UFC on FOX 15 Aftermath: What’s Next?
Another (free) entertaining card is in the books for the UFC, and with each closure of an event opens a new path to each fighter’s journey. Some will be closer to a title shot, while others may be looking for a new company to fight for. It is the way the fight game works. Let’s breakdown the 22 competitors and what may be in store for them, starting from the first fight of the card.
Chris Dempsey vs. Eddie Gordon
Chris Dempsey made his UFC debut on short notice last July in Ireland when he replaced Tom Lawlor, facing Ilir Latifi, and losing via TKO. Dempsey (11-2, 1-1 in the UFC) would have the chance to redeem himself with a full fight camp and a chance to better prepare against TUF 19 finalist Eddie Gordon. Dempsey had the better cardio and was able to do enough to grind out a hard earned split deciscion victory. Dempsey is now 1-1 in the UFC, and a perfect 1-0 in the middleweight division where he was the reigning champion at Gladiators of the Cage before coming to the UFC. Dempsey vs. Ron Stallings would be a good matchup for both. Stallings, like Dempsey, stepped up in (very) short notice to face Uriah Hall, only to lose, he would then return and win a decision victory over Justin Jones only two weeks ago.
After winning the TUF 19 finale, Eddie Gordon is having a dismal 2015, now falling 0-2 this year with a vicious head kick KO loss to Josh Samman and now a split decision loss to Dempsey. Gordon (7-3, 1-2 in the UFC) really needs a win to avoid a potential three-fight losing streak, which can easily get him released from the UFC. Gordon may be pitted against Chris Camozzi, who was recently let go by the UFC, went 2-0 outside the organization, and was just brought back on short notice to face #1 middleweight Ronaldo Souza on UFC on Fox 15. Camozzi lost via arm bar, but stepping in on short notice should grant him the opportunity for another shot in the UFC. This match up would make sense, serving as a potential “loser is out” match.
Diego Brandao vs. Jimmy Hettes
Diego Brandao returned to his winning ways with a TKO (doctor stoppage) victory over Jimmy Hettes. Brandao lost back-to-back to Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Brandao (19-10, 5-3 in the UFC). Brandao could be pitted against UFC newcomer Taylor Lapilus (9-1), who made his debut in Poland’s UFC card and won via decision. Lapilus could use the opportunity to face a seasoned UFC vet as Brandao, and Brandao could also try to put together a winning streak to earn another crack in the rankings.
Jimmy Hettes came into the UFC 9-0, and has struggled in the organization, going 2-3 (11-3 overall). Hettes has now dropped back-to-back TKO losses, and may be in danger of being released by the UFC, vacating a roster spot for newcomers. He likely will not be cut due to the way in which the fight was ended, even UFC President Dana White did not initially agree with the stoppage. If the UFC keeps Hettes around, a matchup against Carlos Ferreira (11-2, 2-2 in the UFC) would make sense. Ferreira has dropped his last two fights in the UFC, including a recent TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC Fight Night – Mendes vs. Lamas.
Tim Means vs. George Sullivan
Tim Means is on fire, winning his fourth straight in the UFC, improving to 24-6-1 overall, and 6-3 in the UFC. Means was released by the UFC back in July of 2013, and returned to his second stint May 2014, going 4-1 in his second shot. Means has been impressive especially in his last two bouts, finishing Dhiego Lima via TKO strikes and submitting Sullivan last night. Means deserves a crack at a top 15 fighter, a great test would be against #14 welterweight Ryan LaFlare (11-1), who just lost to Demian Maia back in March.
After winning his first two fights in the UFC, George Sullivan loses his first fight in the UFC, falling to 16-4-1 overall, and 2-1 in the UFC. Sullivan could be pitted against Erik Silva (18-5, 1 NC) who has now won back-to-back fights. Silva last fought back in March, when he submitted Josh Koscheck. A win between either opponent would help bolster their stock in the welterweight division.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Aljamain Sterling remains undefeated with a very impressive submission win over 6th ranked bantamweight fighter Takeya Mizugaki. Sterling is now 11-0 overall, and 3-0 in the UFC, this win should definitely earn Sterling a spot in the top 15 bantamweight rankings, and with his impressive record and performance on Saturday night, Sterling could see bigger matches in the bantamweight division. Another fight with a top 10 bantamweight fighter could help further solidify Sterling’s case that he belongs in the top rankings, a matchup with Iuri Alcantara (31-6 overall, #10 ranked bantamweight) could work.
Mizugaki has now dropped back-to-back losses in the UFC, the first time in his UFC career. Mizugaki is still 7-4 in the UFC, so he should still be safe, however he will drop in the rankings. Mizugaki may face another fighter climbing the bantamweight rankings looking to defeat a high ranked fighter: Frankie Saenz. Saenz (10-2 overall, 2-0 in the UFC) is the 12th ranked bantamweight fighter, and Mizugaki would be a great test for Saenz.
Gian Villante vs. Corey Anderson
The light heavyweight division is full of heavy hitters, and Villante is trying to establish himself as one in the division. Villante improves to 3-2 in the UFC (13-5 overall) and won his second straight fight. The division is deep, and Villante will need to win another two fights before flirting with the top 15. A fight against the winner of Anthony Perrosh vs. Sean O’Connel, who will be fighting May 10 in the UFC Fight Night card in Australia.
Corey Anderson loses for the first time in his professional mma career, falling to 5-1, and 2-1 in the UFC. Anderson should not let this loss take the wind away from his sails, he has a bright future in the sport and is still developing. Anderson could face the loser of Fabio Maldonado vs. Steve Bosse, who will fight this week at UFC 186.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Patrick Cummins
St. Preux makes it now back-to-back impressive TKO victories (Shogun and Cummins) after losing for the first time in his UFC career to Ryan Bader. St. Preux (18-6, 6-1 in the UFC) was ranked at seven in the division, and will only move up from here, closer to a title shot. St. Preux vs. Jimi Manuwa would be a great test for both fighters. Manuwa just won a week earlier over Jan Blachowicz, and is the eighth-ranked light heavyweight fighter. The fighters ranked abover St. Preux and Manuwa are all scheduled to fight months ahead, so this fight makes sense.
Patrick Cummins was climbing in the rankings (was #12 entering this fight), unfortunately his three-fight winning streak came to an end Saturday in the hands of St. Preux. Cummins (7-2, 3-2 in the UFC), will have to shake off this loss and remain focused. Jan Blachowicz (18-4) just entered the top 15 before losing last week to Jimmy Manuwa, and is in the same situation as Cummins, looking to rebound from a disappointing loss. Patrick Cummins vs. Jan Blachowicz sounds good.
Beneil Dariush vs. Jim Miller
Dariush just keeps winning and is very impressive in each fight with his grappling. Dariush (11-1, 5-1 in the UFC) is now on a four-fight winning streak, and has now defeated a top 15 lightweight in Jim Miller. This win will boost Dariush’s stock and ranking. Dariush could face another top 15 fighter on the rise, Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta just came off of a close split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal on April 4. Iaquinta is also dangerous on the ground with his wrestling, and this would be a great test for bith fighters.
Jim Miller (24-6, 1 NC) has now lost his last two UFC fights, and could slip in the rankings. Miller is still a tough competitor and can turn it around. Miller vs. Jorge Masvidal would be great to see, Miller has the advantage on the ground, and Masvidal has the edge in standup, and great take down defense. Both fighters could use a win to stay relevant in the rankings.
Paige VanZant vs. Felice Herrig
The lovely ladies mixed it up and Paige VanZant simply dominated Herrig. VanZant (5-1, 2-0 in the UFC) was ranked 12th in the straw weight divison and Herrig was number eight. VanZant is only 21 years old and is getting better and better with Team Alpha Male. At UFC 186, Randa Markos and Aisling Daly will square off. VanZant could be on deck to face the winner of that fight to see who climbs the straw weight division rankings.
Felice Herrig falls to 10-6 overall and 1-1 in the UFC. Herrig will drop a few spots, possibly to #10 with this loss, but she is still relevant in the division. Maryna Moroz improved to 6-0 last week when she defeated Joanne Calderwood, she moved to the ninth spot in the division with that win. Felice Herrig vs. Maryna Moroz would make for a good match up for both ladies.
Max Holloway vs. Cub Swanson
Max Holloway may have won the biggest fight in his career after he submitted #5 ranked featherweight Cub Swanson. Holloway has now won six straight, improving to 13-3 overall and 9-3 in the UFC. The featherweight division is stacked, and Holloway wants to be a contender for the title. Holloway deserves another big named / high-ranked fighter, and a potential title shot with one or two more wins. Frankie Edgar (#2 ranked featherweight) will face Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC Fight Night – Faber vs. Edgar on May 16. The winner of this fight should face Holloway, and then the winner between Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar/Urijah Faber should get a title shot.
Cub Swanson drops back-to-back fights now in the UFC and for the first time in his mma career. Swanson (21-7) will drop in the rankings and may be out of action for a while after sustaining a broken jaw and hand in this fight. It will be hard to determine how long Swanson will be out and who he may face upon his return. Swanson will be back and ready to to redeem himself.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
Ronaldo Souza is the number one contender of the middleweight division and now 5-0 in the UFC (22-3, 1 NC overall). With Weidman and Belfort squaring off at UFC 187 in May, “Jacare” is in a tough spot, does he get the next shot, or should Luke Rockhold (#4 ranked middleweight) get it? Luke Rockhold defeated Souza back in Strikeforce, taking his title. Souza was scheduled to face Yoel Romero, but an injury forced him to sit out, and Camozzi took the fight on short notice. Souza is still the number one contender, so most likely “Jacare” gets the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort.
Chris Camozzi was released by the UFC, won back-to-back fights outside of the organization, and helped save this card by stepping in late to face a dangerous fighter in Souza. As stated earlier, Camozzi should be given another shot and face Eddie Gordon.
Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida
Luke Rockhold was phenomenal in his submission win over Machida, making his case to be the next to face the winner of Weidman vs. Belfort. Rockhold was ranked #4 coming into the fight and Machida was #2. Rockhold also holds a win over Souza as mentioned earlier, and is now 14-2 overall, and 4-1 in the UFC. Rockhold has four straight wins now, but he may need one more before getting the title shot. A fight against the loser of the Weidman vs. Belfort title fight makes sense, for if he wins that, he would get the next title shot.
Machida has now lost two of his last three fights, he is still a dangerous fighter and will be back. At 36 however time is not on his side. Machida (22-6) will probably need another high ranked opponent to stay relevant in the title hunt. Lyoto Machida vs. the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Phillipou would make sense. Machida deafeated Mousasi via unanimous decision back in February 2014, but a rematch would make sense for Mousasi if he got passed Phillipou.