UFC 162 Results: Matches to Make for Entire Fight Card
Chris Weidman did the impossible on Saturday and handed Anderson Silva his first UFC loss.
While most figured Weidman would have to beat Silva with his wrestling, it was a well-placed left hook that downed Silva. Caught with his hands down, Silva saw his title reign of seven years come to a shocking end.
Following his first loss inside the Octagon, Silva will soon compete as a non-champion for the first time in the better part of a decade once he's ready to return. Despite the decisive finish, UFC president Dana White is leaning strongly toward an immediate rematch between Weidman and Silva.
Is that the right fight to make, though?
Here are the matches to make for every competitor on the UFC 162 fight card.
Mike Pierce vs. John Hathaway
Fairly clearly punished for frequent lackluster fights by being placed on the UFC 162 Facebook prelims, Mike Pierce responded with a second-round knockout against David Mitchell.
With four straight wins, and having only lost to past and future UFC welterweight title challengers, Pierce is one of the most underrated fighters in the 170-pound class. With questions answered about his finishing ability, Pierce deserves a step up in competition.
A bout with a fellow grappler like John Hathaway could give Pierce another chance to showcase his clinch striking and potentially make an even bigger statement than the one he made on Saturday.
Seth Baczynski vs. David Mitchell
Seth Baczynski and David Mitchell both fell in UFC 162 welterweight bouts.
Facing UFC newcomer Brian Melancon, Baczynski was blasted with a brutal punch while fighting off of his back in the first round and went unconscious. Mitchell also suffered a knockout loss after being roughed up in the second stanza of his bout with Mike Pierce.
Baczynski and Mitchell both now have recent losses to Pierce and also each holds wins over Simeon Thoresen. At a similar spot in the 170-pound class, Baczynski and Mitchell should meet when they are ready to go again.
Brian Melancon vs. T.J. Waldburger
Brian Melancon doesn't have time to mess around as a 31-year-old UFC newcomer, so he was sure to make quick work of Seth Baczynski in his Octagon debut on Saturday.
After taking Baczynski down in the first round, Melancon stood over his opponent and dropped a devastating left hand that brought his bout to an early end. It was quite the showing after a layoff of two years for the Strikeforce veteran.
While Melancon was impressive over the weekend, don't expect him to be seeing a welterweight contender so soon. Though, if he can also finish dangerous grappler T.J. Waldburger on the ground, Melancon will be a fighter to take very seriously.
Edson Barboza vs. James Krause
Edson Barboza is starting to regain some of the momentum he had prior to his lone UFC loss against Jamie Varner.
For the second time inside the Octagon, Barboza kicked an opponent's leg until they couldn't stand. His win over fellow Brazilian Rafaello Oliveira was an important step in the right direction, but Barboza still needs another win or two before he gets another big bump up in competition.
I'd like to see the UFC continue to bring Barboza back up the lightweight ranks slowly. A fight with James Krause, who is coming off a win over Sam Stout, would be a natural progression.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan
With a 3-1 record since returning to the UFC roster, Gabriel Gonzaga is looking like a legitimately relevant heavyweight again at 34 years old.
On Saturday, Gonzaga picked up a 17-second knockout win over Dave Herman. That finish is likely to bring Herman's UFC tenure to an end, as he was lucky enough to be kept around after three straight stoppage losses. A fourth now will almost certainly send him packing.
As for Gonzaga, he can now look forward to facing an opponent who is coming off a victory. After beating Pat Barry in his latest outing, Shawn Jordan would be a realistic opponent for Gonzaga.
Kazuki Tokudome vs. Rafaello Oliveira
Kazuki Takudome suffered his first UFC loss on Saturday, as his takedown defense failed him multiple times in a closely contested bout with TUF winner Norman Parke.
In a much less competitive fight, Rafaello Oliveira also fell at UFC 162 after being on the receiving end of several Edson Barboza leg kicks.
While Tokudome performed better than Oliveira over the weekend, he did so against a lesser opponent. Tokudome and Oliveira are both still trying to work their way out of the basement in the UFC lightweight division, so a bout between the two makes sense from a sporting perspective.
Norman Parke vs. Mitch Clarke
In his first bout after winning TUF: Smashes, Norman Parke remained undefeated inside the Octagon by beating Kazuki Tokudome.
Parke showed some skill in all areas, but well-timed takedowns were once again his key to victory. Not all wins are created equal in MMA. This is one that probably won't do much to move Parke forward in the lightweight division.
Before he's given a step up in competition, I'd like to see Parke win more impressively against an opponent with one UFC win. Coming off his first UFC victory against John Maguire, Mitch Clarke would be the best matchup for Parke now.
Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara
Chris Leben is going to have to make some tough career decisions very soon.
After his decision loss to Andrew Craig on Saturday, Leben has lost three in a row. He's had the type of career where he's probably going to retire before being released by the UFC and competing in a smaller organization. What needs to be determined is whether that time is now or after another fight or two.
If Leben does return, let's see him in one more slugfest with a fellow veteran brawler like Alessio Sakara.
Andrew Craig vs. C.B. Dollaway
Andrew Craig is putting together a solid UFC resume and should have a bright future in the middleweight division.
While a win over Chris Leben was once something to get excited about, Craig's decision victory on Saturday isn't likely to earn him a significant step up in competition. Since he had lost his prior bout against Ronny Markes, Craig still has some work to do before he competes against 185-pound contenders.
For now, a bout with an opponent who also just got back into the win column will have to do. A fight against C.B. Dollaway could be next for Craig.
Dennis Siver vs. Chad Mendes-Clay Guida Loser
Dennis Siver suffered his first featherweight setback on Saturday, but he's still a threat for a lot of top fighters at 145 pounds.
Though the German kickboxer had some bright spots in his fight with Cub Swanson, he ultimately withered under an outstanding flurry by his opponent in the third round. The knockout loss was Siver's first taste of defeat since facing Swanson's teammate, Donald Cerrone.
Despite the loss, Siver deserves to continue competing against the upper echelon featherweights. If Clay Guida loses to Chad Mendes at UFC 164, Siver could have a good chance at meeting a fellow former lightweight competitor.
Cub Swanson vs. Jose Aldo-Chan Sung Jung Loser
A title shot could be nearing for Cub Swanson, but it's tough to say he's next in line when he's lost to the equally hot Ricardo Lamas.
Still, Swanson proved himself to be one of the top featherweight contenders with his knockout of Dennis Siver on Saturday. Swanson has won five straight now since being submitted by Lamas in his UFC debut.
There's a good chance Ricardo Lamas or Anthony Pettis will be the next 145-pound title challenger, so Swanson could meet to loser of the upcoming featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung. A win in that potential matchup would probably be enough for Swanson to get his chance at UFC gold.
Tim Boetsch vs. Chris Camozzi
Tim Boetsch is a solid middleweight fighter. However, maybe he shouldn't have ever been viewed as such a serious 185-pound contender.
Following his loss to Mark Munoz on Saturday, Boetsch is likely to drop out of the top-10 rankings. Having reached that elite status through a controversial win over Hector Lombard and a knockout victory against Yushin Okami that could very well be labeled a fluke. Perhaps, Boetsch was never as close to the top as he appeared.
It's time for Boetsch to take a step down in competition. A fight with Chris Camozzi could work, as both have decision wins over Nick Ring and are coming off losses now.
Mark Munoz vs. Chael Sonnen-Mauricio Rua Winner
Mark Munoz is back in the hunt for a middleweight title shot, but he'll need a few more wins to generate any interest in a rematch with new divisional champion Chris Weidman.
What better way is there to gain some extra attention than through a bout with Chael Sonnen?
With Anderson Silva no longer atop the 185-pound division, look for Sonnen to return to middleweight following his upcoming bout with Mauricio Rua. Should he drop down after a win, Sonnen would be a great opponent for Munoz's next outing.
Roger Gracie vs. Rousimar Palhares
Roger Gracie is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in MMA, but he showed a number of holes in other areas against Tim Kennedy on Saturday.
Despite his grappling prowess, Gracie was taken down multiple times and still looked a bit lost in the striking department. At 31 years old, Gracie doesn't have a ton of time to make improvements. His surname is also going to force him into tough matchups, as he's already too much of a draw to have the opportunity to work his way up against low-level middleweights.
While he works on the other areas of his game, I'd like to see Gracie set up with grappling matches. A bout against Rousimar Palhares, who will be free from suspension for a failed drug test by September, would be particularly intriguing.
Tim Kennedy vs. Ronny Markes
Tim Kennedy picked up his first UFC win on Saturday, but his somewhat methodical grappling style isn't conducive to overly exciting fights unless he's matched up with someone who can shut him down on occasion.
Grappling with Roger Gracie and still getting his hand raised was impressive, but Kennedy still has some work to do before he can be considered a serious middleweight contender. While Gracie was a big name, Kennedy needs a more well-rounded opponent in his next appearance.
A matchup with Ronny Markes, who is undefeated inside the Octagon and also known for working slowly along the fence, could force Kennedy out of his comfort zone.
Charles Oliveira vs. Hacran Dias
Charles Oliveira may have lost for a second straight time at UFC 162, but he certainly showed he belongs in the same cage as high-level featherweights.
Falling by decision to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, Oliveira took his lumps on Saturday, but he also returned fire on a number of occasions. Oliveira could still use some tweaking, but he's bound to be contending for a UFC belt someday.
After performing well against Edgar, Oliveira shouldn't have to take too much of a step down in competition. Instead, he should meet fellow Brazilian fringe contender Hacran Dias, who also suffered a recent setback against Nik Lentz.
Frankie Edgar vs. Nik Lentz
It was nice to see Frankie Edgar get back into the win column on Saturday, but I'd be willing to bet he would've liked to put together a more dominant performance against non-ranked opponent Charles Oliveira.
Edgar's an elite featherweight fighter. However, it'd be nice to see him pick up a few more wins before he's mentioned in title shot conversations once again.
Let's have the former champion take a small step up in competition for a bout with Nik Lentz, who is undefeated since moving to the featherweight division and looking for the signature win that would put him within striking distance of UFC gold.
Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
In most cases, an immediate rematch following a second-round knockout finish would sound silly. This isn't most cases, though.
Undefeated inside the Octagon for seven years, Anderson Silva has earned the right to have a quick opportunity to reclaim the belt he held for so long. New champion Chris Weidman doesn't have to be persuaded either, as he was already offering Silva a rematch before he even dethroned the long-running titleholder.
Fans can expect Silva to treat Weidman as an equal in the rematch also. While his showboating was fun to watch, a serious and hungry Silva could be even more entertaining.