Jacob Volkmann's back in the win column. But does the UFC really want that?
Well, that was quick.
Jacob Volkmann re-established himself as one of the UFC's more dangerous lightweights, using superior wrestling to ground Shane Roller at UFC on FX 5 on Friday night.
Just when Roller started to pick up on Volkmann's high kicks and telegraphed striking, the Minnesota native switched things up and put Roller on the defensive, going for single-leg takedown after single-leg takedown.
Although Roller avoided the first few attempts, Volkmann's dogged pursuit eventually paid off. One solid grip was all he needed to score a takedown, take Roller's back and work in a rear-naked choke after a minor stream of punches opened up a route for the submission.
Volkmann may have fallen to a superior grappler in Paul Sass, but his 6-1 record at lightweight will keep him firmly in the middle of the talent-heavy division. Volkmann is still far from popular with MMA fans and the UFC brass, so don't expect much of a rise up the ladder for him.
Right now, here's five fights that make the most sense for Mr. "Christmas":
Even though he's been a winner at lightweight, Volkmann is one of those guys the UFC would rather see lose to a surging opponent. Wiman made quick work of Paul Sass, so a matchup here makes sense from the company's standpoint.
Who should Volkmann fight next?
On the other hand, if the UFC doesn't want to risk a mid-level fighter off a hot win, they could also pair Volkmann up with Nurmagomedov, their relatively unknown Russian-born Sambo master.
Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos Winner
From a stylistic view, the winner of this fight could provide an interesting obstacle to Volkmann's skills. Mark Bocek is a pretty big lightweight, and Rafael dos Anjos still needs to better learn how to fight a decent wrestler.
Hey, Tavares got robbed of having an opponent tonight, so why not put him to work a few months down the road against Volkmann?
As inconsistent as Guillard can be, Volkmann doesn't have the wrestling chops or the stopping power to pose much of a threat here. This is a fight Joe Silva could make to get the popular Guillard back on the winning track with minimum risk.