Now that we have taken some time to let the outcomes of UFC 105 sink in, it’s time to take a look at what the next moves should be for the main card losers. What fights would make the most sense for the UFC?
After being completely overwhelmed and dominated by TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson, Riley is now just 2-4 in his UFC career. Even though he may not have a winning record inside the octagon, it is unlikely that he is in danger of being cut. Riley tends to be in exciting fights and that is a quality the UFC appreciates.
In looking over the lightweight rankings and upcoming fights, the best move for the UFC would be to match Riley up with TUF 9 runner-up Andre Winner. Winner also competed at UFC 105, knocking out Roli Delgado in the first round.
This is not a PPV main card matchup but would easily be a great addition to a UFN card. Riley is a fighter that could pose a lot of problems for Winner. If Riley could manage a win over the TUF contestant it would move him back into that middle-tier mix of the lightweight division.
TUF 9 welterweight winner James Wilks’ UFC debut wasn't nearly as successful as his counterparts but he did show flashes of brilliance. Ultimately, Wilks just did not have enough gas in the tank and was stopped by Matt Brown.
The goal for the UFC now has to be to put Wilks in a position to win; having TUF winners losing back-to-back fights to start their UFC career isn’t exactly what the Zuffa brass wants to see. Jonathan Goulet is just the man for the job. Goulet is just talented enough not to be considered a complete “Can” but is an opponent that Wilks should defeat.
While Goulet is not a fighter to be overlooked, Wilks has the tools to put him away early. In fact, all ten of Goulet’s losses have come by way of stoppage. Wilks would be able to pick Goulet apart on the feet before taking him down and ending the fight via submission.
Kang is a well respected and talented fighter who has defeated some of the best the sport has to offer but at UFC 105 he ran into a buzz saw named Michael Bisping. Bisping entered their fight having been brutally knocked out by Dan Henderson in his last outing and had an obvious chip on his shoulder.
Kang may not be someone who will ever compete for the middleweight title but he is a valuable commodity in the UFC as main card filler.
The most intriguing matchup right off hand would have to be a showdown with Nate Quarry. It’s not a fight that would catapult either into title contention but rather solidify who the middleweight gatekeeper will be moving forward.
Quarry v. Kang could easily round out a PPV card or even carry a UFN.
Kang would have a clear advantage in the submission game but Quarry’s wrestling would be more than enough to keep this a standing affair. With both fighters having no problem mixing it up, it would be a match that fans could really get behind.
About midway through the first round in his fight against Dan Hardy, it was apparent that something was a little off. Swick just did not seem to have his usual confidence about him in the cage. Nothing has been reported; it just looked as if something was not right.
Having said that, Dan Hardy went out and won that fight. Hardy constantly beat Swick to the punch and dictated the pace of the entire fight. Hardy was smart in not allowing Swick to open up his speedy arsenal; instead he forced Swick into a methodical chess match.
With Hardy earning a title shot against Georges St. Pierre, Swick now moves to the back of the line. His next opponent should be the winner of the Paul Daley and Carlos Condit match. Daley and Condit are currently scheduled to meet inside the octagon for UFC 108 in early January.
Both Daley and Condit pose unique threats to Swick. Daley is the more explosive striker while Condit is a well-rounded submission ace. Either matchup has UFN main event written all over it. A win for Swick would put his name back into title consideration while a loss would send him tumbling out of the UFC welterweight top-ten all together.
The truth is, Brandon Vera will likely never live up to the hype or reach his full potential. Vera came into UFC 105 with grandiose dreams of demolishing a legend. He left UFC 105 with another loss and the dark cloud of doubt hanging over his head.
There were many chances for Vera to take over his fight with Couture but instead he was constantly controlled and pressed against the cage. Vera displayed excellent wrestling and devastating body kicks but was unable to capitalize. Couture brought the fight to Vera, who did little to stop Couture from dictating the action.
A win over Couture could have easily sent Vera into the UFC light-heavyweight top ten, but he now continues to lurk just outside. Vera’s next opponent needs to be someone who will not only challenge him but gage what the rest of his UFC career will look like. Vladimir Matyushenko is that kind of fighter and would more than adequately fill the role.
Matyushenko is a strong wrestler with solid striking who would love to get a big win over a name opponent like Vera. If Vera ever intends to become the champion he says he will be then he will need to show that spark and fire against Matyushenko. Until Vera can string some wins together against quality opponents, he will always be a disappointment.
For a look at where the UFC 105 winners should go from here, take a look at the breakdown Sterling Spiars has put together.