UFC 154 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Georges St-Pierre looked himself at UFC 154 despite being out of action for more than 18 months and coming back from a potentially career-threatening knee injury.
The Canadian champion reclaimed his undisputed title back by battering interim champion Carlos Condit on the ground and surviving a scary moment after being knocked down with a head kick in the third round. For his entertaining performance, St-Pierre earned Fight of the Night honors for the third time in his career.
St-Pierre's victory over Condit came with middleweight champion Anderson Silva sitting cageside. There is now hope that the long-reigning champions will meet in a 2013 superfight, but it seems some conditions will have to be met for St-Pierre to accept the risk of fighting a larger opponent.
With what would probably be the biggest fight in UFC history now on the table, let's take a look at what fights should be next for all of the UFC 154 competitors.
Steven Siler vs. Jimy Hettes
After an appearances on The Ultimate Fighter, Steven Siler won his first three official UFC bouts, but the 25-year-old suffered his first loss inside the Octagon at UFC 154.
Siler showed a lot of heart, but that was ultimately not enough to make up for his deficient takedown defense. Darren Elkins took Siler down repeatedly and threatened with a number of submissions before winning on the scorecards.
Next, Siler should meet another young fighter who is coming off of their first UFC loss. Jimy Hettes could provide another test for Siler's ground game, while Siler could challenge the striking of Hettes, who is coming off of a defeat in which he was out-struck by Marcus Brimage.
Azamat Gashimov vs. Nick Denis
Azamat Gashimov was submitted in the opening round of his UFC debut, but the Russian bantamweight showed some promise in his short outing at UFC 154.
Gashimov landed some solid shots on his feet before taking Menjivar to the ground early in the fight. Though, against a veteran like Menjivar, Gashimov was over-matched in the grappling department.
A matchup with Menjivar was simply too much too soon for a UFC newcomer like Gashimov. In his next appearance, Gashimov should take on a more low-ranked opponent like Nick Denis, who is coming off of a submission loss to Roland Delorme in his second UFC bout.
Ivan Menjivar vs. T.J. Dillashaw
After losing inside the Octagon for the first time against Mike Easton, a bout with UFC rookie Azamat Gashimov was designed to get Ivan Menjivar back on a winning track, and that's exactly what it did.
While Menjivar gave up an early takedown, he was immediately active off of his back and eventually secured an elbow-popping armbar in the opening round.
Menjivar may not be deserving of a fight with a bantamweight contender, but he's ready to again face off against an opponent who is coming off of a UFC win and nearing title contention. That opponent is T.J. Dillashaw, who was recently forced out of a scheduled bout with Easton.
John Maguire vs. Pascal Krauss
John Maguire's UFC career got off to a strong start, as he won his first two fights against Justin Edwards and DaMarques Johnson, but the Englishman has now suffered back-to-back decision losses.
He was competitive against UFC 154 foe Matthew Riddle, but Maguire had trouble dealing with his opponent's reach and pressuring style.
With his spot on the UFC roster probably on the line in his next fight, Maguire should take some time to make improvements before returning against Pascal Krauss, who is coming off of a loss to John Hathaway and healing from an injury that forced him out of a scheduled bout with Gunnar Nelson.
Matt Riddle vs. Sean Pierson II
If Matt Riddle keeps winning, he'll eventually get the fight with Dan Hardy that he continues to campaign for, but he's just not high enough on the welterweight totem pole to deserve that matchup right now.
Still, Riddle was impressive in victory against John Maguire. The decision win will move the 26-year-old up the 170-pound ladder slightly and should earn him a fight with another welterweight on a winning streak.
A rematch with Sean Pierson, who won a December 2010 matchup between the two welterweights, would give Riddle a chance to showcase the improvements he's made as a young fighter over the past two years.
Rodrigo Damm vs. Cole Miller
Rodrigo Damm may have lost at UFC 154, but he made positive strides in a split decision defeat against Antonio Carvalho.
Prior to Saturday's fight, three of Damm's five previous losses came via knockout, but the Brazilian showed improved striking against Carvalho. Nonetheless, Damm may have been wise to utilize his top-notch grappling.
Damm is entertaining on the ground, so if he rolls with another submission artist like Cole Miller, he could bring some fans to their feet. Both fighters are coming off of split-decision losses, so let's see Damm and Miller go at it in 2013.
Antonio Carvalho vs. Diego Brandao
After losing to Felipe Arantes in his UFC debut, Antonio Carvalho has now won back-to-back fights and has the well-rounded attributes needed to continue racking up wins inside the Octagon.
Carvalho baited Damm into a kickboxing match and beat up the Brazilian's thigh with leg kicks for three rounds. It was far from a dominant win for Carvalho, but he got his hand raised at the end of the night, and that's what really matters in the end.
When forced to exchange, Carvalho has shown to be a much more entertaining fighter than he was at UFC 154, so the UFC should consider matching him up with a blitzing striker like Diego Brandao.
Sam Stout vs. Anthony Njokuani
Though highly competitive in almost all of his losses, Sam Stout has had trouble putting together an extended winning streak since joining the UFC's lightweight roster. Since signing with the organization, Stout has not won more than two straight fights.
That pattern continued on Saturday, when Stout was out-struck by fellow Canadian John Makdessi.
While Stout came out on the wrong side of the striking exchanges at UFC 154, he remains a highly entertaining stand-up fighter. Since Anthony Njokuani, another aggressive kickboxer, is also coming off of a loss, it would make sense to pair him Stout in a potential Fight of the Night matchup.
John Makdessi vs. Gleison Tibau
John Makdessi's win over Sam Stout at UFC 154 was the biggest of his young career. Not only did the Tristar gym fighter out-strike a solid kickboxer in Stout, but he also showed improved wrestling by stuffing five takedown attempts.
Since Stout is not known as a great wrestler, Makdessi's striking performance was far more impressive than his takedown defense, but it was a step in the right direction for the karate black belt.
Eventually, Makdessi is going to run into a world-class wrestler as he climbs the lightweight rankings. So, to prepare him for that, Makdessi should be tested by a large grappler like Gleison Tibau.
Cyrille Diabate vs. Jimi Manuwa
Cyrille Diabate may have brought Chad Griggs' UFC career to a swift close at UFC 154, as the French kickboxer scored a somewhat surprising submission win over the former heavyweight, who was also submitted in his Octagon debut against Travis Browne.
Despite the win, Diabate still has a ground game that would be lacking against most light heavyweight grapplers, but he can stand with just about any 205-pound fighter on the UFC roster.
That's why he should serve as a veteran test for an up-and-coming striker like Jimi Manuwa. While Manuwa has already stopped Kyle Kingsbury, he could use another impressive victory before being given a significant step up in competition.
Patrick Cote vs. Alessio Sakara
An otherwise exciting fight between Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara came to an unfortunate end on the UFC 154 preliminary card.
The middleweights slugged it out on their feet before Sakara rocked Cote with elbows and forced the Canadian to drop down for a desperation single-leg takedown attempt. From there, Sakara landed a number of illegal blows to the back of his opponent's head.
Though not warned by referee Dan Miragliotta during the act, Sakara was disqualified and handed a loss for his actions. Really, Sakara has no one to blame for the defeat but himself, though a rematch seems to be in order after the disappointing outcome.
Mark Hominick vs. Josh Grispi II
Mark Hominick has tumbled downward quickly since the loss of long-time coach and friend Shawn Tompkins.
The Canadian has now lost four straight fights. In most cases, that would almost surely mean being cut from the UFC roster, but Hominick has been entertaining and is a fan favorite in his home country, so there's a good possibility he'll get one last chance to remain with the organization.
Formerly considered a top contender, Josh Grispi has also fallen on hard times and finds himself in the midst of a three-fight losing streak.
With another loss, the UFC wouldn't have much choice but to part ways with these featherweights. So, there's a good chance the UFC will match Hominick and Grispi against one another to ensure one gets back into the win column.
Pablo Garza vs. Darren Elkins
Pablo Garza and Darren Elkins both picked up big wins at UFC 154, but Garza just broke out of a two-fight losing streak and Elkins isn't getting enough attention yet to be featured against a featherweight contender, so a bout between these Saturday winners could be next.
Elkins has been using his wrestling to stifle opponents as of late, but Garza possesses a dangerous and active guard that could cause problems for the former lightweight.
If Elkins can finish Garza, he may finally get the step up in competition that some believe he already deserves after picking up decision wins in his past four fights.
Mark Bocek vs. Evan Dunham
Mark Bocek has been looking to break through and become a contender for a few years now, but he suffered another setback against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 154.
Usually outstanding on the ground, Bocek was completely dominated in the wrestling department and wasn't really able to threaten his Brazilian opponent with any submissions.
While skilled, Bocek has not put together many exciting fights recently, and that has caused him to be forgotten about in the deep lightweight division by many fans. Matching him up with the always-exciting Evan Dunham could get people talking about Bocek again.
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Jamie Varner-Melvin Guillard Winner
Having won four of his past five fights, with his only loss during that time coming via split decision, Rafael dos Anjos is due for a shot at a big name lightweight opponent.
The Brazilian was surprisingly dominant in victory over Mark Bocek at UFC 154, putting him in position for a big step up in competition for his next appearance.
The winner of a bout between Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard would not be on any sort of winning streak, so they'd still need another win or two before being booked to fight an elite 155-pound fighter, so why not use their following bout as a chance for Dos Anjos to test himself against a fringe contender?
Tom Lawlor vs. Tom Watson
Tom Lawlor suffered a controversial loss in an uneventful fight with Francis Carmont on Saturday. However, even if Lawlor had won, it wasn't the type of performance that would earn him a much bigger fight for his next outing.
Since Tom Watson is also coming off of a split-decision loss and is considered at approximately the same level as Lawlor, I don't see any reason why the pair of Toms shouldn't meet each other for their first Octagon appearance of 2013.
Francis Carmont vs. Riki Fukuda
Francis Carmont has all the physical tools needed to become a middleweight contender, and some thought UFC 154 would allow him to break out, but the French-Canadian fighter was unable to get much going against Tom Lawlor and squeaked by with a split-decision win.
Undefeated in four UFC fights, Carmont is going to get another fight with an opponent who is coming off of a win, but it won't be much of a step up from Lawlor because of the controversial nature of his win.
To add some depth to the next Asian or Canadian fight card, the UFC should match Carmont up against Japanese fighter Riki Fukuda, who recently defeated Tom DeBlass at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in Macao, China.
Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann II
Losing a title fight can be extremely deflating for a fighter, but there's nothing like an opportunity to avenge an old loss to get the fire burning against for a competitor like Carlos Condit.
In April 2009, Condit made his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann and came out on the wrong side of a split decision. More than three-and-a-half years later, Condit has surpassed Kampmann on the welterweight ladder.
However, both fighters find themselves coming off of UFC 154 losses. A win for either fighter in a rematch would be a great way to bounce back into title contention.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva and Johny Hendricks
Georges St-Pierre's entire 2013 calender may already be planned out for him.
As long as both sides can come to some sort of agreement, it sounds like the UFC will find a way to make a superfight between St-Pierre and middleweight champion Anderson Silva happen sometime in mid-2013.
With Hendricks coming off of a knockout win over Martin Kampmann and ready to wait for his title shot, he could be ready to welcome St-Pierre back to the welterweight division in late 2013.
Since St-Pierre hasn't fought more than twice in a calender year since 2007, that would probably account for a full 2013 for the again-undisputed 170-pound champion.