UFC 131 Results: Who Could Junior dos Santos or Carwin Face If They Lose?
UFC 131 is upon us and, if you are a betting man, you'd likely throw some money down believing that one thing is for certain: that Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos wont let this one go to the judges. But hey, it's MMA, anything can happen right?
We already know that whoever emerges victorious from the main event tonight will go on to face current heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez in 4-5 months (according to Dana White).
So...will it be the hard-hitting Carwin, or the also hard hitting Junior dos Santos, who comes out on top? Even more interesting, let's take a look at who the loser might go on to face.
If Carwin Loses:
If Carwin falters at UFC 131, then the chances of him ever being a contender are most likely eviscerated. But that doesn’t change the fact that he is a powerful man with bad intentions. The UFC would still have several options in marketing a guy who wears 5X four-ounce gloves.
One option could be a rematch with Frank Mir. If you believe a second fight would be a repeat of their first, where Carwin chewed Mir up and spit him out, then the logic in making this fight would be to prop Carwin back up, and in the process it would all but put the nail in the coffin on Frank Mir as a contender.
A better option might be to keep the two apart and let Carwin take a fight where he can bounce back without fully derailing a fighter in Frank Mir who is still highly marketable. Some options could include Roy Nelson or the Cheick Kongo-Pat Barry winner. Either would likely be fun for all involved.
A third option would be to sic Carwin on an up-and-comer to test their mettle. Options there could include Brendan Schaub if he blasts through Antonio Nogueira at UFC 134 or someone like Matt Mitrione (taking on Christian Morecraft at UFC on Versus 4) or Travis Browne (coming off a win against Stephan Struve at UFC 130).
And just for fun...an X-factor could be a fight with someone under the Strikeforce Banner. The loser of Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum or Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers loser.
If JDS Loses:
If JDS loses, he doesn’t fall as hard as Carwin.
First, he was already in line for a title shot against Cain Velazquez, but was forced to wait when it was revealed that the newly minted champ had messed his shoulder up something bad in the title fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.
Instead of waiting around JDS agreed to fight the wounded animal that was Brock Lesnar, which was preceded by coaching duties at TUF 13. But Brock got punched in the gut by Diverticulitis for a second time…and here we are.
Second, JDS has never lost inside the Octagon. So if he happens to get punched in the face by Carwin and doesn’t pull through, a loss will sting but won’t drop him out of the title picture irrevocably.
So what would be next for dos Santos?
One option would be for JDS to take some extended time off and really reinvent himself: charge back up, and in the process get even better. With reprieve, he could wait for and welcome back Brock Lesnar in 2012. Probably too long of a weight, but hey who likes to have unresolved business.
While a fight with Lesnar might be a bit pie in the sky at this point, a more realistic option might be Brendan Schaub. If Schaub beats Big Nog at UFC 134, not only will he be looking for a big step up in competition, but he will have beaten the mentor of JDS, so what better fight to make then one that would involve the plot line of revenge.
Another option would be the same option proposed to Carwin if he lost, and that would be a fight with the Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry winner. In what would likely be an exciting stand up battle, JDS could use this battle to get right back into the mix.
Another name, less well known to the common MMA fan, is Mike Russow. He is coming off a win over Jon Madsen and is 3-0 in the UFC. Probably a better option for Carwin, fighters like Russow, Travis Brown and Matt Mitrione might be considered a step down in competition from a divisional stand point for JDS, based on where he is at overall.
So there you have it…
Did we leave any stone unturned?
The Heavyweight division in the UFC is considered the weakest of any...so options will always be a bit limited when Joe Silva sits down to do his match-making.
So it will be interesting to see what happens with Strikeforce as they have several interesting fighters who could certainly spice things up in 2012 and beyond.
We have already seen Nick Diaz be pulled over from Strikeforce to take on Georges St-Pierre. So who will be the first Heavyweight to find his way over to the Octagon? Allistir Overeem perhaps.
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