UFC on Fox 4 Results: Post-Fight Matchmaking for the Entire Fight Card
Overlooked by many who were unimpressed with the fight card's main event, UFC on Fox 4 delivered four extremely entertaining contests and the next light heavyweight title challenger in Lyoto Machida.
According to UFC president Dana White, Machida will now await the winner of a September title bout between champion Jon Jones and Dan Henderson. This could mean a rematch between Machida and Jones, who put the Brazilian to sleep with a standing guillotine less than one year ago.
Machida's promised title shot means main event winner Mauricio Rua will have to wait for his chance to reclaim the 205-pound strap. In the meantime, let's take a look at who should be next for Rua and the rest of the UFC on Fox competitors.
Ulysses Gomez vs. Josh Ferguson
Highly touted flyweight Ulysses Gomez entered the UFC a winner of seven out of his prior eight fights, so he was expected to quickly become a contender in the rapidly developing division.
However, fellow UFC newcomer John Moraga had plans of stealing Gomez's spotlight and was able to do so with a first-round knockout.
The UFC will want to get the rather well-known flyweight back on track, so Gomez's next bout could be a very winnable one against Josh Ferguson or another Octagon debutant.
John Moraga vs. Ian McCall
John Moraga was initially booked to fight Ian McCall at UFC on Fox 4. After defeating Ulysses Gomez, a matchup with an elite flyweight like McCall appears to make even more sense than before for Moraga.
In 12 career fights, Moraga has only been defeated by TUF winner John Dodson, so a win over McCall in his next fight could put Moraga in position to avenge that loss in a rematch, or at least in the mix for a title shot.
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Leonard Garcia
Michihiro Omigawa and Leonard Garcia are fan favorites. However, following Omigawa's loss to Manvel Gamburyan at UFC on Fox 4, both featherweights have now lost four of their past five fights.
At some point, the UFC is going to have to part ways with one of the exciting 145-pounders, so why not pair them in a loser-leaves-town barnburner?
Phil De Fries vs. Cheick Kongo
Following his UFC on Fox 4 win over Oli Thompson, Phil DeFries is slowly becoming one of the more noted submission specialists in the heavyweight division.
The UFC just so happens to be looking for a grappler like DeFries to deter Cheick Kongo from clinching and stalling along the fence, as he did frequently in his most recent bout with Shawn Jordan.
Rani Yahya vs. Manny Gamburyan
At UFC on Fox 4, Rani Yahya may have completed one of the most infamous collapses in UFC history, as he secured a north-south choke that led to Josh Grispi's third loss in as many Octagon appearances. Once considered a promising featherweight title contender when competing under the WEC banner, Grispi may be looking for work with a new organization in the near future.
Yahya, meanwhile, will now look to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since his previous north-south choke victory against John Hosman in August 2009. A bout with Manvel Gamburyan would give Yahya a chance to pick up another win while also forcing him to become a more well-rounded fighter against an opponent who has never been forced to tap due to a submission hold.
Gamburyan scored a decision win over Michihiro Omigawa on Saturday night and—like Yahya—will also be looking to put together a significant winning streak for the first time in years.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
Heading into UFC on Fox 4, many were confused by the UFC's decision to match young light heavyweight contender Phil Davis with a UFC newcomer like Wagner Prado. After a unintentional poke to the eye of Prado led to an unfortunate no-contest on Saturday night, those individuals will have to ponder the matchmaking even longer, as it seems inevitable that the UFC will re-book the fight as soon as possible.
As long as there was no significant damage done to Prado's eye, which appeared to be the case considering the Brazilian's willingness to continue fighting, the UFC appears ready to slide the Davis and Prado rematch onto the UFC on FX 5 fight card in October.
Cole Miller vs. Godofredo Pepey
If Cole Miller can find a way to use his reach effectively in the featherweight division, he could become a force to be reckoned with. However, after being battered by a much shorter Nam Phan through the first two rounds of a UFC on Fox 4 preliminary bout, it appears Miller's striking has a long way to go.
With losses in three of his past four fights, Miller is in danger of being released from the UFC unless he can get things turned around in his next appearance. A potential loser-leaves-town bout against TUF: Brazil runner-up Godofredo Pepey could bring the best out of both fighters.
Nam Phan vs. Justin Lawrence-Max Holloway Winner
Nam Phan's boxing looked excellent against a much longer Cole Miller on Saturday night, but only picking up a second UFC win in his fifth Octagon appearance leads one to wonder just how high Phan's ceiling could be in the featherweight division.
Until he picks up another win or two, Phan could serve as a good measuring stick for up-and-coming 145-pound fighters. Phan's technical striking would make him a great test for the winner of an upcoming bout between Justin Lawrence and Max Holloway.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Chris Clements
As promised, DaMarques Johnson provided a very entertaining fight against Mike Swick in the opening bout of the UFC on Fox 4 main card. However, Johnson ultimately ended up suffering his third loss in four bouts, as he was knocked unconscious by a Swick superman punch immediately after being taken down early in the second round.
Despite his poor win-loss record as of late, Johnson will continue to remain on the UFC's welterweight roster with exciting performances like the one he had on Saturday night. Right now, though, Johnson will have to take a step back in competition. Chris Clements is coming off of a loss to Matt Riddle and has a fighting style that could lead to another wild fight for Johnson.
Mike Swick vs. Matt Riddle
Following his humorous rant about Dan Hardy and British fans at the UFC 149 post-fight press conference, many understandably want to see Matt Riddle compete against the Englishman in the near future. However, that is a matchup that doesn't make a whole lot of sense at this point in time, with Hardy already booked for a fight against Amir Sadollah in September.
Riddle does deserve a step up in competition, though, and he could get one against Mike Swick. After a two-year absence, Swick wants to slowly work his way back up the welterweight ladder. Instead of matching him up against a contender too soon, the UFC should put Swick on a slower track to the top of the 170-pound division by giving him Riddle for his next appearance.
Jamie Varner vs. Jim Miller
Jamie Varner's Cinderella story didn't last long. After upsetting Edson Barboza in his return to the UFC, Varner was submitted in the third round of his UFC on Fox 4 fight with Joe Lauzon.
Despite the loss, though, Varner looked solid in the first two rounds and deserves credit for taking the tough matchup on short notice. The UFC could even opt to reward Varner with another big fight when he decides to return to the Octagon for his next fight.
I'm not sure how much of a reward it would be for the former WEC champion, but a bout with Jim Miller would give Varner a chance to shock the world again while allowing Miller to get back on track after losing two of his past three contests.
Joe Lauzon vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Joe Lauzon's third-round submission win over Jamie Varner at UFC on Fox 4 was an imporant one, but it wasn't a victory that should vault the lightweight into title shot consideration quite yet. Varner did take the fight on short notice and was leading on two judges' scorecards through the first two rounds.
Let's give Lauzon one more test before handing him another step up in competition. Khabib Nurmagomedov is also on the cusp of becoming a serious 155-pound contender after beating Gleison Tibau, and possesses a wild style that could result in more performance bonuses for Lauzon, who won Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honors for his efforts against Varner.
Lyoto Machida vs. Jon Jones-Dan Henderson Winner
If light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defends his belt against Dan Henderson in September, he could meet Lyoto Machida in a rematch of a fight he won via second-round submission in December.
While a Jones-Machida rematch might not draw a ton of interest considering the brutal finish to the first meeting between the 205-pound fighters, it may be the matchup the UFC and MMA fans will be stuck with. Jones's dominance and the slow ascension of up-and-coming contenders like Alexander Gustafsson and Phil Davis has left the UFC without many other options for title challengers.
A competitive first round against Jones made Machida one of the titleholder's toughest tests, so the Brazilian may be the most deserving of a second chance at dethroning the seemingly unbeatable champion.
Brandon Vera vs. Ryan Bader
Brandon Vera and Ryan Bader were both significant underdogs heading into their bouts against former UFC champions at UFC on Fox 4. Predictably, Bader had a difficult time standing with Lyoto Machida and was knocked out in the second round. However, Vera surprised with a valiant showing against Mauricio Rua before also being knocked out in the fourth round.
Entering Saturday's event, Vera was ranked much lower than Bader on the light heavyweight ladder. However, after his performance against Rua, Vera showed he is deserving of a fight with another high-level opponent.
If he beats Bader or even performs as well against the former TUF winner as he did against Rua, then we can truly begin taking Vera's resurrection seriously.
Mauricio Rua vs. Quinton Jackson-Glover Teixeira Winner
Heading into UFC on Fox 4, Mauricio Rua needed to win impressively to earn himself a title shot and rematch with either Jon Jones or Dan Henderson. With a knockout win over Brandon Vera, one could say he did that, but Rua was certainly not as impressive as Lyoto Machida on Saturday night.
Rua was heavily favored leading into the bout and was expected to put Vera away with ease. By taking four rounds to stop Vera, Rua appropriately fell behind Machida in the race for another shot at the light heavyweight strap.
Now, the attention of Rua's management will turn to finding another opponent that would give the Brazilian a chance to make an argument for a title shot with a victory. A victory over the winner of a bout between Quinton Jackson and Glover Teixeira would give Rua more than enough ammunition to make such an argument.
"Rampage" has said he'll leave the UFC after his next bout. However, if Jackson knocks out Teixeira and is offered the rematch with Rua that he has repeatedly asked for, you can be sure he'll reconsider his stance on remaining a UFC fighter.