UFC 174 Results: Fights for Tyron Woodley to Take Next
Tyron Woodley had the opportunity to put his name in the hat for title contention at UFC 174 but came up flat. He was thoroughly outclassed by Rory MacDonald for three rounds and was sent back to the shark tank of the welterweight division.
The Woodley hype train has been effectively derailed, and he is now a meager 3-3 in his past six fights. There are some game-plan issues that Woodley needs to work on when he heads back into the gym that hopefully will present a more well-rounded attack from the former amateur wrestling All-American.
Gunnar Nelson has been on a roll since joining the UFC's ranks, but he has been feasting on lower-tier talent in the Octagon.
The grappling wizard is a fan favorite and has been a very interesting prospect for fans to watch for years. He has a fight lined up with Zak Cummins, but should Nelson get past him, maybe the UFC takes a chance to propel Nelson into the upper half of the division?
It'd be a big step up for the 25-year-old, but Woodley is just 3-3 in his last six fights. And many fans wouldn't count that win over Carlos Condit due to injury anyways.
Woodley has fallen in love with his knockout power, and facing Nelson gives the UFC the chance to showcase his striking power. Nelson is game wherever the fight takes place but I imagine he would have a hard time taking Woodley to the mat.
This fight would be a stretch given how far apart the men are in the rankings, but it sure would be a nice clash of styles for the hardcore MMA fans.
Erick Silva is coming off an incredible performance against Matt Brown, even though he ended up on the losing end.
The Brazilian has struggled to get over the hill from mid-tier to welterweight elite. A fight with Woodley would give Silva another chance to crack the top 10 of the welterweight division.
For Woodley, it would provide a chance to face not only a ranked opponent, but also a fighter who has name recognition among MMA fans.
And the matchup could be an interesting clash of styles. On one hand, Woodley has the wrestling talent to take Silva down, along with the knockout power to end the fight on the feet. Silva, meanwhile, features an aggressive style that could pin Woodley against the cage, much like MacDonald did at UFC 174.
Jake Ellenberger has been in quite the slump recently. He's lost back-to-back fights and managed to look very pedestrian in those losses. Like Woodley, he struggled mightily when the spotlight was on him.
Each man had title implications on the line when he faced Rory MacDonald, and both failed to get any offense going.
Ellenberger followed that loss up with a loss to Robbie Lawler that had many fans wondering just what had happened to The Juggernaut.
Pairing Woodley and Ellenberger gives both fighters a chance to prove they still belong in the top five of the welterweight division. They are nearly identical to one another in that they have strong wrestling credentials but also have dangerous knockout power as well.
Loser of Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown
The winner of Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown is very likely to be featured in a title shot with Johny Hendricks when the champion returns from surgery.
But what of the loser?
Facing Woodley makes a lot of sense in that it gives the loser another chance to stay "in the mix" in fighting Woodley.
Brown has been adamant that he belongs in the upper half of the division and will have the chance to prove it next month. But if he falters, he should get another chance by facing Woodley. Brown has built up too strong of a resume to simply be forced back onto the prelims.
Woodley has also built his reputation up, and the UFC likely wants to keep him in high-profile fights due to his potency for knockout finishes.
If it's Lawler who is defeated by Brown, a Lawler-Woodley fight makes sense as well. Lawler has become one of the most intriguing stories in MMA, and even if he loses, fans are still likely to clamor for more high-profile fights from him. Facing Woodley gives Lawler both a highly ranked fighter and a winnable fight.