of a fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 143, and after a win over Jonathan Brookins in September, I am sure Koch wouldn't mind attempting to go two-for-two against former T.U.F. winners.

    His ground game is excellent, holding seven submission victories, all via either a rear-naked choke, triangle choke or armbar.

    A note to finish, for those who don't know about Koch, his only loss was to current featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes at WEC 47 in March 2010.

Diego Brandao (14-7)

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    Talk about throwing a newcomer to the wolves.  A fight between a past T.U.F. winner and the latest T.U.F. winner would be a good one to watch.

    As much as Brandao is green to the UFC, he isn't green to the MMA game, having plenty of experience in his repertoire.  He has fought former UFC fighters Ronys Torres (loss), Matt Veach (loss) and Brian Foster (win) earlier in his career and tore through the latest season of T.U.F., taking out all his opponents in the first round en route to the Season 14 championship.

    Giving Pearson an exciting fight will do great things for him, and giving Brandao a fight against a UFC veteran, trying to find a new home in a new division, would be good to see.

    Brandao is explosive and could pose a threat to Pearson, and with Pearson's persistence to keep going when the fights get tough, this could be a great contest to witness.

Chan-Sung Jung (12-3)

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    Again, getting a fighter with exciting skill is something needed as characteristics for Pearson's next opponent.

    Why not go big or go home with a guy who is coming off a seven-second knockout over a former UFC featherweight title challenger—Chan-Sung Jung.

    Jung's win over Mark Hominick at UFC 140 is a huge morale booster and facing a guy like Pearson may not necessarily raise his stock but could turn out to be a great fight, if both guys come in with the mentality of just wanting to put on a great show for the crowd.

    Jung's two fights in the UFC have been clinics of what he can do in the ground game and how much power the "Korean Zombie" has in his hands.

    What more can you say, this guy would put up a huge fight against Pearson. 

    If Pearson can overcome the relentless Jung, he could score a big win and catapult himself into top-10 talks.

Diego Nunes (17-2)

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    After losing to Kenny Florian at UFC 131, Diego Nunes has come back and put on a great performance in his win over T.U.F. 5 finalist Manvel Gamburyan at UFC 141.

    Nunes brings a great stand up game to the Octagon and is one of the best featherweights in the world.

    Nunes is one of those fighters looking for a knockout and has that power—just not the best luck.  Nunes hasn't finished a fight in three years and is 6-of-8 in fights for the WEC and UFC.

    Two fighters looking for a finish, two fighters looking to make more of a statement in the featherweight division, something would have to give here as this would be another good one to watch.

Jim Hettes (10-0)

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    Hettes is the only undefeated fighter on this list and brings that classic striker vs. grappler game to the table in a possible fight with Pearson.

    Hettes holds nine submission victories in his MMA career, and his other one was a very impressive showing against Nam Phan at UFC 141, earning a unanimous decision win with two rare 30-25 scores and one 30-26 score.

    Hettes is now 2-0 in the UFC and is a young upstart in an ever growing featherweight division.

    Would this fight interest Pearson?  What about any of the other fighters listed here?  Who should fight Pearson next?

    What do you think?

     

    Mark Pare is a UFC Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.