With his second career victory over Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva may have laid to rest one of the great rivalries in MMA history. After being taken down and controlled in the opening round, the middleweight champion was able to stuff Sonnen's takedown attempts early in the second frame before finishing his antagonist with a series of lightning-fast strikes.
With his victory at UFC 148, Silva has defended his 185-pound title in 10 consecutive attempts and continues to solidify himself as the greatest fighter the sport has ever seen. With a number of important middleweight bouts on the horizon, it's difficult to predict who will become the next challenger for Silva.
With that being said, let's take a look at who the top candidates are to meet Silva and the remainder of Saturday night's competitors.
Both in desperate need of a win heading into UFC 148, Shane Roller and Rafaello Oliveira utilized their grappling to best respective opponents John Alessio and Yoislandy Izquierdo. With their victories, Roller and Oliveira have ensured themselves job security for at least a couple more fights inside the Octagon.
While they showed off solid ground games on Saturday night, Roller and Oliveira could use some improvement in their striking. A bout with a fellow striker could force both competitors to step up their stand-up training.
A bout between Roller and Oliveira would would determine which fighter could be ready to take a step back up in competition, while it would send the loser back into a position where they would be fighting for their spot on the UFC roster.
Gleison Tibau's loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov may have been controversial, but the Brazilian learned a valuable lesson that he'll need to be more aggressive in the future in order to take the outcomes of his fights out of the hands of the judges.
Although he did a nice job stuffing Nurmagomedov's takedown attempts, Tibau could have attacked more on his feet.
Against another grappler in Fabricio Camoes, who also lost at UFC 148, Tibau would have a chance to redeem himself against an opponent who would come at him with a similar style.
Against Fabricio Camoes, Melvin Guillard was expected to put together a more dominant performance on Saturday night. However, Guillard did do enough to pick up a win and end a two-fight losing streak that knocked him out of title contention in the lightweight division for the time being.
Now, Guillard can look to climb back toward the top of the 155-pound ladder, but he could probably use one more win before being thrown back into the cage with one of the division's elite fighters. A bout with the equally aggressive Khabib Nurmagomedov could bring the best out of Guillard, while it would test the young Russian's skills against another borderline contender.
At UFC 148, Ivan Menjivar's three-fight winning streak came to an end against Mike Easton. With the decision loss, Menjivar's hopes of earning a title shot in the near future have also disappeared.
Now, Menjivar will have to take a step back and meet another bantamweight who is coming off a loss. The loser of a UFC on Fuel TV 4 bout between T.J. Dillashaw and Vaughan Lee would be able to give Menjivar a tough fight while also affording the Tristar Gym member a chance to bounce back.
On Saturday, Mike Easton picked up a second straight hard-fought decision victory, which puts him one step closer to a bantamweight title shot. While his win over Ivan Menjivar is probably his biggest to date, Easton has quickly become a popular 135-pound fighter and could be quickly pushed to the front of the line for a championship bout.
Coming off of a win in a pay-per-view fight, Easton is ready for a UFC veteran near the top of the division. A convincing win over an opponent like Eddie Wineland, who recently knocked out Scott Jorgensen, could be just what Easton needs to earn himself a chance to win a title.
Heading into his bout with Chad Mendes, his debut at featherweight, Cody McKenzie was not given much of a chance to pick up a win. As it turned out, McKenzie was utterly overmatched against the former top 145-pound contender and suffered a first-round knockout at UFC 148.
Until he proves otherwise, McKenzie is currently one of the bottom dwellers in the featherweight division and will need to work his way up the ladder slowly. That being said, he's a popular fighter and will probably be given a fairly well-known opponent in his next bout.
A matchup against The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil runner-up Godofredo Pepey could make sense.
He might not have beaten a top-notch opponent on Saturday night, but Chad Mendes' knockout of Cody McKenzie showed that the Team Alpha Male featherweight remains one of the most skilled fighters in the 145-pound division.
As such, Mendes should return to competing against the best in the world. Against Ricardo Lamas, who recently defeated highly ranked Hatsu Hioki, Mendes could serve as a test to see how close the Brazilian is to being ready for a title shot.
An unfortunate injury led to a loss for Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148, but his inability to defend a Demian Maia takedown would have likely led to a poor performance anyway. An important piece to the UFC's expansion into Asia, Kim has lost two of his past three fights and needs to get back on track to help the organization and himself.
Look for the UFC brass to give Kim a significant step back in competition for his next fight. A bout against an inexperienced welterweight like Brock Jardine, who is coming off of a loss in his Octagon debut, would appear to make the most sense for Kim's next appearance.
Demian Maia probably would have liked a more decisive win in his welterweight debut against Dong Hyun Kim, but a victory due to injury was certainly more desirable than a third loss in four fights. Now, Maia can turn his attention toward becoming a contender in his new division.
After a win like the one he had against Kim, Maia probably hasn't yet earned a fight with a top 170-pound fighter, but a matchup against Aaron Simpson, who has also made the drop in weight from middleweight, could provide an interesting storyline.
Of course, Simpson will first need to pick up a win over Kenny Robertson at UFC on Fuel TV 4 for a bout against Maia to make sense.
Patrick Cote and Riki Fukuda came out on the losing end of their UFC 148 bouts, but both middleweights performed admirably against tough competition in Cung Le and Costa Philippou. Based on where the four fighters stood in the 185-pound division heading into Saturday night, it might have made more sense for Cote and Fukuda to meet one another.
After UFC 148, it now makes even more sense to put this fight together. Rather than a fight with Le, a bout against Fukuda would give a much better indication of Cote's readiness to compete at the UFC level after being released from the organization in October 2010.
Cung Le is a flashy and popular middleweight, but he didn't do quite enough against Patrick Cote to show he's ready to compete against elite 185-pound fighters. Likewise, more was expected from rising middleweight Costa Philippou in a fight against Riki Fukuda.
Philippou should be given more time to develop and a fight against an opponent like Le. A bout between Philippou and Le would turn into an entertaining striking affair and could give the Serra-Longo Fight Team member a chance to build his name against the actor and former Strikeforce champion.
Forrest Griffin has taken a ton of punishment over the course of his career. However, after being knocked out in three of his past six fights and only sneaking away with a narrow decision win over now-retired Tito Ortiz, whispers of Griffin's exit from the sport are beginning to circle.
At the moment, though, Griffin is not prepared to retire. If Griffin does continue competing, he should be set up against a grappler like Phil Davis, who is heavily favored to win his upcoming fight against Wagner Prado and isn't known for dealing out a ton of damage to his opponents.
Until he is ready to step away and a proper retirement fight comes about, these are the types of fights Griffin should be booked for. A bout against Davis would likely ensure Griffin's long-term health, while it would also give the UFC a chance to build up a rising star on the former champion's name.
Anderson Silva isn't the only Brazilian Chael Sonnen has angered over recent years. Another one of Sonnen's main targets of his incessant trash talking has been former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva, who is coming off of a respectable loss against Rich Franklin.
Most who would like to see W. Silva retire soon are of that mind because of the head trauma the Brazilian has endured over his long career. While Sonnen would be a heavy favorite against W. Silva and can land a large volume of punches on the ground, he is not known for his power and probably wouldn't cause an extraordinary amount of damage.
It might not be the most interesting stylistic matchup, but a bout between Sonnen and W. Silva would create more pre-fight drama and would garner the interest of Brazilian fans once again.
With his second win over Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva has stretched his incredible title reign to 10 straight defenses of his belt. Despite the speculation by some that he would retire after the monumental rematch, Silva stated that he will continue competing as long as his body will allow.
Though many would like to see the middleweight champion take another fight at light heavyweight, it has been nearly three years since "The Spider" has competed at 205 pounds, and he has shown little interest in returning since then.
For his next title fight, a bout against the winner of Wednesday's main event of UFC on Fuel TV 4 between Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman could make the most sense. Silva and Munoz have trained together in the past, meaning we could see the same fire from the champion in that matchup that we saw when he met another former teammate in Vitor Belfort.