UFC on FX 8: What's Next for the Losers
UFC on FX 8 has come and gone, and the focus is now on the victors of the evening. However, there are 13 others fighters who competed on the card.
Not all will stay with the promotion, but many will get another shot at UFC glory.
In the main event, No. 5-ranked Luke Rockhold got dropped by a spectacular spinning back kick from a UFC legend. Vitor Belfort finished Rockhold off with some big ground-and-pound. It was an unfortunate end for Rockhold, but the loss will not define his career.
Ranked fighters and unranked alike failed on Saturday.
This is what is potentially next for the losers of UFC on FX 8.
Fighters Cut (or Retired)
Jeremy Larsen was winning his fight against Lucas Martins until the lights were shut off just 13 seconds into the third and final round. Larsen is now 0-2 in the UFC.
Losing two straight when you are opening a card is not a good sign. It's possible he could get another shot, but the lightweight talent pool is quite full. It should be back to the regional circuit for him.
Another 0-2 UFC fighter is Roger Hollett, who did not look at all impressive against Fabio Maldonado. He should hit the breadline.
Lastly, John Cholish will not be returning. However, that is by his own choice. The talented fighter tweeted that he is calling it a career in fighting. He is a successful Wall Street broker, and that's where he'll be spending his days from now on. Congrats to Cholish for going out like he wants.
Chris Cariaso was the No. 7-ranked flyweight, but he was unable to upend the No. 5-ranked Jussier Formiga.
What's good for Cariaso is that he was competitive against one of the best fighters in the division. He got a chance to show he deserves to remain in the top 10.
Another top-10 flyweight who recently lost and would be a good choice for Cariaso's next opponent is: Darren Uyenoyama.
Uyenoyama was systematically dismantled by Joseph Benavidez in his last fight, but he was 2-0 in the UFC prior to that. A fight against Cariaso makes sense for both men. It will put the winner back in line for yet another top-10 fight in the division.
Azamat Gashimov and Iliarde Santos
Azamat Gashimov and Iliarde Santos were both finished in their bouts. While they were in different divisions on Saturday, Santos should drop to 125.
The flyweight division is not deep with talent at this time. The UFC needs to hire some more fighters for the division.
Both these fighters are in roughly the same place following UFC on FX 8.
Gashimov vs. Santos makes a lot of sense for a future card. The other available flyweights are mostly ranked fighters. Unless the UFC highers some more talent, it's tough to see these two not meeting up later this year.
Welterweight Michel Prazeres looked good early on in his bout against Paulo Thiago, but the veteran came on strong in the final two rounds.
This was a solid debut for Prazeres, one that will serve him well in his next fight. He got introduced to the organization and went at it with one of the veterans of the division. He'll come back better.
Recent welterweight losers have found themselves cut from the organization. That's not likely to happen to a debuting fighter like Prazeres. Another fighter who made his UFC debut is Quinn Mulhern, and he has yet to be cut.
Both fighters lost their last fights, and they match up well. It's a good Facebook preliminary fight.
Mike Rio got an early takedown against Francisco Trinaldo, but that was about the extent of his offense in the fight. Trinaldo rebounded and took the victory shortly after.
Rio is now 1-1 in the UFC. A good choice for his next opponent is Daron Cruickshank.
Not only is Cruickshank coming off a loss, but both men are former The Ultimate Fighter: Live cast members who were defeated in the opening round of the tournament.
They were on opposing teams on the show and are familiar with one another. It would make for a fun bout on a future The Ultimate Fighter undercard.
Hacran Dias made a successful UFC debut over Yuri Alcantara in 2012, but he was unable to follow that up on Saturday night against Nik Lentz.
Dias had been lined up with other good featherweights previously, but injuries prevented those fights from happening. One of those was Manny Gamburyan. That's not an unappealing fight.
Gamburyan was last seen in August of 2012. If he is healthy, a fight with Dias makes sense.
They are two fun featherweights to watch, but both are on the outside of the top 10. The UFC may chose to line Gamburyan up with a fighter coming off a win, but if it doesn't, it should just reschedule this fight for later in 2013.
Joao Zeferino and Chris Camozzi
Joao Zeferino didn't exactly impress at UFC on FX 8, but he'll get another shot in the UFC.
I wouldn't look too far for his next opponent. Co-main event loser Chris Camozzi would be a fine choice.
Camozzi was outgunned against Jacare Souza, and it didn't take long.
However, he's a solid middleweight. Matching him up with Zeferino would be a solid returning fight for him.
As they were both on the same card, the timing works out well. It's an easy fight to make. It's a more favorable matchup for Camozzi, but that may be what the UFC is looking for.
Poor Evan Dunham. He did enough to defeat Rafael dos Anjos, but the judges decided otherwise. It's not the first time it's happened to him.
If the UFC wants to reward Dunham, a fight against a top-10 lightweight such as Jim Miller or Nate Diaz would be a quality fight for all. Both fighters and fans would be treated to a good lightweight bout.
Both Diaz and Miller are coming off recent losses, but they remain top opponents for Dunham.
The UFC doesn't have to search hard for quality opposition for him. The lightweight division could do well with a competitive fight between Dunham and either man.
Luke Rockhold, former Strikeforce middleweight champion, should find no shame in being caught by Vitor Belfort. He's not the first top-tier fighter to suffer that fate.
Rockhold entered as the No. 5 middleweight, but he won't fall too far in the rankings. He's still one of the best middleweights in the world.
The UFC could put him in another top-10 matchup right away, but he'd likely be fighting someone who is coming off a win. Instead, it should look lower in order to give Rockhold a favorable matchup to rebuild his confidence.
Yoel Romero is a fine choice. He is a middleweight coming off an impressive performance, but he is still working his way up the ladder in the division. It's a golden opportunity for Romero and a challenging fight for Rockhold.
The UFC benefits from either man winning, and the fans would get a good middleweight duel.