UFC 156 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Jose Aldo furthered his legacy at UFC 156 by beating former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Though he's given tough fights to some of the best fighters in the world, Edgar has now lost three straight fights. He'll need to do something drastic in order to quickly return to UFC title contention.
Aside from the main event, UFC 156 was a fight card full of upsets. Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans delivered poor performances and missed out on title shots they could have earned in fights against Antonio Silva and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
With another UFC event in the books, let's take a look at what should be next for Aldo, Edgar and the rest of the UFC 156 competitors.
Chico Camus vs. Edwin Figueroa
Chico Camus and Edwin Figueroa had winning streaks ended in their respective fights with Dustin Kimura and Francisco Rivera at UFC 156.
Despite the losses, these 28-year-old bantamweights still have the ability to pick up a few more victories inside the Octagon. The UFC should match Camus and Figueroa against one another to ensure one of the 135-pound fighters gets back on track.
Dustin Kimura vs. Francisco Rivera
Dustin Kimura and Francisco Rivera picked up big wins on the UFC 156 Facebook prelims, stopping respective opponents Chico Camus and Edwin Figueroa in the latter half of their fights.
The contrast in styles between Rivera's wild and powerful striking and Kimura's dangerous ground game would make for an interesting matchup. Have these two square off in a few months, and the winner can get a significant step up in competition.
Yves Edwards vs. Lucas Martins
Whether the judges robbed him of a win or not, Yves Edwards did not impress against Isaac Vallie-Flagg.
Still, Edwards' counter striking is fun to watch, and he should be matched up with another stand-up fighter in his next outing.
Though Lucas Martins couldn't get anything going against Edson Barboza in his UFC debut, the young Brazilian is talented on his feet. A fight with an opponent who is further from his prime could give Martins a chance to show that.
Isaac Vallie-Flagg vs. Sam Stout-Caros Fodor Winner
There was some controversy surrounding Isaac Vallie-Flagg's split-decision win over Yves Edwards, but it was still a surprisingly strong showing for the Strikeforce veteran in his UFC debut.
Vallie-Flagg pushed forward constantly and eventually tired Edwards out by the time the third round rolled around. In the end, the judges rewarded Vallie-Flagg for his aggression.
Despite the win, Vallie-Flagg still has a long way to climb in the lightweight division. A fight against the winner of a UFC 157 bout between Sam Stout and Caros Fodor would make sense as Vallie-Flagg progresses.
Jacob Volkmann vs. George Sotiropoulos
Jacob Volkmann suffered an upset loss to Bobby Green at UFC 156, and that defeat could set the 32-year-old back significantly.
However, there is a potential fight available against a big-name lightweight that could allow Volkmann to rebound quickly.
George Sotiropoulos has been knocked out in two straight fights and is a loser of three consecutive bouts. In other words, the 35-year-old needs a fight with a grappler in order to show he still has something left in the tank.
A fight with Volkmann would prevent Sotiropoulos from taking too much damage once again while still providing a worthy test of his skills.
Bobby Green vs. Myles Jury
Bobby Green picked up the biggest win of his career in his UFC debut against Jacob Volkmann, submitting the veteran in the final minute of a back-and-forth fight.
Like Green, Myles Jury is also coming off of an upset victory over an mid-level lightweight in Michael Johnson.
As Green and Jury prepare to make unlikely runs at becoming 155-pound contenders, it would be interesting to see them compete against one another for that step up in competition.
Jay Hieron vs. Patrick Cote-Bobby Voelker Loser
Jay Hieron got smoked by Tyron Woodley at UFC 156. Hieron still deserves a UFC roster spot, but it's not looking like he'll have the ability to compete with top welterweights as previously believed by some.
After losses to Woodley and Jake Ellenberger, Hieron needs to take a step down in competition. A scrap with a fellow veteran like Patrick Cote would be interesting should the Canadian also suffer a setback against a Strikeforce import in Bobby Voelker.
Tyron Woodley vs. Josh Koscheck-Robbie Lawler Winner
After losing to Nate Marquardt in his final Strikeforce appearance, Tyron Woodley made a big statement in his first Octagon showing by knocking out Jay Hieron.
Woodley now adds even more depth to an increasingly brutal pool of welterweight contenders.
Should he beat Robbie Lawler at UFC 157, Josh Koscheck would be the perfect candidate to welcome Woodley to the elite ranks of the UFC's 170-pound division. Both men were accomplished collegiate wrestlers and carry knockout power in their right hands.
Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson
Once on the verge of becoming a lightweight contender, Gleison Tibau has lost two of his past three fights following a decision defeat against Evan Dunham.
Likewise, Michael Johnson suffered a deflating loss to Myles Jury in December. Johnson could use a fight with another opponent who will test his takedown defense, so a bout with Tibau would make sense.
Evan Dunham vs. Paul Sass-Danny Castillo Winner
Evan Dunham is slowly returning to lightweight title contention, as his win over Gleison Tibau gave him a third win in his past four fights.
While Dunham has been highly entertaining on his feet in recent fights, the jiu-jitsu black belt is equally skilled on the ground, so it would be nice to see him roll with another solid grappler before getting a shot at a 155-pound contender.
Paul Sass and Danny Castillo are very different grapplers, but they both present a challenge for Dunham. The winner of the UFC on Fuel TV 7 fight should meet Dunham in the near future.
Ian McCall vs. John Dodson
Ian McCall suffered his second straight loss at UFC 156, but "Uncle Creepy" is still one of the best flyweights out there and deserves another chance to prove it.
A fight with John Dodson would give McCall a chance to remain in title contention in the 125-pound division, while it would give "The Magician" an opportunity to potentially earn a rematch with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Ideally, Joseph Benavidez would pick up more than one win in order to earn a rematch with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. However, this is a new weight class, and there aren't a ton of options.
With an impressive showing against Ian McCall, Benavidez is clearly the second-best fighter in the UFC's 125-pound division. Although he may want another fight or two to make improvements, Benavidez really is the clear-cut top contender at flyweight and will probably be granted a second shot at Johnson very soon.
Jon Fitch vs. Dong Hyun Kim-Siyar Bahadurzada Loser
For the first time since losing to Georges St-Pierre, Jon Fitch was out-wrestled by an opponent at UFC 156.
Though he had no answer for Demian Maia's grappling, it was still interesting to see Fitch inside the cage with another high-level grappler. That's why he should fight Dong Hyun Kim next should the Korean lose to Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
Demian Maia vs. Georges St-Pierre-Nick Diaz Loser
Demian Maia has only been a welterweight for three fights, but his dominant win over Jon Fitch at UFC 156 showed he's already a serious title contender.
Though his victory over Fitch was impressive, Maia needs one more signature win before he'd be deserving of a spot in a championship bout.
Another matchup with a more offensive grappler than Fitch would be intriguing. If Nick Diaz loses to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158, he'd certainly make Maia work for a title shot.
Alistair Overeem vs. Junior dos Santos
Alistair Overeem missed out on his title shot by seemingly looking past Antonio Silva.
However, Overeem's loss has now opened up the possibility for a grudge match with former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.
Even coming off of the loss to Silva, a fight with Dos Santos would give Overeem a chance to earn a shot at the belt, and it would also give Dos Santos an opportunity to earn a rubber match with Cain Velasquez.
Antonio Silva vs. Cain Velasquez
Antonio Silva is only two fights removed from taking a brutal beating at the hands of Cain Velasquez, but he's suddenly made himself one of the only available options to challenge the heavyweight champion for his title.
Junior dos Santos is coming off of a lopsided loss to Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum is out of the picture for a few months as he coaches The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and Daniel Cormier will not be making his UFC debut until late April.
Unless the UFC decides to shelf Velasquez for months, a rematch with Silva is really the best option for keeping the titleholder active.
Rashad Evans vs. Mauricio Rua
There's no sugarcoating it. Rashad Evans looked worse than ever at UFC 156.
A move to middleweight could help reignite Evans' career, but it has seemed he's only interested in that move if it meant a title shot against Anderson Silva.
More likely, he'll remain at light heavyweight and fight another champion who has started to face, Mauricio Rua.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Jon Jones-Chael Sonnen Loser
Although it wasn't the most amazing performance, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira deserves a big fight after beating Rashad Evans on Saturday.
Should Chael Sonnen lose to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and most believe he will, Nogueira probably wouldn't mind getting some revenge for the many comments Sonnen has made about several Brazilian fighters in recent years.
Frankie Edgar vs. Renan Barao-Michael McDonald Loser
Frankie Edgar has lost three straight fights, but he continues to hang with the best in the world.
The former lightweight champion had no issues making 145 pounds, so one more move to bantamweight would not be out of the question.
If Edgar wants to recapture a UFC title before the end of his career, a move to 135 pounds would allow him to accomplish that quickly. He could meet the loser of an interim title fight at UFC on Fuel TV 7 between Renan Barao and Michael McDonald.
With a win over either one of those young bantamweights, Edgar would probably find himself right back in a fight for UFC gold.
Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis
There are challengers for Jose Aldo in the featherweight division. Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung have established themselves as leading candidates for a title shot.
However, Anthony Pettis has also earned the right to fight for a belt after stopping Donald Cerrone in the lightweight division. Following Aldo's win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, UFC president Dana White said during the post-fight press conference that Pettis requested a shot at Aldo and his belt.
Obviously, Lamas and Jung have done more at 145 pounds, but Pettis has done even more at 155 pounds and honestly provides a bigger challenge to Aldo. If Pettis can truly make the 145-pound limit, he should be next for Aldo while Lamas and Jung face off to determine which one of them is the true top contender.