UFC on Fox 11: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
Fabricio Werdum has emerged as the next heavyweight who will challenge Cain Velasquez for the UFC championship.
At UFC on Fox 11, Werdum cruised to a decision win over a dangerous Travis Browne. Although many assumed Werdum would need to beat Browne on the ground in order to win on Saturday, the Brazilian was the better fighter in all areas.
Barring an injury, Werdum's next opponent appears to be set in stone. For Browne, the future is more uncertain.
Here are the matchups that should be made for Browne and the rest of the UFC on Fox 11 competitors.
Matchup: Shawn Jordan
Jack May's UFC debut didn't go as planned, but the newcomer did have some bright spots in his loss.
Before getting taken down by Derrick Lewis, May landed some heavy leg kicks. The Outlaw also reversed Lewis and spent nearly two minutes on top before apparently injuring his knee and getting stopped with punches.
Although May could be a promising addition to the UFC heavyweight division, he'll likely need to win in his next outing to remain with the promotion. A loser-goes-home bout with Jordan, who has been knocked out in his past two fights, is a possibility.
Matchup: Viktor Pesta vs. Ruslan Magomedov Winner
Now with a 10-2 record, Lewis is a solid addition to the UFC heavyweight class.
Although he was a bit sloppy on the ground, Lewis ultimately ended up on top and finished May with some heavy ground-and-pound. The hard-hitting up-and-comer has picked up nine of his 10 victories with knockouts.
Lewis' next outing should come against a fighter with a UFC win. The winner of an upcoming bout between UFC newcomers Viktor Pesta and Ruslan Magomedov would be a good matchup.
Matchup: Alan Omer
Chas Skelly entered the Octagon with a spotless record, but he suffered his first loss at UFC on Fox 11.
Mirsad Bektic was able to score two takedowns on Skelly and also outstruck the Texan over three rounds. Aside from an illegal knee that nearly ended the bout, Skelly wasn't able to land many damaging shots on Saturday and ended up losing on the scorecards.
Now, Skelly will probably need a win in his next outing to keep his UFC career going. In a similar position after losing in his own UFC debut, Alan Omer would be a good opponent for Skelly.
Matchup: Zubaira Tukhugov
At 23 years old, Bektic might be one of the brighter prospects in the featherweight division.
On Saturday, Bektic overcame an illegal knee that nearly left him unable to continue fighting and picked up a decision win over fellow UFC newcomer Skelly. With the victory, Bektic improved his MMA record to 8-0, making him an up-and-comer worth watching at 145 pounds.
Also coming off of a win in his UFC debut, Zubaira Tukhugov would be a logical adversary for Bektic, as the Bosnian looks to move upward in the featherweight class.
Matchup: Darren Uyenoyama
Ray Borg made his UFC debut on Saturday and looked promising despite falling short on the scorecards.
With five takedowns, Borg's grappling looked solid against a tough opponent, Dustin Ortiz. However, Borg landed fewer strikes in the closely contested bout and surrendered a couple takedowns as well.
At 20 years old, Borg should have a bright future ahead of him. A meeting between Borg and fellow grappler Darren Uyenoyama could prove to be exciting on the ground.
Matchup: Louis Gaudinot
Following a controversial loss to former title challenger John Moraga, Ortiz returned to the win column at UFC on Fox 11.
Although he allowed several takedowns and had his back taken multiple times, Ortiz responded every time Borg scored on him. With a few reversals and takedowns of his own, Ortiz did enough to gain an edge on the scorecards.
Looking to inch closer to a shot at the flyweight championship, Ortiz could now meet Louis Gaudinot, who also bounced back from a loss recently.
Matchup: Robert Whittaker
Hernani Perpetuo landed a tough matchup for his first appearance inside the Octagon.
The Brazilian was taken down four times and had trouble dealing with Jordan Mein's movement when he was able to stand. Although one judge scored the fight in Perpetuo's favor, MMA media unanimously saw the fight in favor of Mein, according to MMADecisions.com.
Although he wasn't expected to beat Mein, Perpetuo is now likely one loss away from returning to smaller promotions. A bout with Robert Whittaker, who has lost two in a row, would make sense now.
Matchup: Thiago Alves
Mein returned to the Octagon on Saturday, ending a 12-month hiatus.
Despite the break in action, Mein started strong, moving well on his feet and scoring takedowns on Perpetuo at opportune times. While the split-decision win suggested Mein did not establish his dominance, the Canadian was clearly the better fighter at UFC on Fox 11.
The Strikeforce veteran should see a significant step up in competition, which could mean a matchup with fellow UFC on Fox 11 winner Thiago Alves.
Matchup: Mats Nilsson
Following a Josh Samman injury, Luke Zachrich filled in opposite Caio Magalhaes to make his UFC debut.
Magalhaes came out ultra-aggressive and put Zachrich away with punches in 44 seconds. It was a rough start to Zachrich's UFC career, but he got his foot in the door with the world's top MMA organization.
Coming off of a loss in his own UFC debut, Mats Nilsson would be a logical opponent for Zachrich now.
Matchup: Clint Hester
Magalhaes wasted no time at UFC on Fox 11.
The Brazilian did not allow Zachrich to get comfortable inside the Octagon. Only 44 second into his matchup with the UFC newcomer, Magalhaes scored a knockout victory by aggressively pressing forward with punches.
Like Magalhaes, Clint Hester has also won three straight UFC bouts. A bout between the two would give one fighter a chance to earn a big step up in competition.
Estevan Payan's UFC career has likely met its end.
On Saturday, Payan was knocked out by UFC newcomer Alex White in the first round. The loss leaves Payan with an 0-3 record inside the Octagon.
El Terrible was 2-0 with Strikeforce, but he hasn't been able to find any success since the defunct organization's roster was absorbed.
Matchup: Godofredo Pepey
White made a statement in his UFC debut and looks to be a fighter with serious potential in the featherweight division.
Facing Payan, a desperate veteran, White unloaded early and finished his opponent in under two minutes. Now 10 fights into his MMA career, White remained undefeated with the win.
At 25 years old, White could have the ability to become a future contender at 145 pounds. Godofredo Pepey would be a good opponent to test his skills in all areas.
Matchup: Jamie Varner vs. James Krause Loser
When Pat Healy defeated Jim Miller only 12 months ago, it looked as though he could be on his way to a title shot in the lightweight division.
Then, Healy had that win over Miller overturned and has now gone on to lose three in a row. Even though he's still one of the more proven 155-pounders on the UFC roster, it is possible Healy could be let go as a result of his decision loss to Jorge Masvidal on Saturday.
If Healy is kept around, look for him to meet the loser of an upcoming bout between Jamie Varner and James Krause.
Matchup: Abel Trujillo
With a solid showing against Healy on Saturday, Masvidal took an important step toward title contention.
Landing over 100 strikes and stuffing 12 takedowns, Masvidal showed he's strong in all areas. The former Strikeforce title challenger has the tools to become a top-10 lightweight. It is just a matter of gaining the momentum needed to reach that level.
Coming off of a knockout win over Jamie Varner, Abel Trujillo is a lightweight on everyone's radar right now. A striking match between the Blackzilian and Masvidal could produce fireworks.
Matchup: Pascal Krauss
Facing former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves, Seth Baczynski had a huge opportunity to make a big move at UFC on Fox 11.
Unable to use his reach advantage effectively, Baczynski was repeatedly on the receiving end of leg kicks and counterpunches. Ultimately, Baczynski wound up on the losing end of a unanimous decision.
It will be back to middling welterweight competition for Baczynski now. A bout with Pascal Krauss would work for his next outing.
Matchup: Jordan Mein
At UFC on Fox 11, Alves returned to the Octagon from a 25-month battle with injuries.
The Brazilian did not show any signs of rust, though. Crisp with his striking, Alves picked Baczynski apart over three rounds to claim a win on the scorecards.
With the strong showing, Alves should meet a fringe contender in his next appearance, which could mean a meeting with the promising Mein, who also picked up a victory on Saturday.
Rafael dos Anjos
Matchup: Josh Thomson
With five straight wins, Rafael dos Anjos was probably on the most impressive run of his MMA career heading into Saturday.
That streak came to an end against Khabib Nurmagomedov, though. Dos Anjos was grounded by the Russian six times and spent over seven minutes on bottom.
Despite the loss, dos Anjos is still among the best in the lightweight division. Having also suffered a recent setback, Josh Thomson would be a good opponent for dos Anjos, with the winner stepping right back into title contention.
Matchup: Benson Henderson vs. Rustam Khabilov Winner
Nurmagomedov is inching closer to a shot at the belt many think he is capable of owning.
The talented lightweight made it look easy against dos Anjos, wrestling the Brazilian to a lopsided decision win. Undefeated in 22 MMA bouts, Nurmagomedov might be one win away from getting a shot at the 155-pound championship.
A bout with the winner of an upcoming fight between Benson Henderson and fellow Russian Rustam Khabilov would give Nurmagomedov a chance to prove he's ready to challenge the champion.
Matchup: Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos Loser
A contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 11, Brad Tavares has been a solid addition to the middleweight division.
On Saturday, Tavares had a chance to take a big step toward a shot at the 185-pound championship. However, world-class wrestler Yoel Romero was able to take Tavares down at will, resulting in a decision loss for the Hawaiian.
At 26 years old, Tavares will make another run toward the top in his career. A bout with the loser of an upcoming fight between Uriah Hall and Thiago Santos could get him started again.
Matchup: Francis Carmont vs. CB Dollaway Winner
Romero has arrived as a serious title threat in the middleweight division.
At UFC on Fox 11, the Cuban easily scored seven takedowns on Tavares, whose defensive wrestling had been solid prior to Saturday. A former Olympic wrestling silver medalist with knockout power, Romero is a scary opponent for anybody right now.
Romero is 36 years old, so he's going to want to climb the ranks as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there is a log jam of sorts at the top of the middleweight division right now, meaning a bout with the winner of an upcoming fight between Francis Carmont and CB Dollaway is probably the best matchup he can get in his next outing.
Matchup: John Makdessi
Edson Barboza can't seem to find a way to break into the upper echelon in the lightweight division.
The Brazilian was looking good early in his bout with Donald Cerrone on Saturday. However, a sneaky jab rocked him three minutes into the first round and led to a submission win for Cowboy.
Now it's time for Barboza to build himself back up with a few fun striking matchups. A bout with John Makdessi could turn into a highly entertaining stand-up bout.
Matchup: TJ Grant
Cerrone is on a roll once again and could be getting a shot at the lightweight championship sooner rather than later.
Cowboy faced a tough foe at UFC on Fox 11, but he eventually hurt Barboza with a jab after eating a few hard shots from the Brazilian. Instead of following up with strikes, Cerrone pounced on Barboza and locked up a rear-naked choke for the submission win.
TJ Grant was once lined up to fight for the title, but a concussion has kept him out of action for 11 months now. If Grant is able to return soon, he should test himself against Cerrone before getting his shot at UFC gold.
Matchup: Jessica Eye
Liz Carmouche is quickly slipping away from title contention.
The former title challenger scored five takedowns on Miesha Tate at UFC on Fox 11, but she never threatened to finish her opponent on the ground. Girlrilla has now lost her past two fights and may need to win in her next outing to maintain a spot on the UFC roster.
A bout with Jessica Eye could allow Carmouche to rebound against a highly ranked adversary.
Matchup: Sarah Kaufman
Tate needed a win in a big way at UFC on Fox 11.
Although her defeats came against elite female bantamweights, Tate entered her fight with Carmouche having lost two in a row. In beating Carmouche, Tate is now back in title contention and might only need a Ronda Rousey loss to get another crack at UFC gold.
While she waits and hopes for that to happen, Tate could have a rematch with Sarah Kaufman. The former Strikeforce champions met in May 2009, when Kaufman defeated Tate via decision.
Matchup: Antonio Silva
Travis Browne will have to wait for his first shot at a UFC championship.
Favored heading into his bout with Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, Browne was beaten in all areas. He was expected to have a huge advantage in the striking department should he find a way to stay off the ground, but Browne faded in the later rounds and ate more strikes than he dished out when standing.
One way for Browne to make a quick return to title contention would be to avenge a past loss. Injured during his first fight with Antonio Silva, Browne might get another crack at Bigfoot once he's ready to go again.
Matchup: Cain Velasquez
When Werdum was knocked out by Junior dos Santos in October 2008 and subsequently left the UFC roster, it looked like Vai Cavalo might not get a shot to become UFC champion.
Werdum has clawed his way back, though. With a win over Browne over the weekend, Werdum became the top contender in the heavyweight division.
The Brazilian is expected to meet Cain Velasquez in Mexico later in 2014.