UFC on Fox 8: 5 Fights for Liz Carmouche to Take Next
Liz Carmouche got back on the winning track at UFC on Fox 8 with a TKO stoppage of Jessica Andrade.
Andrade came in as one of the top prospects, and she fought admirably against the No. 5 bantamweight in the world.
Carmouche got the takedown early in the second round and used her strong top game to pummel Andrade. The young Brazilian did well to survive for as long as she did, but eventually referee Herb Dean saw enough to stop to the action.
The win makes Carmouche's next move interesting. Four of the top six fighters are already booked in fights, and No. 1 Cat Zingano is injured.
Here are five possibilities for Carmouche's next fight.
No. 5: Winner of Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey
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This is the least likely option, but with such a thin division, it is on the table for matchmaker Sean Shelby.
Carmouche came the closest to defeating Ronda Rousey earlier in 2013 when she nearly had a rear-naked choke. Rousey survived, shrugged Carmouche off and eventually submitted her with the patented armbar.
It was the second time that Carmouche was close to nabbing a title belt. In 2011, she lost to champion Marloes Coenen in Strikeforce.
If the other contenders fail to impress, she would be a nice challenger for the women's bantamweight championship.
No. 4: Germaine De Randamie
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At UFC on Fox 8, Germaine de Randamie picked up her second straight victory with a decision win over Julie Kedzie.
With both of the ranked bantamweights on the card, it makes sense to pit them up against each other. It would be a step backward for Carmouche but an excellent challenge for de Randamie.
Carmouche has fought excellent strikers in the past, but no one on the level of de Randamie. On the other hand, Carmouche's strong wrestling will be a significant problem for the No. 10-ranked bantamweight, de Randamie.
If the other ladies in the division get booked, this is a quality fallback fight for the UFC.
No. 3: Winner of Sarah Kaufman vs. Sara McMann
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Sarah Kaufman and Sara McMann will meet in Indianapolis on August 28. The two top-five bantamweights could be battling it out for a shot at the title, but if not, Carmouche could be waiting for the winner.
If the winner of Kaufman vs. McMann impresses, the UFC will probably reward her with a title shot since Cat Zingano is on the mend. They are the elite of the division, and the fight should warrant some media coverage as it gets closer.
If the winner doesn't get the title shot, it only makes sense to have her fight Carmouche for that honor.
There is no question that this fight would be for the next No. 1 contender.
No. 2: Alexis Davis
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Alexis Davis is one of the best grapplers in the division, and she has been on a roll since losing to Sarah Kaufman by decision in early 2012.
In that fight, Davis closed out the fight strong in the third, but it was a little too late. She is 3-0 since that fight.
The No. 6 bantamweight would be a good test for Carmouche, and the bout could produce a title challenger.
After an underwhelming debut against a tough and crafty veteran in Rosi Sexton, Davis needs a marquee bout to show just how good she is. This would be one of the best fights in the division if it were to happen.
No. 1: Cat Zingano
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How likely is this fight? That depends on Cat Zingano's recovery from ACL surgery.
The typical recovery time is six to nine months, which would put her back in action in early 2014. It would be a long wait for Carmouche, but it would be a title contender's bout.
Zingano could come right back into title contention, but the UFC may not want to thrust her into a main event fight coming off such a significant injury. If that's the case, Carmouche is the fighter to pit against her.
The fight would kick off 2014 with a strong women's bantamweight clash. If Zingano's recovery is going well, the UFC should tab Carmouche for her return bout.