UFC 153: 5 Fights for Rony 'Jason' Mariano Bezerra to Take Next
Heading into the passionate fight-city of Rio de Janeiro, Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner Rony "Jason" Bezerra was scheduled to make his post-show debut against fellow TUF: Brazil fighter Sam Sicilia.
Wearing a Jason Voorhees mask to the cage, Bezerra honored his namesake this evening by delivering a violent finale to his contest. Dropping elbows and punches on Sicilia left his opponent bloodied in the exchange and moved Rony to 2-0 in the UFC.
Here is a look at five fights for Rony Jason to take next.
While some may feel that Rony Jason is ready for a step up in competition, there are some who recognize that many Ultimate Fighter winners are pushed too far, too fast. In order to find success through the reality program, slow-rolling the winners is necessary.
Meet Felipe Arantes.
While it's possible that you know his name or his face, it's unlikely. Arantes has gone 1-1-1 since joining the UFC, but he has competed exclusively on Facebook preliminaries and only when the Zuffa boys come to Brazil.
Arantes is an opponent who is beatable and will help to build the momentum of "Jason" and validate the creation of international editions of TUF.
The Ultimate Fighter has produced some dangerous fighters, whether or not they win the tournament. Dennis Bermudez has gone 2-0 in the UFC's featherweight division since the show, and has enough recognition that fans are recognizing his presence.
Bermudez and Jason now have similar UFC experiences, and a battle between the two is one that features two men trying to cement their roster positions.
Rani Yahya is a dangerous jiu-jitsu practitioner who has room for improvement in his striking game. After an impressive victory over Mike Brown, and another against Josh Grispi, many would argue that Yahya is too high up on the ladder to face Rony Jason.
If you believe in throwing a person into deep water and allowing them to make the ultimate decision to sink or swim, you may feel that Yahya is a quality opponent who will be good for the development of Jason's career.
Yahya is notable within the division, but is not so excellent an opponent that Jason would be outclassed. Granted, he should avoid the ground exchanges, but that's true with any featherweight unfortunate enough to face Yahya.
Speaking of someone who was pushed too far, too fast.
Jonathan Brookins nearly got knocked out in his Ultimate Fighter finale bout with Michael Johnson, but would rally to win the last two rounds, as well as a tournament championship. His near-defeat should have indicated that a slow build is necessary, but that wasn't in the cards.
Losing two of his next three bouts to the likes of Erik Koch and Charles Oliveira, Brookins is struggling to get on his feet. If Jason is able to defeat Brookins, the unspoken idea that international versions of TUF aren't as important would start to melt away.
Also successful at UFC 153 was fellow Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao.
The Jackson's Submission fighter was able to shut down Joey Gambino en route to a decisive victory on the preliminary portion of the event. The win allowed him to remind fans that his summer contest with Darren Elkins did not illustrate his best work.
With Brandao being the first TUF winner of Brazilian descent, it's only logical to pair him with the winner of TUF: Brazil. May the best Brazilian win.
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