Tim Hague and Joey Beltran will look to rebound with newly formed competition
It was an interesting night of fights in front of the troops at Foot Hood Texas, as UFC's Fight For The Troops II was a major success.
The heavyweight division saw two of its prospects win at a time where it is desperately looking for new and interesting competition.
The Lightweight division unfolded an interested storyline, as the organization's deepest division now has another championship contender on the rise. Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard has gone from the punk kid who thinks he's a fighter on season two of The Ultimate Fighter to an absolute brawler with a game plan the UFC can sell.
Here are 10 fights that the UFC should consider booking for future events.
Joey Beltran earned another fight in the UFC, while Hague might be heading down another road.
Though Beltran dropped his second straight fight in the octagon, there is no doubt that his heart in his heavyweight bout against Pat Barry earned him another shot in the best organization in mixed martial arts.
That doesn't mean his next fight should be easy.
Kongo presents a very similar fight to Beltran's recent bout with Pat "HD" Barry. Though Kongo presents a lot of power, he is very picky in his punch selection. His leg kick might not be killer, but Kongo can also instantly bring a fight to the ground.
The fight works for both parties, because it would give Beltran a signature win and could put Kongo back in the limelight after a lackluster draw performance against Travis Browne at UFC 120.
The "Mexicutioner" cannot just keep moving forward against a fighter like Cheick Kongo, or he will be met by some solid wrestling and nasty ground and pound.
For Kongo, he would need to prove that his striking is more than just a setup for the double leg. His fighting style has often been questioned, and another brawler gives him a pretty solid stylistic advantage.
Though DaMarques Johnson's performance against Mike Guymon might have ended a little bit earlier than he expected, it shouldn't be surprising that the former National Guard and Army man gets a bump in competition in his next scheduled fight.
Despite a loss to Matt Riddle at UFC Live on Versus 2, Johnson is at the point in his UFC career where he either moves up the ladder or remains a mediocre welterweight talent.
Throwing him a seasoned veteran like Matt Serra could prove to launch a new name into challenger talks.
Serra is looking to enter the octagon against a competitor that fits his style after being sidelined since September.
This fight is a bit of a stretch, considering Johnson came out of his fight completely unscathed, and Serra is still serving a mandatory six month sit down after his battle with Chris Lytle at UFC 119.
But with fighters of his caliber already locked up for upcoming bouts (Patrick/Roberts, Pyle/Almeida), it seems possible that Johnson could be locked in the cage with a seasoned veteran soon.
Yves Edwards showed at the second ever Fight For The Troops that an old dog can still have bite. The UFC veteran returned to the UFC with a strong showing against guillotine master Cody McKenzie. Though he earned 60,000 in bonuses, there were times where the veteran looked suspect on the ground.
Though it's rare to see one fighter face back to back ultimate fighter contestants from the same season, a bout with Ultimate Fighter season 12 runner up Micheal Johnson could be interesting.
Johnson is a decent striker with a solid double leg take down and decent control on the ground.
For Edwards, it would probably be a slap in the face with his MMA experience, but it would also benefit to get a couple of wins under him before facing tougher competition in one of the best divisions in the UFC.
For Johnson, it instantly bumps his cred if he beats Edwards, who has 40 wins under his belt and is one of the better veterans in the sport.
Both need a true test of their weaknesses, and this fight represents that obstacle.
How do you repair the reputation of two fighters who have had letdown fights over the last few months? You pin them against each other in the octagon.
After Cole Miller's lackluster performance against Matt Wiman at Fight For The Troops II, the UFC will be looking to find a find that tests his abilities. Dana White doesn't let off the throttle when a fighter dissapoints, and that's why Joe Lauzon is a great match up for Cole Miller.
Despite coming off the best fight of his career against Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 22, Miller laid an egg against a more aggressive Wiman in Fort Hood, Texas. Miller's striking was nowhere to be found, and he had no answer for the ground and pound and top control of his opponent. Overall, Wiman was the all-around better performer.
For Lauzon, UFC 123 symbolized the toughest and biggest fight of his career. Coming into the fight, the Boston native was coming off an impressive submission win over Gabe Ruediger in his hometown at UFC 118. Aussie George Sotiropoulos was coming off a six fight win streak in the UFC and looking to climb to the top five of the 155 weight class.
Lauzon would end up losing by submission, which continues to show his lack of consistency in the octagon.
This match pits two guys who are looking to find that consistency.
The original headliner for the UFC Fight For the Troops II would be an even more solid match now that Evan Dunham was knocked out handedly in his match up with "The Young Assassin" Melvin Guillard.
After two straight blemishes to his undefeated record, Ken-Flo might present a solid opponent for Dunham to try and bounce back against.
Florian possesses an all-around attack based on wrestling, and though he owns some of the most solid jabs in the sport, his striking isn't something that Dunham has to be afraid of.
For Florian, after two top notch wins against Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi, Gray Maynard showed that there is some flaw in Florian's wrestling game.
This would be an interesting match that could prove to be valuable in the future.
How do you reward two top performers at Fight For The Troops II? You pit them together in an encounter that puts each other's weakness to the test.
There is no doubt that Matt Wiman's gas tank is big enough to make it fully through three five minute rounds. The 155-pounder completely dominated Cole Miller through his constant pressure and force. He controlled the fight by dominating what happened on the ground portion of the fight.
For Waylon Lowe, the question is despite is power wrestling, can he last a full fight without completely gassing?
There were points in his recent bout with Willamy Freire that the American Top Team product lost control of the fight simply because he had no fuel left.
For Matt Wiman, the question has always been, "Can he defend a top notch power wrestler?"
We would get some answers in this fight if it were booked for the future.
Listen, I hear you have Frank lined up to fight Shane Carwin in a super battle at UFC 131, but I'm really hoping these are just rumors and you change your mind with a depleted heavyweight division looking back at you.
With Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione continuing to improve, it would seem probably to pit them against each other right? Well....you know as well as me that the Duke Roufus Academy teammates will have a hard time inking a contract against each other.
And both of these guys are looking for an improvement in competition.
Mir give Mitrione a whole different angle to think about when it comes to fighting. The former NFL defensive end has not been challenged on the ground, and Mir opens up some holes in the power hands of Mitrione.
This is also a good fight for Mir, who could have a chance to look anything but lackluster like he did in his recent battle with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović.
If you're look to branch out the heavyweight division UFC, it's time to give these youngsters a chance like you have Brandon Schaub.
Let's face it. There is no talent that is not tied up worth signing up to fight The Young Assassin after his upset knockout of Evan Dunham at UFC Fight For The Troops 2.
The 27-year-old is a veteran of the sport, but he has never really taken on a legend of mixed martial arts.
If B.J. Penn is victorious over Jon Fitch, then you create that possibility.
If Jon Fitch wins, then you create yet another championship contender eliminator in the most plugged up division in the sport.
Either way, Guillard is a possession that you don't want to go wasted, especially after his last performance. His story of going from the immature brawler to the Greg Jackson trained martial artist is gaining steam with fans.
He says he is going undefeated in 2011, and I say that the UFC has to make him earn it.
Sign this one up ASAP if the winner of the UFC 127 headliner is completely healthy after their fight.
Pat Barry still has a lot of work to do in order to be a top contender in the heavyweight division. The former K-1 kickboxer still falls into his habits at times in the cage and has shown how weak he really is on the ground.
Shane Carwin is coming off a bunch of scrutiny after reports of performance enhancing drugs and a tough loss to former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
For Pat Barry, to jump from Joey Beltran to Shane Carwin is probably too big of a stretch, but both of these fighters match up pretty well.
Carwin needs to challenge his gas tank, and Barry needs to challenge his ability to adapt to a mixed martial arts fight that isn't necessarily a stand up battle.
This, if anything, is a power fight to sell as a co-main event and could help us determine if Pat Barry's fight with Mirko Cro Cop was a fluke, or if he still has a hard time evolving as a mixed martial artist.
This is a bit of a cop out, considering this was supposed to happen if Hominick beat George Roop at Fight For The Troops II.
Hominick has some of the best striking in the 145 pound division, and it might be better than any hands that Jose Aldo has ever seen. There is no doubt that at this point, anyone that fights Jose Aldo is going to be considered an underdog.
Aldo is slowly becoming a legend as the featherweight everybody knows by name. He isn't Georges St. Pierre, but his first defense of his UFC title could be a real test. Mark Hominick puts in danger the legacy of Aldo before it even reaches its peak in the top organization of the sport.
This will be a battle that creates interest in a weight division that the standard MMA fan might not know much about.