UFC 156 Results: Five Fights for Antonio Silva to Take Next

McKinley Noble@KenTheGreat1Correspondent IFebruary 4, 2013

UFC 156 Results: Five Fights for Antonio Silva to Take Next

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    Everyone raise your hands if you expected Antonio Silva to defeat Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 via crippling knockout blows.

    Really? Just a few of you in the back row?

    That's not a problem—many of us didn't expect him to win, either.

    But regardless, "Bigfoot" Silva has pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC heavyweight history, defeating the very same man who ushered his departure from the Blackzilians camp in Florida.

    Question is, what the heck does the UFC do with Silva now?

    Read along as we rack our brains to figure out Bigfoot's place in the UFC heavyweight division, with a particularly long look at a rematch with the current champion.

Cain Velasquez

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    By finishing Alistair Overeem in such devastating fashion, Antonio Silva has thrown a huge wrench into the UFC's plans for the heavyweight title picture.

    But will "Bigfoot" be rewarded with a title shot?

    Right now, it seems unlikely. After all, it wasn't that long ago that Silva suffered a horrifically bloody mauling (via Fuel TV) at the hands of the current champion, Cain Velasquez.

    From a matchmaking standpoint, it was also the kind of loss that probably wouldn't have anyone thinking that a second fight would go any differently.

    And yet, this is still the best fight for the UFC to make.

    Like it not, Bigfoot has stomped the No. 1 challenger, and he's the highest ranked heavyweight in the division coming off a win. Pitting the UFC Heavyweight Champion against the lineal UFC/MMA champion isn't a bad call.

Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier Winner

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    For the upcoming fight between Frank Mir and Daniel Cormier at UFC on Fox 7, the matchmaking prospects are more open if Mir walks away the winner.

    Not only is Daniel Cormier another heavyweight who owns a dominant win over Antonio Silva, but he's also seemingly dead set on dropping to 205 pounds as long as his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Cain Velasquez remains champion.

    Perhaps Cormier could be persuaded to stick around for a rematch against Silva, but that would likely come with the assumption that Velasquez would make a title defense by then.

    Thankfully, Mir has no such personal or professional entanglements to worry about—and should he put the brakes on Cormier's hype train, that just elevates him right back into the title picture.

Josh Barnett

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    Assuming that Dana White is successful in negotiating a contract with Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva would make a great welcoming guest to the one-time UFC heavyweight title-holder.

    Barnett's history of steroid use and long MMA career make it obvious that he won't be thrown any softballs if he signs with the UFC, so giving him a tough title contender right off the bat is honestly the best use of his time.

    If he loses to Silva, that gives "Bigfoot" another win against a divisional legend and a credible claim as a No. 1 contender.

    And if Barnett wins, that would beautifully post him up for matches with several heavyweights, including the champion himself or the Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier winner.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Fabricio Werdum Winner

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    This recommendation is another puzzling match-up that comes with an asterisk, as Antonio Silva is very unlikely to fight one of these men.

    That would be Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a member of Brazilian supercamp "Black House"—also known as "Team Nogueira."

    When Silva left the Blackzilians camp run by Rashad Evans (due in part to the arrival of Alistair Overeem), Black House took in the giant, tuning his MMA game into something a bit more dangerous.

    An affiliation like that would make Silva unlikely to fight his own teammate if "Big Nog" defeats Werdum in their planned bout after filming Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.

    But Werdum wins, the path is much more clear.

    Putting Silva vs. Werdum on a card as a title eliminator sets up a good contender for the heavyweight title, with the added benefit of the bout being a rematch of their first encounter in Strikeforce.

Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt Winner

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    But if every other top-flight heavyweight is tied up (or the UFC simply doesn't want to send Antonio Silva up the ladder), there's always the "freak show" option.

    Both Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt will put their respective winning steaks on the line during UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Japan, and judging by the size difference between the two, this is equal parts division clean-up and "weirdness for weirdness' sake" matchmaking.

    If Struve beats Hunt at the Saitama Super Arena, the UFC would do well to pair him up with Silva in a "Battle of the Giants" main event for a TV card.

    Hunt could also walk away with the win, and should that happen, it'll be time to seriously consider the 38-year-old Pride FC veteran as a legitimate threat to the title—and a potential opponent for Silva.