UFC Fight Night 26 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Chael Sonnen wrapped up his short light heavyweight run in style at UFC Fight Night 26.
During the main event of the UFC debut on Fox Sports 1, Sonnen shocked Mauricio "Shogun" Rua with a guillotine choke in the first round. The submission marked his first stoppage victory in the 205-pound division.
Now, Sonnen is likely to return to the middleweight class, where there are plenty of options for him. Where will he start his run at a third 185-pound title shot?
Here is a look at what should be next for Sonnen and the rest of the UFC Fight Night 26 fighters.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Tiequan Zhang
Ramsey Nijem has been stopped by fellow Ultimate Fighter veterans in back-to-back fights. His UFC roster spot is now undoubtedly in jeopardy.
With a respectable 3-3 UFC record, though, Nijem may have earned the right to avoid a third straight loss before being released.
If he does stick around, Nijem's next bout could be a loser-leaves-town matchup with Tiequan Zhang.
James Vick vs. Al Iaquinta-Ryan Couture Winner
After appearing on TUF 15, James Vick took quite awhile to make his official UFC debut.
On Saturday, Vick finally stepped into the Octagon and made quick work of fellow TUF veteran Ramsey Nijem. Less than 60 seconds into the matchup, he secured a guillotine choke and forced Nijem to tap.
Vick's next fight should come against another fighter who just won his first UFC bout. The winner of a UFC 164 matchup between Al Iaquinta and Ryan Couture would be a logical opponent. There would be an intriguing storyline heading into a bout between Vick and Iaquinta, who both lost to Michael Chiesa during TUF 15 competition.
Cody Donovan vs. Cyrille Diabate
Cody Donovan suffered his first UFC loss on Saturday.
Ovince St. Preux wound up on top of him in the first round and began landing some heavy ground-and-pound. A left hand eventually found its way behind Donovan's guard and led to a St. Preux victory.
There are a few options for Donovan's next outing, but a bout with Cyrille Diabate could make the most sense.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Anthony Perosh
Following a controversial win over Gian Villante in his UFC debut, Ovince St. Preux won much more decisively in his second trip to the Octagon.
The Strikeforce veteran made quick work of Cody Donovan with ground-and-pound. St. Preux has now only lost once in his past 12 fights, and that lone defeat came against Gegard Mousasi.
A bout with Anthony Perosh, who is also coming off of a first-round knockout win, could now be coming up for St. Preux.
Manny Gamburyan vs. Rani Yahya
For the first time since April 2010, Manny Gamburyan has won consecutive fights.
The former WEC title contender took Cole Miller down five times over three rounds to earn a decision win. Although he landed fewer significant strikes than Miller, Gamburyan spent a good portion of the fight in the top position, and that made the difference to the judges.
A bout with world-class grappler Rani Yahya would provide a tougher test for Gamburyan's next outing.
Daniel Pineda vs. Hacran Dias
Daniel Pineda survived a first-round beating against Diego Brandao, but he still came up short on the scorecards at UFC Fight Night 26.
Although Pineda tightened the gap in the later rounds, it was clear that recovering from punishment in the first stanza took a lot out of him. With losses now in three of his past four bouts, he needs to get things turned around quickly.
For his next bout, Pineda should meet another Brazilian in Hacran Dias, who is also coming off of a decision loss.
Mike Brown vs. Marcus Brimage
Don't be surprised if Mike Brown doesn't step into the Octagon again.
The former WEC champion has contemplated retirement in the past and probably will again following his knockout loss to Steven Siler on Saturday. Brown fought aggressively against Siler before running into a short uppercut that helped put him away.
If he does come back to go out on a higher note, a bout with Marcus Brimage could be next.
Steven Siler vs. Rony Jason-Jeremy Stephens Winner
Steven Siler has made a home for himself in the UFC featherweight division.
After knocking out former WEC champion Mike Brown, Siler has won five of six fights in the UFC's 145-pound class. While he's still a few wins away from being considered a contender, he has earned himself job security.
Now, a bout with the winner of an upcoming matchup between Rony Jason and Jeremy Stephens would make sense for Siler.
Max Holloway vs. Cole Miller
At 21 years old, Max Holloway may have a bright future in the UFC, but he ran into an opponent with an even brighter future ahead of him on Saturday.
Holloway was picked apart early by the striking of Conor McGregor at UFC Fight Night 26. Once he began finding an answer for his adversary's stand-up offense, potentially with the help of a McGregor knee injury, Holloway then had trouble stuffing takedowns.
Another fighter who had difficulty defending takedowns over the weekend was Cole Miller. Miller was taken down five times over three rounds against Manny Gamburyan and lost in a decision.
It may now make sense for lanky featherweights Holloway and Miller to meet one another, which would ensure one of them gets back on track.
Conor McGregor vs. Diego Brandao
Despite a knee injury, Conor McGregor made sure his hype train will keep on rolling.
The Irishman worked his boxing early on against Max Holloway before resorting to grappling to close out a decision win at UFC Fight Night 26. Now 2-0 inside the Octagon, McGregor is one step closer to proving all of the promotion around him is deserved.
Diego Brandao wasn't flawless on Saturday, but he kept moving forward with a third straight win.
After battering Pineda in the opening round, Brandao faded and hung on for a decision victory. In the first round, though, there aren't many featherweights better than the TUF winner.
McGregor and Brandao are two of the most entertaining and promising fighters in the featherweight division. The first round of a bout between them would be packed with action and could result in one fighter being finished.
Brad Pickett vs. Scott Jorgensen
Brad Pickett put his toughness on display once again on Saturday, but that wasn't enough for the British fighter to overcome Michael McDonald.
McDonald blasted Pickett with punches in the first round, and the fight looked to be nearly finished. However, Pickett made it into the second stanza before getting caught in a triangle choke and having to tap.
While he has already fought Scott Jorgensen, a rematch of the WEC 50 Fight of the Night would be a fun one to run back and would allow one fighter to return to title contention.
Joe Lauzon vs. Fabricio Camoes
Joe Lauzon's stock took a big hit at UFC Fight Night 26.
Prior to Saturday, Lauzon was considered a fringe contender and was heavily favored to beat Michael Johnson in his hometown of Boston. However, he had no answer for Johnson's speed and couldn't find a way to drag the fight to the ground, where he was expected to have a significant advantage.
Now with back-to-back losses, Lauzon needs to take a big step down in competition. A bout with Fabricio Camoes could produce some entertaining grappling.
Michael Johnson vs. Bobby Green
Michael Johnson silenced Boston on Saturday.
A massive underdog heading into his bout with Bostonian Joe Lauzon, Johnson was quicker with his strikes and completely shut down Lauzon's grappling for three rounds. It was a win that showed Johnson may finally be ready to reach the potential many felt he had as a TUF runner-up.
Still, he will need another win or two before he meets top-10 lightweights. A bout with Bobby Green will determine whether or not Johnson has stepped up his game or just met Lauzon on the right night.
Uriah Hall vs. Jared Hamman-Magnus Cedenblad Loser
Sold as one of the most dangerous strikers to ever emerge from TUF, Uriah Hall is on the verge of being named one of the bigger busts in UFC history.
Hall's offensive output was low at UFC Fight Night 26, and it ended up costing him on the scorecards.
With an 0-2 UFC record, it really wouldn't be shocking if he got released. However, he'll probably get one last shot to prove himself because of his popularity. That shot should come against the loser of an upcoming bout between Jared Hamman and Magnus Cedenblad.
John Howard vs. Thales Leites
John Howard returned to the UFC with an upset win on Saturday.
After two years away from the Octagon, Howard defeated Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 26. It wasn't a dominant performance, but he did enough in all areas to pick up an important victory on the scorecards.
A bout with Thales Leites, who also recently returned to the UFC with a win, would now be interesting for Howard.
Mike Pyle vs. Jordan Mein
Mike Pyle saw a lengthy winning streak come to an end at the hands of Matt Brown on Saturday.
Though known as a tough welterweight, Pyle could not withstand Brown's first-round onslaught and was knocked out quickly. The loss was his first in two years.
At 37 years old, it's tough to say how much longer Pyle will continue fighting. His next bout could come against the much younger Jordan Mein, who is also coming off of a loss to Brown.
Matt Brown vs. Nate Marquardt-Hector Lombard Winner
Matt Brown continued on his warpath to the top of the welterweight class this Saturday.
It took him only 29 seconds to stop Mike Pyle. Now with six straight wins, the only thing keeping Brown from title shot conversation is a win over a championship-level opponent.
A victory over the winner of an upcoming bout between former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt and former Bellator MMA champion Hector Lombard would put Brown in the hunt for his first shot at a UFC title.
Iuri Alcantara vs. Takeya Mizugaki-Erik Perez Loser
Iuri Alcantara didn't beat Urijah Faber at UFC Fight Night 26, but he proved he's a fighter to keep an eye on in the bantamweight division.
Although he ultimately lost in a decision, Alcantara had Faber in some bad spots throughout the first round. The Brazilian is an excellent grappler and aggressive striker capable of causing problems for a lot of elite 135-pound fighters.
A bout with the loser of an upcoming matchup between Takeya Mizugaki and Erik Perez should give Alcantara a good chance to get back into the win column.
Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald
Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald both took big steps back toward the top of the bantamweight division on Saturday.
Faber earned a third straight victory by utilizing his wrestling against Iuri Alcantara. Earlier on the UFC Fight Night 26 card, McDonald overwhelmed Brad Pickett with boxing and finished the Englishman off with a triangle choke.
With the possibility of Dominick Cruz returning in 2014 for a bout against the winner of a scheduled interim championship matchup between Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland, Faber and McDonald could meet in a title shot eliminator soon.
Alistair Overeem vs. Pat Barry
Alistair Overeem suffered another setback on Saturday. Like it did against Antonio Silva, this one came in comeback fashion.
Overeem nearly had Travis Browne finished in the UFC Fight Night 26 co-main event. However, in the final minute of the first round, he got caught with a front kick and was knocked out for a second straight time.
There's a good chance that the UFC will decide Overeem isn't worth is pay now. If he does remain on the UFC roster, though, a bout with fellow kickboxer Pat Barry could produce fireworks.
Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum
From the brink of defeat, Travis Browne earned his biggest MMA win on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Hawaiian was nearly finished in the first round. But later in the same stanza, Browne landed a front kick out of nowhere and put Alistair Overeem away.
Now one of the top contenders in the heavyweight division, Browne may get an opportunity to meet Fabricio Werdum in a title shot eliminator.
Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson
Mauricio Rua may be declining early in a career that has been punishing on his body.
Although he has shown signs of having top-notch jiu-jitsu in the past, he found himself trapped in a Chael Sonnen guillotine choke on Saturday. After a brief struggle, the former champion was forced to tap, marking his third loss in four bouts.
Many have wanted to see Rua fight Dan Henderson again in a rematch of their legendary UFC 139 bout. Now that both veterans are on losing streaks, that matchup may make sense again in an effort to get one of them back into the win column.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
Chael Sonnen may have set himself up for another middleweight title run.
Prior to meeting Mauricio Rua on Saturday, Sonnen was expected to move to 185 pounds regardless of his results over the weekend. After submitting Rua, he now has the momentum to make a quick run at the middleweight championship.
Before meeting top contenders, though, Sonnen has a score to settle. He and Wanderlei Silva have been feuding for years, and it's about time they worked things out inside the Octagon.