UFC on Fuel TV 4 Results: What's Next for the Winners and Losers
After the latest UFC on Fuel event, we officially have a new middleweight contender. The night's main event between fellow wrestlers Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman, showcased two of the best at 185-pound and legitimate threats to Anderson Silva's crown.
In addition to that, we were also treated to some other great bouts. From the top to the bottom, the card was pretty good for the most part (minus Marcelo Guimaraes-Dan Stittgen).
What's next for the winners and losers? Let's examine.
Another grappler, another struggle—that is the continuing story for Anthony Njokuani.
Njokuani struggled againt against Rafael dos Anjos, as "The Assassin" was tentative with his striking in fear he would be taken down by Dos Anjos. Tentative or not, Njokuani's takedown defense was again taken advantage of, as dos Anjos dominated the grappling portion of the fight.
Njokuani finds himself in the same position as he usually is. He is near the bottom of the division. If he faces a striker, he is usually favored, but if he faces a grappler, he will struggle.
From here, a matchup with Paul Taylor, an opponent who he was supposed to face twice already, should occur. Both men are noted strikers and in the same position in the division, which could lead to fireworks.
Rafael dos Anjos
With three wins in his last four, it seems Rafael dos Anjos has earned himself a top-20 opponent. He is a top-notch grappler with underrated striking ability.
Using his striking to set up takedowns, Dos Anjos ran the table on Anthony Njokuani. A well-rounded fighter like himself would benefit from taking on a non-specialist, as his last three wins have been Njokuani, Kamal Shalorus and George Sotiropolous.
For his next bout, a date with fellow well-rounded lightweight Evan Dunham would be a fun, important matchup. Both men are somewhere near the same point in the division, and the winner could move one step closer to contention.
Vaughan Lee looked solid early in his bout with T.J. Dillashaw, but eventually he found himself in an unfavorable position. He would be forced to tap out to the American wrestler.
Lee is aggressive on the feet and has a good submission game. The problem was it simply wasn't his night. Lee is still an intriguing prospect in the bantamweight division, so he will likely stay in the lower-mid tier.
Another bantamweight who was a loser tonight was Issei Tamura. Both Tamura and Lee find themselves going 1-1 in their last two bouts and in similar spots in the division. This fight definitely makes sense.
T.J. Dillashaw's road to redemption since losing The Ultimate Fighter continued, as he submitted a very tough Vaughan Lee. Dillashaw's striking has come a long way since the show, even though his wrestling and submissions are his bread and butter.
Dillashaw is still a prospect at this point, so he should not be rushed during this developmental period. He is still in the middle of the pack at 135 lbs, so a jump to a top-10 game is out of the question.
Taking on another recent winner in Ken Stone, who possesses similar skills as Dillashaw, would be a smart next move. It would be a chess match of a fight and would give Dillashaw a test that could measure where he goes for his next fight.
Karlos Vemola looked strong coming out, but he came up short against a dark-horse opponent in Francis Carmont.
Vemola's switch to middleweight was a good move. The problem was that his bottom game is nowhere as good as his top game.
Vemola is in the lower-mid tier of the division. There are plenty of fights for him to take, but he needs to prove he can consistently win.
Taking a fight against another loser on the night, Rafael Natal, would make for a good matchup. Natal would challenge Vemola on the feet and give him another nice grappling match for the fans.
To say that I called Francis Carmont being a potential player in the middleweight division would be an understatement. This guy is extremely well-rounded and impressive, as the Tristar representative won a competitive fight against Karlos Vemola.
Carmont's strength is obviously his striking, but he has shown solid submissions and wrestling in the process. In fact, his last two wins over Vemola and Magnus Cedenblad have been submission wins for the Frenchman.
Carmont deserves a decorated opponent for his next bout. I think that another hot name, Costa Philippou, would create a nice match that would show who is ready for the next level and who needs to go back to the drawing board.
Kenny Robertson got out-wrestled, plain and simple, against a much better wrestler (Aaron Simpson) than himself, Robertson came in with a questionable game plan against the former Arizona State standout.
Robertson will likely have one more chance to prove himself in the UFC. He did them a big favor by taking this fight on very short notice, so they will likely pay it forward.
Robertson could find an opponent in Papy Abedi next. Both men must win or go home, which could create urgency and thus create a great fight. The loser would be cut from the promotion.
Aaron Simpson may have found himself a new weight class, because he looked strong, healthy and all-around solid in his welterweight debut.
Simpson's wrestling and grappling did most of his work versus Robertson, but his clinch work and striking also looked good. At the age of 37, Simpson does not figure to have a lot of time left in a sport that takes a heavy toll on the body.
Simpson was a mid-tier guy at middleweight, and he established his mid-tier status in the welterweight division. He has many options here, but I feel an outing against fellow wrestler Rick Story would be suitable for his next scrap.
It was another classic Joey Beltran performance, deflecting punches with his chin and dishing out power punches. Unfortunately, it did not result in a win for "The Mexicutioner."
Beltran's UFC light heavyweight debut saw him get dropped and worked by James Te Huna, who used speed, power and overwhelming output to keep Beltran at bay. Beltran is a favorite by the UFC brass, so I expect to see him stick around.
He is definitely toward the bottom of the light heavyweight division. He is in a must-win situation next time around, so he will need to bring his A-game.
Kyle Kingsbury is also in a must-win scenario, so putting these two together would be a smart choice. They are fight-night bonus machines and could probably earn another by duking it out with each other.
James Te Huna
James Te Huna's win was impressive, as he almost broke through the iron chin of Joey Beltran. Either way, he made a big statement and is ready for some top competition.
Te Huna is a striker, there is no doubt about it. His grappling could use some work, though it is not horrible. A former rugby player, his takedowns are really the only bright spot of his ground work.
Nevertheless, Te Huna is a nightmare of a matchup for a lot of fighters in the UFC. I believe a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who has not fought since last year, would be a suitable test for Te Huna. Both can strike, but Nogueira would be a great test to the New Zealander's ground game.
Mark Munoz said that he deserved the next title shot, but he definitely did not earn it in the night's main event. Instead, he ran into a hungry, ready Chris Weidman, who dominated every aspect of the fight.
Munoz is still a top guy in the division, but he needs to go back to the drawing board for his next fight. He was out-wrestled, out-struck and out-hustled by the Hofstra product.
He is still worthy of a top-15 fight. Top-15 or not, a bout against Wanderlei Silva would be an interesting fight and show if he can recover from this big loss.
I believe we have found ourselves a new contender in the middleweight division.
Chris Weidman out-wrestled an All-American. He almost submitted Munoz on a dozen different occasions. He knocked Munoz out with a missile of an elbow.
Weidman has gone from unknown prospect to top contender in a very short time. He has amazing grappling and developed striking. There is no doubt in my mind he is ready for a shot at the title.
Give him Anderson Silva.
Weidman is Chael Sonnen with more jiu-jitsu and less of a mouth. I think Silva will find himself a huge challenge.