UFC 107 Losers: What's Next?
While fans were off complaining about UFC's President Dana White's attempts of turning lemons into lemonade with other injury-plagued cards, many of them had seemingly forgotten about UFC 107 as the event drew near.
The card was stacked top to bottom with a plethora of top 10 fighters, a select few championship contenders, and of course, the UFC Lightweight Championship was on the line in the night's main event between "The Prodigy" B.J. Penn and Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez.
As usual, Penn delivered another phenomenal performance in the division that is rightfully his. The question is, what's next for Diego Sanchez and the rest of the main card losers of the night?
Originally slated to fight Todd Duffee, Paul "The Headhunter" Buentello instead faced off against Stefan "The Skyscraper" Struve in an exciting, old-fashioned slugfest. Well, it was for the most of the fight.
Buentello struggled throughout the first round with the lanky Struve, who had Buentello firmly locked in a back-mounted body triangle lock, which is probably why he lost a very close fight.
Through his whole career, Buentello has proved that his striking can be devastating, but his ground game tends to be lacking.
His next fight should be against a guy who can test him in both aspects of the game, a guy like TUF 10 winner, Roy "Big Country" Nelson.
A fight between Nelson and Buentello offers up a good clash of styles between two established veterans of the sport. Both men are sitting at about the same level in terms of rank, and the winner could vault himself into the top 10 with an impressive performance.
As we have grown accustomed to, Clay "The Carpenter" Guida came into his fight against Kenny "Kenflo" Florian with the energy and stamina of a frenetic spider monkey.
Unfortunately for Guida, Florian proved to be better in all areas of the fight. Florian out-struck him on the feet, stuffed the takedowns, and even scored a few takedowns of his own.
Eventually Guida was clipped with a one-two combination, leaving him dazed before Florian locked in a rear naked choke to end the fight—once again proving that Guida needs dramatic improvement with his striking before he can become a legit contender.
In order for Guida to climb back into the lightweight ranks, he will have to show that he can tangle with a guy that can strike, a guy like Spencer "The King" Fisher.
Fisher's explosive and dynamic striking would be a challenge for Guida. Additionally, Fisher's sprawl would force Guida into a different strategy, forcing him to evolve into a complete fighter.
Plus, any fight that features one of these warriors is generally exciting. Just imagine if they were to square off against each other.
For good reason, Mike Pierce wasn't given much of a chance before UFC 107. He was going in against the consensus No. 2 welterweight in the world, Jon Fitch.
Pierce was out-wrestled, out-struck, and out-grappled en route to a unanimous decision loss this past Saturday. Despite losing, Pierce held his own against a tough opponent, and by no means should he be upset with his performance because the better fighter won that night.
Only losing a little bit of clout with his hard work against a top contender, Pierce deserves a tough opponent for his next fight. Chris Lytle just happens to be out of an opponent for UFC 110, taking place in Sydney, Australia.
Both fighters display exceptional wrestling skills, as well as some heavy hands. With similar styles, it would be interesting to see how these two would approach this fight.
A fight with Lytle would really determine Pierce's chances in the promotion, as Lytle has fought some of the best fighters that the welterweight division has to offer.
With two consecutive losses inside the octagon, Cheick Kongo has really fallen hard from his championship quest. Both fights were against the best of the heavyweight division, but the dramatic fashion in which he lost puts Kongo back in the middle of the pack.
Frank Mir shocked many fans with his ever-evolving boxing attack, sending Kongo for a brief visit to queer street. Kongo didn't recover fast enough as Mir latched on to his neck and put Kongo to sleep with a guillotine choke.
Since Kongo has struggled in the deep water of the division, his next opponent should come against a mid-level heavyweight in the form of Pat Barry.
Both fighters are very accomplished kickboxers who have earned titles in various tournaments before their UFC careers. Their similarities in striking would press both fighters to excel in a different aspect of the fight.
This would also be a very exciting fight to open up a PPV as well, as both fighters aren't worthy of a co-main event status at this point in their careers. However, a win would throw one of them into the mix of the heavyweight division's top 10.
For months and months fans were barking praises of Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez, claiming that he was the only available lightweight that has a chance of dethroning "The Prodigy," B.J. Penn.
If he was the only fighter with the chance of beating the champion, then the lightweight division is set for years upon years of dominating performances by Penn.
Sanchez was rocked early in the first round, and was thoroughly dominated as the fight progressed.
Every single takedown attempt was stuffed, once again proving that unless your name is Georges St. Pierre, you can't take Penn to the ground.
Unlike most Sanchez fights, "Nightmare" was the prey as Penn continually stalked Sanchez through all five rounds before catching him with a grazing head kick, the same head kick that Sanchez tried to connect on throughout the fight.
The sharp shin of Penn's right leg sliced open the forehead of Sanchez, and after a brief takedown attempt which Penn easily stuffed, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight to look at the gash, which was profusely gushing out blood.
At the doctor's discretion, the fight was stopped, giving Sanchez his third loss of his young career.
It was a heart-breaking defeat, but Sanchez needs to move forward and give the fans the fight that they've been clamoring for, a rematch with the heavily-improved Kenny Florian.
This would be a phenomenal fight that could headline a night of free fights, possibly the next TUF finale. Both fighters have evolved tremendously in their skill sets, especially Florian.
A rematch would offer a very close battle between two of the lightweight division's premier talents, and a win would put the victor one or two fights away from a rematch with Penn.
Check out Robert Gardner's article for his take on who the winners should fight next .
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