UFC 159 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Jon Jones did what was expected of him at UFC 159 and made quick work of challenger Chael Sonnen.
However, after the dust from the champion's record-tying fifth consecutive light heavyweight title defense settled, Jones experienced a rare moment of concern. Just as Jones was about to begin his customary post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan, it was discovered that the UFC 159 headliner had suffered a bad toe injury.
Despite being in obvious pain, Jones was still able to complete a full interview whilst receiving medical attention. Once Jones stepped out of the Octagon, though, questions about what the injury meant for his future could begin.
Thankfully, athletes are not often affected long term by broken bones in their extremities. However, judging by the gruesome appearance of Jones' toe on Saturday, he may not be fighting again anytime soon.
With that in mind, let's take a look at who could be next for Jones and the rest of the UFC 159 competitors.
Cody McKenzie vs. Steven Siler
Cody McKenzie showed some improvement at UFC 159, albeit against an opponent who was also on the verge of being released from the UFC roster. Most important for McKenzie on Saturday was that he found a way to win again Leonard Garcia, who has now lost five straight fights and will likely be looking for a new employer soon.
Coming off of a loss in his previous outing, Steven Siler may have also been on the chopping block at UFC 159, where he welcomed Strikeforce veteran Kurt Holobaugh to the Octagon. In beating Holobaugh by decision, Siler ensured himself a few more UFC appearances and may have sent his opponent packing from the world's top MMA organization.
As McKenzie and Siler try to move forward in the featherweight division, a bout between the two fighters would allow both men to get back to competition quickly.
Johnny Bedford vs. Hugo Viana
Johnny Bedford seemed to have turned a corner following a run on The Ultimate Fighter, but he ran into an even better TUF veteran in Bryan Caraway on Saturday.
Bedford had trouble defending Caraway's takedowns and was eventually trapped in a submission with under a minute remaining in the fight.
With only one week separating their recent losses and no other UFC bantamweight bouts set to take place until a month from now, it would seem Bedford and Hugo Viana will likely be opponents.
Bryan Caraway vs. Erik Perez
Bryan Caraway suffered a controversial split-decision loss against Takeya Mizugaki at UFC on Fuel TV 8, so he jumped at the opportunity to take a UFC 159 bout on short notice.
Despite having little time to prepare, Caraway was clearly the better fighter than Johnny Bedford on Saturday, taking his opponent down repeatedly and picking up a submission win in the third round.
After fighting in back-to-back months, Caraway will probably look to take some time off now. That may make a fight with Erik Perez, who Caraway replaced on the UFC 159 fight card due to injury, possible.
Sheila Gaff vs. Amanda Nunes
Facing off against an Olympic wrestler in Sara McMann, Sheila Gaff didn't have a chance to showcase her striking, the strongest part of her arsenal.
The German was taken down repeatedly and eventually got stuck in a fight-ending crucifix position.
Despite the loss, Gaff should have several more opportunities to prove herself in a women's bantamweight division that's still growing. The UFC should look to give Gaff a fight with a fellow knockout artist, though, so she could welcome Amanda Nunes to the Octagon.
Sara McMann vs. Sarah Kaufman
Sara McMann is still working to become more well-rounded, but she continues to win and will soon have to test herself against the best of the best.
At UFC 159, McMann easily took Sheila Gaff to the ground and ended up punching her way to a finish from a mounted crucifix position.
Considered one of the biggest threats to women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, McMann should see a bump up in competition. A fight with former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman will give a good indication of whether or not McMann's ready to fight for the belt.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Fabio Maldonado-Roger Hollett Winner
Ovince St. Preux picked up his first UFC win on Saturday, but it wasn't a victory he'll take much pleasure in.
After accidentally poking opponent Gian Villante in the eye early in the third round, St. Preux was named the winner by technical decision. It was a controversial call that could cost Villante his UFC job, as his debut bout was not overly entertaining prior to the unfortunate ending.
St. Preux did not impress many in his first Octagon appearance and will have to work his way up from near the bottom of the light heavyweight division. That's why a matchup against the winner of a UFC on FX 8 bout between low-ranked 205-pounders Fabio Maldonado and Roger Hollett would make sense.
Yancy Medeiros vs. Vinc Pichel
Unlike the fight between Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante, a matchup featuring Rustam Khabilov and Yancy Medeiros was stopped by injury before it really even had a chance to get started. For that reason, Medeiros is likely to get another shot at competing inside the Octagon despite a loss in his UFC debut.
Midway through the first round, Medeiros stopped fighting and directed attention toward a finger that was badly injured and rendered him unable to continue.
Once he's healed and ready to go again, Medeiros could meet Vinc Pichel, a fighter who also lost to Khabilov in his most recent outing.
Rustam Khabilov vs. Gleison Tibau-John Cholish Winner
Rustam Khabilov remained undefeated inside the Octagon on Saturday, but he definitely would have like to win in just about any other fashion than he did.
A freak finger injury suffered by opponent Yancy Medeiros brought an early end to Khabilov's second UFC bout. Though it was early in the bout, Khabilov once again appeared to have a clear edge over his adversary in the grappling department.
Becoming most known for his impressive suplex, Khabilov should meet a fellow grappler in his next fight. Should Gleison Tibau beat John Cholish at UFC on FX 8, he'd provide a good test for Khabilov.
Jim Miller vs. Rafael dos Anjos-Evan Dunham Loser
In a battle of grinders, Jim Miller couldn't outlast Pat Healy at UFC 159.
Miller started out strong, scoring a takedown and maintaining top position for a good portion of the first round. However, Healy made Miller work constantly and took over once the New Jersey native began to fade.
It's now been more than two years since Miller won back-to-back fights, so a fight with an opponent outside the top 10 should be in order. A bout with the loser of a UFC on FX 8 matchup between Rafael dos Anjos and Evan Dunham could be interesting.
Pat Healy vs. Nate Diaz
Pat Healy proved he is a serious contender in the lightweight division at UFC 159 by submitting a tough veteran in Jim Miller.
While I rarely go against the trend of matching winning fighters with fellow winners and losing fighters with fellow losers, I think this is a situation where Healy could still benefit from taking on an opponent who was defeated in his last outing.
Though Nate Diaz was recently defeated by Josh Thomson, his name would bring a lot of attention to Healy. Since the well-conditioned Diaz has also submitted Miller in the past, a bout with Healy would also be highly entertaining on the ground and could still be considered a slight step up in competition for the recent Strikeforce import.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Glover Teixeira-James Te-Huna Loser
It looked as though Vinny Magalhaes came into UFC 159 expecting Phil Davis to take his fight to the ground for him. With improved striking, it turned out Davis didn't need to use his wrestling at all.
Magalhaes had no answer for the speedy 1-2 combinations from Davis and ended up losing via decision.
While the Brazilian failed to break into the top-10 rankings as a result of the loss, he's still one of the better fighters in the division outside of those elite contenders. A bout with the loser of a UFC 160 fight between Glover Teixeira and James Te-Huna could get Magalhaes back on the track toward title contention.
Cheick Kongo vs. Stefan Struve
Cheick Kongo continued his struggles against top-10 heavyweights on Saturday.
Though known primarily as a striker, Kongo left a huge opening for Roy Nelson's overhand right and was finished early in his UFC 159 matchup.
While he's proven to be less than elite in the striking department recently, Kongo is still most fun to watch against aggressive opponents who stand with him. A bout against Stefan Struve fits that mold and would be an intriguing bout to get one of the two heavyweights back into the win column.
Roy Nelson vs. Daniel Cormier
Though he may not be able to beat the best the heavyweight division has to offer, Roy Nelson continues to succeed against opponents he's supposed to beat.
On Saturday, it only took two significant strikes for Nelson to turn the lights out on Cheick Kongo's night.
While I was prepared to match Nelson up with Travis Browne, who also scored a first-round knockout in his recent fight with Gabriel Gonzaga, "Big Country" essentially had his next opponent named at the post-fight press conference.
After UFC president Dana White suggested a potential fight between Nelson and Daniel Cormier, the latter tweeted in acceptance of the proposed matchup.
Alan Belcher vs. Costa Philippou-Ronaldo Souza Loser
At UFC 159, Alan Belcher came up short on a second straight opportunity to beat a top-10 middleweight.
Though his fight ended with an unfortunate eye poke, it was clear Michael Bisping was on his way toward winning via decision anyway. What's concerning is that Belcher is not long removed from a career-threatening eye injury, and his right eye did not appear to be in good shape as he left the Octagon on Saturday.
Assuming Belcher is able to make a full recovery, his next fight should come against the loser of a UFC on FX 8 matchup between Costa Philippou and Ronaldo Souza.
Michael Bisping vs. Yushin Okami
Michael Bisping rebounded well from his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, quickly returning to the win column at UFC 159.
Though many believed he had an edge in the wrestling department, Bisping chose to stand with Alan Belcher and picked his opponent apart with crisp punches. The British fighter's conditioning also allowed him to pull away in the later rounds.
Aside from heavy hitters like Belfort and Dan Henderson, the only other opponents to give Bisping problems in the past have been top-notch wrestlers. If Bisping can make some tweaks from his loss to Chael Sonnen and beat Yushin Okami later this year, it would show the TUF winner has made enough improvement to warrant another shot at one of the top contenders in the 185-pound division.
Chael Sonnen vs. Phil Davis
Chael Sonnen came up short of UFC gold once again on Saturday, though it was expected that he'd find it extremely difficult to defeat Jon Jones.
Though Sonnen hinted at retirement in his post-fight interview on the UFC 159 pay-per-view broadcast, there is still a possibility of him earning another shot at a UFC belt with Jones contemplating a move to heavyweight, and middleweight champion Anderson Silva possibly nearing the end of his career.
If Sonnen continues competing, a bout with fellow wrestler and UFC 159 fighter Phil Davis would provide an interesting ground battle and could give the outspoken title challenger a chance to remain relevant in the light heavyweight title picture.
Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida-Alexander Gustafsson Winner
Jon Jones tied the UFC light heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses by beating Chael Sonnen at UFC 159.
Though it was a successful night for Jones, Saturday ended with questions surrounding the champion's injured toe. Judging by the apparent seriousness of his injury, it seems unlikely Jones would return to the Octagon soon.
A layoff for Jones would give the UFC a chance to book a fight between top light heavyweight contenders Lyoto Machida and Alexander Gustafsson. Once he's healthy, Jones could fight the winner of that matchup in a bout that would allow him to break the title-defense record he now shares with Tito Ortiz.