UFC on FX 7 Results: 5 Fights for Gabriel Gonzaga to Take Next

Matt Molgaard@MattmolgaardCorrespondent IIIJanuary 20, 2013

UFC on FX 7 Results: 5 Fights for Gabriel Gonzaga to Take Next

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    Gabriel Gonzaga hasn’t lost a fight since 2010, when he was temporarily exiled from the UFC after dropping two consecutive bouts. In the years to pass, “Napao” has looked impressive, defeating Parker Porter under the Reality Fighting banner before being welcomed back to the UFC, where he earned a first-round submission victory over Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142.

    Tonight the Brazilian took another step toward title contendership as he disposed of Ben Rothwell inside of two rounds.

    The two traded punches early, and just as the pugilistic equation appeared to be equal, the former No. 1 contender found his range and began to slowly score points against Rothwell.

    A close-quarters exchange enabled Gonzaga to reach for a standing guillotine. Gonzaga, with choke locked, pulled guard and forced a quick tap from “Big” Ben Rothwell.

    After an abysmal 2010, Gabriel Gonzaga looks to be returning to form, and it’s time to take a look at some of the prime suspects likely to run into the massive submission ace.

Travis Browne

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    Once considered the No. 1 heavyweight prospect fighting for the UFC, Travis Browne took a plunge in the eyes of many when Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva rendered the man unconscious with his mammoth fists at UFC on FX 5.

    The bout marked Browne’s first major advancement in competition, and first official career loss. How he rebounds remains to be seen, but if he’s to climb back to prominence anytime soon, he’ll need to get back to his winning ways, and he’ll need to do so against quality opposition.

    Gonzaga represents the perfect barometer for Browne. Is he a good heavyweight or is he a potential great?

    “Napao” can potentially answer that question, and given Gonzaga’s momentum, it’s tough not to favor him in this hypothetical pairing.

Cheick Kongo

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    Kongo’s become a well-rounded fighter capable of keeping guys at the end of his lengthy arms, and capable of forcing takedowns and unleashing significant ground and pound.

    The likelihood that Kongo scores takedowns against Gonzaga seems sketchy, which means this fight likely remains vertical, unless the Gabriel can manage to force the hulking Frenchman to the mat.

    On the feet, Cheick appears the superior striker, while on the mat, Gonzaga totes a noteworthy advantage. A perfectly assembled and executed game plan takes Gabriel to victory. A slight hiccup leaves him picking up the pieces once more.

Stipe Miocic

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    The verdict on Miocic is still out. Just how good is this guy? He ran roughshod on his first three UFC opponents, but collapsed in the face of Stefan Struve, who refused to bend to Miocic’s will.

    Miocic has the tools to elevate Gonzaga’s game. An excellent wrestling base and crisp boxing makes him a threat to any man, and in order to beat him, his foes must be relentless in their attack and unwavering in their will to win. A solid tactical approach certainly can’t hurt.

    If Gonzaga shows up looking to get this one to the canvas, he can submit Miocic. However, if he has issues taking the match into his territory, Stipe can and will give him plenty of problems.

    This is the perfect elevator fight for Gonzaga.

Brendan Schaub

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    Everyone loves a shot at redemption.

    I wasn’t fully convinced that Schaub was the superior fighter when he took a unanimous decision nod over Gonzaga at UFC 121, and I’m still not.

    I think Gonzaga’s submission skills and power punching trumps the active hands and feet of Schaub eight of 10 times.

    Unfortunately for Gonzaga, the first time they met was apparently one of those two unfavorable instances.

    Let them go again; Gabe's earned his chance to redeem himself.

Stefan Struve

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    Struve is likely the most dangerous man on this list, and his refined submission skills leave him on a somewhat level playing field with Gabriel.

    Struve brings the reach advantage. Gonzaga brings the power. On the mat, Struve is still somehow drastically underrated, and probably capable of holding his own with the Brazilian.

    If Gonzaga is unable to drop the seven-foot-tall Struve, this one evolves into a grappler’s chess match. The edge goes to “Napao.”

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