UFC 153 Results: Post-Fight Matchmaking for the Entire Fight Card
In the legendary career of Anderson Silva, a victory over Stephan Bonnar will go down as a mere side note. However, Silva's willingness to accept the bout with Bonnar on short notice to save UFC 153 will long be remembered.
Still, it's time for the middleweight champion to get back to competing against the best in the world.
Over recent months, that would seem to have meant a superfight with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, assuming the Canadian defends his belt against interim titleholder Carlos Condit. However, following Saturday's event, UFC president Dana White appeared very interested in putting together a fight between Silva and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Let's take a look at the fights that make the most sense for Silva and the rest of the UFC 153 competitors.
Cristiano Marcello vs. Marcus LeVesseur
Cristiano Marcello may have saved his UFC career with his win over Reza Madadi at UFC 153, but the Brazilian won't be getting any step up in competition considering the controversial outcome.
A former jiu-jitsu trainer at Chute Box Academy, Marcello is dangerous on the ground, which makes him an interesting opponent for Marcus LeVesseur.
A decorated collegiate wrestler, LeVesseur has been criticized early in his UFC career for being inactive from the top position. Against Marcello, LeVesseur would be forced to work on the ground and may even elect to stand against the black belt.
Chris Camozzi vs. Cezar Ferreira
After a slow start, Chris Camozzi came on strong in the second and third rounds of his fight against Luiz Cane on Saturday. With the win over Cane, who was making his middleweight debut following losses in three of his prior four fights, Camozzi may have booted the Brazilian from the UFC ranks.
Camozzi has now won three consecutive fights, making him worthy of some more high-profile bouts.
Cezar Ferreira recently won The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil middleweight tournament and would receive a good test against a fellow The Ultimate Fighter participant in Camozzi.
Sergio Moraes vs. Matt Riddle
After losing to Cezar Ferreira in the middleweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Sergio Moraes' UFC roster spot was likely on the line in a bout against Renee Forte, who was fighting inside the Octagon for the first time since also appearing on the reality series.
In the third round, jiu-jitsu ace Moraes was able to lock up a rear-naked choke that will likely result in the release of Forte.
Despite the win, Moraes still has some serious work to do on his striking. As he develops his game, a bout with Matt Riddle would seem like a natural progression for the Brazilian.
Joey Gambino vs. Godofredo Pepey
After his decision loss to Diego Brandao on Saturday, Joey Gambino is now winless in his first two Octagon appearances. On some occasions, that might be enough for the UFC to cut ties with a fighter, but Gambino showed a lot of heart to absorb punishment and go the distance with Brandao, and that should earn him one more UFC bout.
Coming off of a loss to Rony Jason in the featherweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Godofredo Pepey is also in need of a win. Therefore, a loser-leaves-town bout between Gambino and Pepey could be a real possibility.
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Reza Madadi
Francisco Trinaldo and Reza Madadi both suffered their first UFC losses at UFC 153, but the lightweights also impressed even in defeat. In fact, much of the MMA media believed Madadi should have been awarded the win in his bout against Cristiano Marcello.
In an effort to get one of these promising 155-pound fighters back on track, the UFC should match Trinaldo and Madadi up against one another in the near future.
Gleison Tibau vs. Thiago Tavares
Gleison Tibau has won four of his past five fights, but the long-time UFC lightweight is beginning to develop a reputation for winning in somewhat unimpressive fashion. If Tibau wants to break through to the next level, he'll need to win more decisively against the level of opponents he has been facing.
For his next fight, Tibau should meet Thiago Tavares, a fellow veteran who is also coming off of a debatable win in a fight against Sam Stout.
Tibau and Tavares have the potential to be competing against the elite 155-pound fighters, but one of them needs to make a statement in their next fight in order to earn that step up.
Sam Sicilia vs. Justin Lawrence
After beating Cristiano Marcello in a sloppy performance, Sam Sicilia's wild striking technique hurt him against a more technical stand-up fighter in Rony Jason.
Sicilia's striking clearly needs work in order for the 26-year-old to remain with the UFC. However, his wrestling would make him an excellent test for Justin Lawrence, whose takedown defense has been spotty in his short time under the UFC spotlight.
Likewise, Lawrence's dynamic striking would make him a tough task for Sicilia to get past.
Rony Jason vs. Diego Brandao
Former The Ultimate Fighter winners Rony Jason and Diego Brandao both picked up important wins at UFC 153. The young featherweights now each have one victory since winning the reality series and can begin to look to fulfill their lofty potential.
While the UFC would probably prefer to build both fighters into contenders at the same time, a meeting between Jason and Brandao right now would boost the winner quickly toward the top of the featherweight division. At the same time, a loss would come early enough in the career of either fighter for them to bounce back and still contend at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Phil Davis is one of the best pure grapplers in the light heavyweight division. That was on full display in his submission win over Wagner Prado on Saturday.
While Davis is widely considered much closer to the top of the 205-pound division than the Brazilian, a bout between the former NCAA champion wrestler and former jiu-jitsu world champion Vinny Magalhaes would potentially generate one of the most technical grappling matches in light heavyweight history.
Even if it doesn't produce the desired grappling spectacle, a matchup between Davis and Magalhaes could allow one fighter to display some improvement in their striking that would make them worthy of a test against an elite 205-pound fighter.
Erick Silva vs. Rick Story
Heading into UFC 153, Erick Silva was considered by some to be the future of the welterweight division. If that is true, Jon Fitch put the future on hold by utilizing his high-level grappling to stifle the up-and-coming Silva for the better part of three rounds.
Likewise, young borderline contender Rick Story ran into a grappling expert in Demian Maia and suffered a first-round submission loss.
Despite their flaws on the ground on Saturday, Silva and Story are very well-rounded welterweights. A bout between the two would be competitive no matter where the fight takes place.
Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia
After failing to win his prior two fights, Jon Fitch bounced back in a big way at UFC 153, halting the rise of budding Brazilian star Erick Silva. Earlier in the night, former middleweight Demian Maia showed he'll be a force to be reckoned with at 170 pounds by quickly submitting Rick Story.
Fitch has long been considered one of the best grapplers in the welterweight division, while Maia is widely considered one of the top jiu-jitsu practitioners to ever compete in MMA. A bout between the two ground specialists would give an indication of how high Maia's ceiling is at welterweight and could produce another highly entertaining Fitch fight.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Wagner Prado
Though Fabio Maldonado was dominated for the most part in a third straight loss, the heart the Brazilian showed against Glover Teixeira makes him more than deserving of one more shot inside the Octagon. Besides, his previous two losses were highly controversial.
Unable to deal with the elite wrestling of Phil Davis, Wagner Prado also lost at UFC 153.
It has become apparent that Maldonado is wildly entertaining when matched with heavy-hitting strikers. So, a bout with Prado, who has picked up seven of his eight wins via knockout, should get fans on their feet.
Glover Teixeira vs. Quinton Jackson
It's obvious Glover Teixeira is beyond competing against the lower-level UFC light heavyweights. At 32 years old, it's time for the Brazilian to get a shot at an elite 205-pound opponent.
Teixeira was originally scheduled to meet Quinton Jackson at UFC 153, but an injury forced "Rampage" out of the matchup.
Following his win over Fabio Maldonado, Teixeira asked for the UFC to re-book that fight with Jackson, and "Rampage" agreed by asking UFC president Dana White via Twitter to make the fight happen.
Dave Herman vs. Shane del Rosario
Following his submission loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Dave Herman has now lost three straight fights. However, this was a fight Herman took on short notice against one of the better heavyweights in the world, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Team Quest member get one more UFC fight to prove himself.
A bout with former kickboxing world champion Shane del Rosario would test Herman's unreliable striking, while Herman's wrestling would provide Del Rosario an opportunity to work on the takedown defense that failed him in his most recent fight against Stipe Miocic.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Fabricio Werdum
After nearly a year of recovering from the ugly arm injury he suffered against Frank Mir, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira showed he still has some left in the tank by submitting Dave Herman at UFC 153.
While some are calling for Fabricio Werdum to compete against Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, the champion's final bout with the organization, the decision to push the next Strikeforce event back to January leads me to believe Cormier's previously scheduled bout with Frank Mir will be re-scheduled for early-2013.
That leaves open the possibility for a bout between Brazilian grapplers Nogueira and Werdum. The matchup would determine the best Brazilian heavyweight in the world behind Junior dos Santos and could result in a back-and-forth grappling match.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Vitor Belfort
Prior to his fight with Anderson Silva, Stephan Bonnar was fully prepared to fade into retirement. However, after doing the UFC a favor by taking the bout with Silva on short notice to help save UFC 153, Bonnar is owed a more winnable fight against a big-name opponent.
Vitor Belfort may return to middleweight after losing a light heavyweight title fight to Jon Jones. However, I believe the former UFC champion will remain at 205 pounds and wait for Jones to move to heavyweight before making one last run at the belt.
In the meantime, Belfort could get a chance to bounce back against Stephan Bonnar, who would get his wish of competing against another fighter with more Twitter followers than him in Belfort.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
All the talk surrounding Anderson Silva over recent months has been that he is hoping to compete against Georges St-Pierre should the Canadian defend his belt against Carlos Condit next month. However, after winning at light heavyweight on Saturday, the UFC brass has a different superfight in mind for Silva.
Silva and Jon Jones have said they don't want to fight each other, but UFC president Dana White seemed determined to put that fight together after UFC 153.
After Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua turned down a short-notice title fight against Jones, there aren't any light heavyweight contenders that stand out as deserving of a title shot at the moment. If there was ever a time for a fight between Silva and Jones to happen, it is now.