UFC 143 Results: Matches to Make After Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
By defeating Nick Diaz at UFC 143, Carlos Condit may have spoiled a matchup between two of the biggest rivals in MMA. However, by denying the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter a chance to fight welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Condit earned himself the interim title and a potential fight with Canada's most successful mixed martial artist.
With their victories on Saturday, Fabricio Werdum and Renan Barao also took big steps toward competing against the titleholders in their respective divisions.
While the UFC lost one of its most promising pay-per-view draws, the fight between Diaz and St-Pierre, plenty of other exciting bouts could result from UFC 143. Let's take a look at what UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby might come up with for the winners and losers of this past weekend's event.
Dan Stittgen vs. Ricardo Funch
Unable to avoid the striking game with a former kickboxing champion, Dan Stittgen didn't have a chance to display the strongest aspect of his game in his UFC debut against Stephen Thompson.
Though the 31-year-old may never become contender material in the world's largest MMA organization, with five submission victories in nine career fights, Stittgen does possess a solid ground game that could allow him to sustain a career in the UFC.
Stittgen's next fight should come against another unproven welterweight looking to solidify a spot on the UFC's roster.
Having lost all three of his fights inside the Octagon, Ricardo Funch will be desperate for a win in his next UFC fight, which he should be given due to the fact that he took his latest fight on short notice.
A bout between Sittgen and Funch would allow the winner to show UFC fans what they are capable of for the first time. While the loser would likely be released from the organization, the winner should buy themselves a few more fights in the UFC.
Stephen Thompson vs. Erick Silva
Undefeated in six MMA fights and coming off of an incredible knockout in his UFC debut, Stephen Thompson could be one of the brightest up-and-coming welterweights in the sport.
Coming off of a controversial disqualification loss for punches to the back of Carlo Prater's head, Erick Silva probably won't be getting the fight with a proven 170-pound fighter that many have been hoping for.
In his two UFC appearances, Silva quickly finished his fights with his striking.
Against a skilled kickboxer like Thompson, Silva would likely be forced to put his ground game on display for the first time inside the Octagon. Likewise, Thompson would be facing a much tougher task than he did in his UFC debut against Dan Stittgen.
With an impressive victory over the other, the winner of a potential bout between Thompson and Silva would prove they are more than ready for a huge step up in competition in their quest to become a welterweight contender.
Michael Kuiper vs. Buddy Roberts-Sean Loeffler Loser
Coming into his UFC debut as an undefeated prospect, 22-year-old Michael Kuiper suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of Rafael Natal on Saturday.
Though the young Dutch fighter's UFC career got off to a rough start, Kuiper's well-rounded game should provide him a future in the organization.
In all likelihood, the UFC will look to match Kuiper up against another new face in the middleweight division. By setting up a bout between Kuiper and the loser of a UFC on Fuel fight between Buddy Roberts and Sean Loeffler, the UFC will ensure that one prospect will get a chance to continue growing with the promotion.
Rafael Natal vs. Chris Camozzi
After coming away without a win in his first two UFC fights, Rafael Natal has now won two straight bouts and can begin looking to make a climb in the middleweight division.
Similarly, Chris Camozzi picked up a victory in his most recent fight after having some early trouble, proving himself worthy of a UFC roster spot.
If pitted against one another, the winner of a pivotal fight between Natal and Camozzi would move one step closer to a fight with a 185-pound contender, while the loser would continue trying to fight their way off of UFC undercards.
Henry Martinez vs. Anton Kuivanen-Justin Salas Loser
While he came out on the losing end of his first UFC fight against Matt Riddle, usual lightweight Henry Martinez showed that he could have a very promising future by hanging strong with his welterweight opponent on short notice.
That being said, Martinez will need to pick up a win in the near future to remain with the UFC.
Most likely, the Greg Jackson-trained fighter will return to the 155-pound division for his next fight, which should come against another prospect coming off of a loss: a bout with the loser of a UFC on Fuel fight between promotional newcomers Anton Kuivanen and Justin Salas.
Matt Brown vs. Matt Riddle
Two fighters who have had up-and-down careers in the UFC, Matt Brown and Matt Riddle both claimed victory at UFC 143.
Though Brown's victory over Chris Cope was much more flawless than Riddle's win over Henry Martinez, the two welterweights are in a similar spot on the 170-pound division's ladder.
By matching Brown and Riddle against each other, the UFC will be able to make a determination of which fighter is more prepared to take another shot against a more highly-ranked opponent.
Alex Caceres vs. Alex Soto
Whether he deserved to win his UFC 143 fight or not, it would be hard to give Alex Caceres much credit for his performance after hurting Edwin Figueroa badly with two unintentional kicks to the groin.
In the end, referee Herb Dean's decision to deduct two points for the low blows resulted in a decision loss for Caceres.
He may truly be a better fighter than Figueroa, but, accidental or not, Caceres should be forced to take a step back in his next fight.
A fight with another talented fighter coming off of a loss, Alex Soto, would allow the UFC to promote the winner as a bright, young bantamweight looking to overcome early adversity in the organization.
Edwin Figueroa vs. Roland Delorme
Edwin Figueroa may have been awarded a victory on the scorecards on Saturday, but he certainly won't be seeing a step up in competition after his win over Alex Caceres.
Aside from a head kick that had Caceres rocked, Figueroa was dominated for the remainder of his fight at UFC 143.
A fight with Roland Delorme, a former TUF participant looking to prove himself in the UFC, could make sense for Figueroa's next appearance.
Max Holloway vs. Eric Wisely
As the youngest fighter currently competing under the UFC banner, Max Holloway will use his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 143 as a valuable learning experience.
The youngster should be groomed slowly, so a fight with another fighter who has yet to pick up their first UFC win should be next for Holloway.
A fight with veteran Eric Wisely, who is coming off of a loss to Charles Oliveira, would test Holloway while still giving the 20-year-old a good chance to taste victory inside the Octagon.
Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung
Dustin Poirier ran through Max Holloway on Saturday to remain undefeated in the UFC. However, the performance was to be expected against an unproven opponent who took the fight on short notice.
If Poirier wants to become a serious contender, he will need perform like he did at UFC 143 against a more well-known adversary.
A win in a potential fight against Chan Sung Jung would put Poirier much closer to earning a shot at the featherweight title.
Clifford Starks vs. Jared Hamman
Clifford Starks started strong in his UFC 143 fight against Ed Herman, busting up his opponent's eye with heavy right hands.
However, the former Arizona State University wrestler surprisingly gave up a takedown and was forced to submit in the second round.
Though the loss was the first of his career, Starks' inability to use his strongest asset to defend the takedown is a major concern.
A fight with Jared Hamman, another middle-of-the-pack middleweight with some holes his game, could be next for Starks.
Ed Herman vs. Aaron Simpson-Ronny Markes Winner
Ed Herman has said he would like to fight a top 10 middleweight after his win over Clifford Starks. However, "Short Fuse" simply hasn't beaten the competition necessary to warrant that type of fight at this point.
Should Aaron Simpson beat Ronny Markes at UFC on Fuel, he could set up an interesting storyline for a rematch with Herman.
In his first fight with Simpson, Herman suffered a torn ACL that led to nearly two years away from the sport. A fight with Simpson would allow Herman to come full circle and show how much he has improved since suffering that significant knee injury.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Brian Bowles
Scott Jorgensen and Brian Bowles are two of the top bantamweights in the world. However, both fighters have fallen out of contention for the title due to recent losses.
Until the division's landscape changes, both fighters should simply take the biggest fights available to them.
Supposing neither fighter is considering a move to a different division, a bout between Jorgensen and Bowles would be a fan-friendly fight that would keep the winner relevant in the 135-pound division.
Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber Winner
A dominant victory over Scott Jorgensen leaves few options remaining for Renan Barao. Undefeated in his past 28 fights, Barao is more than deserving of a fight with the winner of an upcoming championship bout between champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
If the UFC is willing to put Barao on the shelf for the time being. He could produce an extremely exciting title fight with either Cruz or Faber and has the ability to become champion against either potential opponent.
Mike Pierce vs. Rick Story
For the third time in his career, Mike Pierce came just short of defeating an elite welterweight wrestler to join the ranks of the 170-pound contenders.
Since a case could be made that Pierce did enough to defeat Josh Koscheck at UFC 143, expect the Team Quest product to return to the Octagon against another well-known welterweight in his next appearance.
A bout with Rick Story, another borderline contender who lost his most recent fight, would allow Pierce the chance to finally earn his spot as a serious candidate to compete for a UFC title sometime in the future.
Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione
Toughness can only take a fighter so far.
Roy Nelson has recently gone the distance with Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Frank Mir, but that doesn't mean he is anywhere near being able to beat those elite heavyweights.
With losses in three of his past four fights, it's time for Nelson to take a step back. A bout with Matt Mitrione would draw interest from TUF fans, as an inexperienced Mitrione would have actually met Nelson on the reality series had he avoided a submission by James McSweeney.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Frank Mir
Fabricio Werdum may be one fight removed from an embarrassing performance against Alistair Overeem, but the Brazilian performed as well as anyone has against Roy Nelson at UFC 143.
With his only losses since April 2007 coming against the world's two best heavyweights, Junior dos Santos and Overeem, Werdum should be put in a position to contend for the UFC heavyweight belt.
A bout between Werdum and Frank Mir would be an interesting matchup between dangerous submission specialists, with the winner potentially earning a title shot against the victor of a title fight between dos Santos and Overeem.
Nick Diaz vs. Josh Koscheck
Nick Diaz may have threatened to retire following a controversial loss to Carlos Condit, but few believe we have seen the last of the polarizing welterweight.
Should Diaz be convinced to reconsider his decision on retirement, a bout with Josh Koscheck could lead to some unparalleled pre-fight trash talk.
Not to mention, the winner of that possible matchup could put themselves in position to earn a welterweight title fight.
Carlos Condit vs. Georges St-Pierre
Some may say nine months is far too long for interim champion Carlos Condit to wait for Georges St-Pierre to return for a title-merging fight.
However, it will take all the preparation in the world for Condit to become the first fighter to defeat St-Pierre since April 2007.
Likely going to be without head trainer Greg Jackson, Condit should take all the time he needs to put his training camp together and prepare for the biggest fight of his life for the second consecutive fight.