UFC 163: Predicting Next Opponents for Card's Biggest Winners
UFC 163 proved to be an exciting night of fights as seven of the 12 bouts on the Rio de Janeiro card ended before the final bell.
Among the finishes was another TKO victory for defending featherweight champion Jose Aldo as he finished off an injured Chan Sung Jung in the fourth round and a submission victory for up-and-coming middleweight Cezar Ferreira over Thiago Santos.
Phil Davis provided the controversy for the card as he picked up a unanimous decision against Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision in the evening's co-main event. Despite winning two rounds on each of the judge's scorecards, it's sure to be a debated decision among MMA fans.
With the event now behind us, it's time to take a look at what the future might hold for each of the night's biggest winners.
Cezar Ferreira came into UFC 163 as a relatively unknown commodity despite fighting on the main card of UFC 147. He certainly increased his profile on Saturday night, though.
His 47-second submission victory over Thiago Santos was one of the best performances of the evening.
With back-to-back wins in his first two UFC fights, it might be time for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner to see a step up in competition.
Andrew Craig may be the next logical opponent for "Mutante". Craig is 3-1 in the UFC, coming off of a split decision win over Chris Leben at UFC. The two are similar in age (Ferreira is 28, Craig is 27), experience (eight career fights for Ferreira, 10 for Craig) and record.
After a year outside the Octagon between his last two fights, Ferreira needs to remain busy to build momentum. Craig should be available sooner rather than later with his win over Leben coming in July.
Phil Davis got the nod from the judges in Saturday night's co-main event against Lyoto Machida, but the fight rages on in the court of public opinion.
Machida's style will always lend itself to interesting calls from the judges and that came back to bite him in this one. "Mr. Wonderful" didn't put in the best performance of his career. Machida kept his distance for the most part, but he did score late takedowns in the first and second rounds.
We can sit and debate whether Davis deserved the decision or not, but it's not going to change the outcome. However, Machida has someone very important in his corner. Dana White tweeted that he felt Machida won all three rounds.
Wow!!! I had Machida winning all 3 rds but that's what happens when u leave it up to the judges!— Dana White (@danawhite) August 4, 2013
Looking ahead, a rematch might be in the cards. "The Dragon" really has nowhere to go other than a drop to middleweight if he wants to get anywhere near the belt after this loss, and Davis' win didn't exactly put him over with the fans.
Perhaps a second chance would be enough to convince Machida he needs to do more damage when the opportunity arises.
As expected, Jose Aldo was simply too much for Chan Sung Jung.
As much as we all love watching "The Korean Zombie" fight, he's just not on Aldo's level as a fighter. "Scarface" showed off a strong grappling game that we rarely see from him as he took the challenger down in every round of the fight before earning the stoppage victory.
While Jung's apparent shoulder injury ultimately brought the fight to an end, MMA Junkie reports that the champion thinks he may have broken his foot.
That makes projecting his next opponent difficult as he could be out for a while. That could give the UFC time to make a high-profile rematch between rising contenders Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas to determine who takes on Aldo next.
Both have impressive winning streaks in the division and have a claim to a title shot. Letting them settle it in the Octagon would be even better.
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