Sure, UFC 108 didn’t have the name appeal that MMA fans have grown to expect from the UFC’s annual year end show but it delivered none the less.
Considering all of the injury fallout that the UFC had to deal with for UFC 108 it’s truly amazing that they could still manage to put on a show. How many other organizations could say the same thing right now?
After perusing several UFC divisional rankings it’s time to speculate as to where Saturday’s losers go from here.
Welcome to the UFC Gilbert Yvel. Not exactly how he would have liked his debut to go but what do you expect when you are matched up with Junior dos Santos.
It’s pretty safe to say that Yvel was not brought into the UFC to be a title contender; he was brought in to give the fans some excitement within the heavyweight division.
Having Yvel take on another striker next is the best bet and considering that Cheick Kongo and he have a bit of history already this fight needs to happen. A matchup between Yvel and Kongo would be a great addition to any of the UFC’s European cards.
Kongo and Yvel may never get a sniff of UFC gold but stick the two in a cage together and fireworks will surly ensue.
Duane “Bang” Ludwig is the eternal MMA journeyman. It seems as though he has fought for almost every US-based promotion under the sun.
Ludwig, much like Yvel, is not in the UFC to contend for a title; he is there to throw caution to the wind and give the fans an exciting fight.
Ludwig’s next matchup should be Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens. While Stephens has suffered a few loses inside the Octagon he is still very young and a fight against a veteran like Ludwig would really let the UFC see how his development is progressing.
Coming off an 11-month injury layoff, Lauzon gave a valiant effort against Sam Stout. It was apparent that Lauzon’s time away from the cage affected his cardio and in the end he lost the bout by decision.
That is not to take anything away from Stout’s performance; he came in and won that fight.
At only 25-years old Lauzon is still a very bright prospect in the UFC lightweight division. The UFC needs to be careful when deciding his next matchup.
If they give him someone he will essentially walk through, his progress will be difficult to evaluate, but if they throw him to the wolves it would really hurt his confidence moving forward.
Caol Uno may just be the perfect opponent for Lauzon right now. Uno has some pretty good name value, and is by no means an easy out for anyone.
Hopefully this weekend, Dustin Hazelett learned that when you play with fire you are bound to get burned. Can anyone out there really understand what would possess a grappler of Hazelett’s caliber to test his mettle against a striker as explosive as Daley?
Hazelett is still young though, and has a long way to go yet before he reaches his full potential. While it may not be the best matchup for him right now, Hazelett should fight Ricardo Almeida next.
Almeida and Hazelett could really put on an excellent display of technical BJJ. Almeida would have the edge on paper but don’t count Hazelett out.
Thiago Silva nearly stole the bout at the end with some heavy shots but was unable to do so and lost via unanimous decision.
Now the UFC is in a bit of a tough place with Silva. They can either give him a major step back in competition; allowing him try to work his way back into the title mix. Or, have him serve as an upper echelon gatekeeper with Keith Jardine.
It’s hard to ever envision Silva ever becoming a serious title contender with his severe lack of wrestling ability so the latter seems like the better option.
If that is the role Silva is truly to fill expect to see him in the Octagon with Little Nog, Antonio Rogerio Nogueria, very soon.
Little Nog burst onto the UFC scene this past November at UFC 106, annihilating up and coming Luiz Cane.