With plenty of surprising results coming out of UFC 156, it's safe to say that the landscape of more than one division has been shaken up.
It was a bad night for the Blackzilians. Heavy favorites Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans were the victims of upset losses and will need to regroup after losing out on the opportunity for title fights.
While the winners of those fights might not be ready for a shot at UFC gold, they are definitely ready for another fight in the spotlight. Here's a look at the biggest winners from the evening and potential matchups for them to take on next.
We knew that Maia had serious grappling skills heading into his fight with Jon Fitch, but no one saw him absolutely manhandling the elite wrestler like he did.
Maia was all over Fitch from beginning to end and put forth the fight of his career. Since moving down to 170 pounds, he looks much stronger and has shown that he must be taken seriously as a contender in the division moving forward.
He definitely wasn't favored to win but proved his doubters wrong by dominating a great opponent in Fitch.
Martin Kampmann. Unfortunately for Maia, he's not breaking in as a top contender at a good time. UFC 158 has all of the top welterweight contenders tied up so there aren't many options for Maia that will get him closer to a title shot.
Kampmann is coming off of a 46 second loss at the hands of Johny Hendricks but was well on his way to contending before that slip up. This would pair up the two best welterweights not involved in the UFC 158 card and provide yet another challenger for the welterweight title.
Heading into UFC 156, it sure felt like Bigfoot was being used as a sacrificial lamb to set up and Alistair Overeem-Cain Velasquez title fight.
Turns out Silva didn't get the memo. Overeem controlled the fight for the first two rounds, but didn't do any significant damage. Silva turned the tide in the third round and was able to pull off a stunning knockout.
With back-to-back knockout victories, Silva showed that he's a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division.
Winner of Mark Hunt/Stefan Struve. Silva was bludgeoned by current champion Cain Velasquez so he hasn't quite done enough to prove that he deserves a rematch quite yet.
Struve and Hunt are set to do battle in March and the winner will have a nice case for stepping into the upper echelon of the division. With Silva making a big statement against Overeem, the winner of this fight would be in the running for a shot at the champion.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
It was a good night for Antonio's. No one expected Little Nog to get the best of Rashad Evans, but he did just that—outpointing Evans on the feet to earn a unanimous decision victory.
This was a huge win for Nogueira. Despite coming off a loss to Jon Jones, Evans was still considered one of the best 205ers in the world and Nogueira showed that he can compete with top-shelf talent.
After years of residing in his brother's shadow, it could be time for Nogueira to make an impressive run of his own.
Glover Teixeira. Teixeira is coming off of a big decision win over Rampage Jackson, but he didn't impress to the point that he should be considered for the next title shot. Instead, a matchup with Nogueira would make the most sense.
The two Brazilians have great stand up, are skilled on the ground and won their last fight by decision. What better way to sort out where they belong on the 205 ladder than have them meet in the Octagon?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!