UFC 165 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Jon Jones entered the Octagon as confident as ever on Saturday, but he left it realizing he had just squeaked by in a fight with an opponent he'll no doubt have to see again.
Never had the champion been taken down inside the Octagon heading into UFC 165, but Gustafsson grounded the champion in the first round. The challenger also shut down 10 of Jones' 11 takedown attempts over five rounds.
It took a late surge from Jones in the fourth and fifth rounds to defend his championship. In having his hand raised on Saturday, he became the most dominant light heavyweight champion in UFC history, despite being less than dominant against Gustafsson.
Will Gustafsson receive an immediate rematch?
Here are the fights that should be next for Jones, Gustafsson and the rest of the UFC 165 competitors.
Nandor Guelmino vs. Nikita Krylov
Without a win in his first two bouts under the Zuffa banner, Nandor Guelmino could be released.
He was a massive underdog in his Strikeforce fight with Josh Barnett, though. Since nobody expected him to win that matchup, and because he did show some promise in the second round of his UFC 165 bout with Daniel Omielanczuk, Guelmino may be given one more chance to prove himself inside the Octagon.
Another European heavyweight battle against Nikita Krylov could be intriguing. Krylov was also unsuccessful in his UFC debut, so a matchup between the Ukrainian and Guelmino could serve as a loser-leaves-town bout.
Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Winner of Jared Rosholt vs. Walter Harris
Daniel Omielanczuk has to work on his conditioning if he's going to be a heavyweight who throws head kicks with such frequency. However, the UFC newcomer did show some promise at UFC 165.
Though he was fading in the later rounds, he was able to muster enough energy to drop and finish Nandor Guelmino with a big left hand in the closing minutes.
Coming off his first UFC win, Omielanczuk should continue to ease his way into the UFC heavyweight division with a bout against a fellow successful promotional newcomer. The Polish heavyweight should fight the winner of a The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale bout between Jared Rosholt and Walter Harris.
Jesse Ronson vs. Loser of Allan Patrick vs. Garett Whitely
Jesse Ronson came up short in his UFC debut, but the 27-year-old showed promise in the later rounds of his bout with Michel Prazeres.
After being dominated on the ground through much of the first half of his fight at UFC 165, Ronson turned things around with his striking. The Canadian displayed some fancy footwork and closed the gap on the scorecards, but two judges still favored Prazeres after three rounds.
Coming off a loss in his first UFC appearance, Ronson should meet a fellow unsuccessful UFC newcomer. Allan Patrick and Garett Whitely will meet at UFC Fight Night 29, and Ronson should be next for the loser of that matchup.
Michel Prazeres vs. Winner of Allan Patrick vs. Garett Whitely
After losing to Paulo Thiago at welterweight in his UFC debut, Michel Prazeres made a wise decision to move to 155 pounds.
He was able to go to his grappling without being outmuscled at UFC 165. Early on, Prazeres dominated Jesse Ronson on the canvas, and that was enough for him to earn a win on the scorecards despite fading as the fight went along.
With his first UFC win, he can now look forward to meeting an opponent who is coming off a victory inside the Octagon. The winner of a UFC Fight Night 29 matchup between Allan Patrick and Garett Whiteley will also have one UFC win on his record, so he'd be a logical opponent for Prazeres.
Renee Forte vs. Vinc Pichel
Renee Forte has been alternating wins and losses, and his pattern continued with a knockout loss to John Makdessi at UFC 165.
A win over Terry Etim in February had Forte looking like a promising lightweight. However, the Brazilian didn't have time to try and take Makdessi to the ground before getting flattened with a right hand that landed behind his ear.
Now, he will likely meet an opponent also coming off a loss. A matchup with fellow The Ultimate Fighter veteran Vinc Pichel, who was also knocked out in the first round of his most recent outing, makes sense for Forte.
Dustin Kimura vs. Norifumi Yamamoto
Undefeated heading into UFC 165, Dustin Kimura was handed his first loss in a bout with Mitch Gagnon.
Though noted for his grappling, Kimura was put to sleep with a guillotine choke in the first round. Before getting caught in the submission, though, he was battered by power punches from the aggressive Gagnon.
Despite the loss, the 24-year-old is still a bright prospect in the bantamweight division. A bout with a big name on the decline, like Norifumi Yamamoto, would give him a chance to bounce back and regain the momentum he lost on Saturday.
Yamamoto has lost five of his past six bouts, so a step down in competition is in order. He'll be fighting for his UFC job the next time he steps into the Octagon.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Winner of Erik Perez vs. Edwin Figueroa
Two straight wins after losing to Bryan Caraway in his UFC debut, Mitch Gagnon is now looking like a bantamweight to watch.
At UFC 165, he pressed Dustin Kimura with powerful punches before jumping on a guillotine choke that would put his opponent to sleep. In choking his adversary unconscious, Gagnon became the first fighter to defeat Kimura and likely earned a step up in competition.
While they are coming off losses, Erik Perez and Edwin Figueroa are two of the more promising unranked fighters in the 135-pound class. The UFC matchmakers would do well to match Gagnon with the winner of that bout at UFC 167.
Chris Clements vs. Nick Catone
With one win, which came via split decision, in three UFC appearances, Chris Clements' UFC roster spot could be in jeopardy.
In Stephen Thompson, Clements ran into one of the better strikers in the welterweight division. The Canadian made it interesting in the first round, but he was overwhelmed in front of his home crowd when Thompson opened up in the second stanza.
Though it's possible Clements could be released, he has only suffered one official UFC loss, with another being overturned to a no-contest due to a Matt Riddle failed drug test. Should Clements get another shot inside the Octagon, it will likely be a loser-leaves-town matchup and could come against a struggling Nick Catone.
Stephen Thompson vs. Winner of Paulo Thiago vs. Brandon Thatch
When he stops the takedown, Stephen Thompson is a scary opponent for anyone in the 170-pound division.
Thompson stayed off his back at UFC 165 and even showed off some offensive wrestling of his own. As a result, the kickboxer went on to score a second-round knockout victory and had his hand raised for a second straight outing.
Extremely entertaining against fellow strikers, Thompson should now meet the winner of a UFC Fight Night 32 matchup between Paulo Thiago and Brandon Thatch. With seven knockouts in 11 career fights, Thatch would not hesitate to stand with Thompson.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Roland Delorme
Although only 31 years old, 12-year MMA veteran Ivan Menjivar looks to be headed in the wrong direction.
On Saturday, he was beaten by the takedown of Bellator MMA veteran Wilson Reis. Menjivar did not take much damage on the canvas, but spending several minutes on his back wasn't part of the game plan heading into UFC 165.
Roland Delorme also suffered his first official UFC loss on Saturday.
While Delorme has been beaten inside the Octagon, the result of his bout with Francisco Rivera was overturned to a no-contest as a result of his opponent failing a drug test. Unless Alex Caceres fails a second straight drug test of his own, Delorme's UFC record will now stand at 3-1.
A loser of two straight fights, Menjivar is likely to see a step down in competition. He'll be fighting for his UFC career in his next appearance, and a bout with Delorme is a strong possibility.
Wilson Reis vs. Alex Caceres
Although unheralded, Wilson Reis brought a strong resume into his UFC debut against Ivan Menjivar.
Reis has only been beaten by Patricio Freire in addition to Bellator MMA champions Eduardo Dantas and Joe Soto. At UFC 165, Reis showed why his record is so respectable by upsetting Top 10 bantamweight Ivan Menjivar.
Alex Caceres also picked up an important win on Saturday.
Coming off a failed drug test and overturned win, Caceres need to perform well at UFC 165. He did so by beating Roland Delorme with conditioning and precision striking.
With both riding impressive winning streaks, Reis and Caceres should now meet, with the winner earning a shot at a 135-pound contender.
Mike Ricci vs. Sam Stout
Clearly, Mike Ricci needs an opponent who is going to bring the fight to him.
In his first three UFC appearances, the TUF runner-up has put on underwhelming performances. He was tentative on his feet against Myles Jury at UFC 165, so his opponent's uneventful time in the top position was all it took to take a decision.
Ricci is going to get another shot to prove he can be more entertaining, but in order to be so, he'll need an adversary with a track record in excitement. A six-time Fight of the Night winner who has lost three of his past five fights, Sam Stout is the perfect opponent for Ricci.
Myles Jury vs. John Makdessi
Myles Jury and John Makdessi picked up very different wins at UFC 165, but they find themselves in similar spots in the lightweight division following Saturday's fights.
Although his bout with Mike Ricci was uneventful, Jury earned an edge on the scorecards with his wrestling. Though he still lacks a win over a lightweight contender, he holds an undefeated record and victories over three talented TUF runners-up.
Following back-to-back losses to Dennis Hallman and Anthony Njokuani, Makdessi has turned things around. At UFC 165, he earned a third straight victory by knocking out Renee Forte in the first round.
Makdessi's unpredictable striking could force Jury into a more entertaining bout, while Jury's improving wrestling will give Makdessi a chance to prove he's advanced his takedown defense since his submission loss to Hallman. A matchup between Jury and Makdessi sets the winner up for a fight with a big-name fringe contender.
Pat Healy vs. Loser of Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez
Pat Healy ran into a bad matchup in rising lightweight star Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the Strikeforce veteran is still one of the better fighters in the lightweight division.
Nurmagomedov was too quick on his feet for Healy and had the wrestling to take the fight to the ground five times in three rounds. It was Healy's first loss inside the Octagon, which means he won't fall too far from the Top 10 contenders in the 155-pound division.
A bout with the loser of a UFC 166 matchup between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez will test Healy's wrestling once again. It also could mean a previously scheduled Strikeforce title fight between Melendez and Healy would finally happen.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Khabib Nurmagomedov may now be a Top 10 lightweight following UFC 165.
In a bout with No. 10 lightweight contender Pat Healy, Nurmagomedov was able to win with speed and wrestling. By beating Healy soundly on the scorecards, Nurmagomedov is now likely another big win or two away from fighting for a UFC championship.
Like Nurmagomedov, Rafael dos Anjos has been on a tear lately. Currently ranked No. 6 among lightweight contenders, Dos Anjos would be a good fighter to introduce Nurmagomedov to 155-pound title contention.
Costa Philippou vs. Luke Rockhold
Costa Philippou saw a five-fight winning streak come to an end on Saturday, which brought his short-term title hopes crashing down.
Although Francis Carmont was seen as a step down in competition, Philippou could not stop the French-Canadian's takedowns. Despite beating a more experienced wrestler in Tim Boetsch in his previous outing, Philippou was controlled on the ground en route to a decision loss against Carmont.
Philippou may have been bounced from the Top 10 as a result of his defeat at UFC 165, but he's still near the top of the middleweight division. A bout with another contender looking to rebound seems logical, so why not have Philippou fight Luke Rockhold?
Francis Carmont vs. Winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Tim Kennedy
Francis Carmont may not be a crowd pleaser, but a win over Costa Philippou should make him a Top 10 fighter in the middleweight division.
Ranked No. 7 in the middleweight class heading into Saturday, Philippou had found a way to shut down the grappling of his past five opponents. However, Carmont was able to repeatedly take the former boxer to the ground to earn a decision win.
The winner of a UFC Fight Night 31 matchup between Lyoto Machida and Tim Kennedy is also likely to be new to the 185-pound Top 10. A matchup with that fighter would be a better test of Carmont's wrestling.
Matt Mitrione vs. Shane del Rosario
With losses in three of his past four fights, Matt Mitrione's stock is falling rapidly.
At UFC 165, his inexperience on the ground was exploited by Brendan Schaub. Following some early striking exchanges, Schaub took Mitrione down and locked up a Brabo choke that put his opponent to sleep.
Having lost two in a row, Shane del Rosario is in a similar position to Mitrione. A potential loser-leaves-town bout between the desperate heavyweights could bring the best out of both.
Brendan Schaub vs. Todd Duffee
Taking a lot of heat for his inactive grappling over recent months, Brendan Schaub silenced his critics with a submission win on Saturday.
After standing with Matt Mitrione for a few minutes, Schaub eventually decided he'd have an advantage on the canvas. Once he dragged Mitrione down, it didn't take him long to finish things off with a choke in the final minute of the first round.
During the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White hinted Schaub may be used as an injury replacement soon. However, a matchup with Todd Duffee seems to make more sense than anyone else with heavyweights already having fights booked.
Eddie Wineland vs. Loser of Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald
Eddie Wineland came up short in his attempt to steal the interim bantamweight crown, but he showed he is rightly considered one of the best 135-pounders in the world on Saturday.
The challenger frustrated Renan Barao with his striking in the first round. However, a spinning back kick to the head in the second stanza sent Wineland crashing to the canvas along with his championship hopes.
While he'll probably need a couple of wins to get back into a title fight again, Wineland deserves another big matchup. Should Michael McDonald lose to Urijah Faber in December, a potential boxing match between the youngster and Wineland would be intriguing.
If McDonald beats "The California Kid" and there isn't much interest in Wineland getting a rematch with Faber, then the recent title challenger could test the surging TJ Dillashaw.
Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz
Although still attached to an interim tag, Renan Barao has become a dominant champion.
On Saturday, he faced some early adversity in the striking department against Eddie Wineland. However, the Brazilian landed a wild kick in the second round that led to his second successful defense of the temporary 135-pound championship.
It's time for this interim title to go away, though. Dominick Cruz appears to be nearing his return, meaning a title-merging fight between "The Dominator" and Barao should happen early in 2014.
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Jon Jones has been looking for a reason to remain interested in the light heavyweight division. He found it on Saturday.
Alexander Gustafsson gave the champion everything he could handle, stuffing takedowns and landing over 100 significant strikes over five rounds. As great champions do, though, Jones found a way to win by rallying in the fourth and fifth rounds.
In the fourth stanza, Jones' spinning elbow turned the momentum and allowed him to close any gap that may have existed on the scorecards.
While it's tempting to let a rematch between Jones and Gustafsson build up over a few more fights, it's just too clear that the Swede remains the greatest threat to the champion. Glover Teixeira is next in line, but he showed some holes against Ryan Bader, whom Jones easily dispatched.
With Saturday's main event being a leader for 2013 Fight of the Year and some controversy surrounding the decision, a rematch between Jones and Gustafsson is justifiable.