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Who’s Next: Match Making UFC Fight Night 105 Main Card Fighters with Next Opponent

Feb 19, 2017; Halifax, NS, Canada; Paul Felder (red gloves) reacts after defeating Alessandro Ricci (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

By Keith Shillan

So we have all done it after a certain fight. We have all made suggestions on who a certain fighter should fight next after a match. This article isn’t me looking into a crystal ball and predicting who the UFC will matchup up next, but it is me stating that if I was in control of the UFC matchmaking, I would match these fighters next. I will give my matchups for all main card fighters for UFC on Fight Night 105.

 

Derrick Lewis: Francis Ngannou

I keep doubting him, but somehow Derrick Lewis finds a way to pull out victories. He has proven that he can overcome adversity and pull out victory. Lewis now has 6 straight victories in the heavyweight division and now has the biggest win of his career by beaten Travis Browne. Lewis has cemented his name in the top 10 rankings and is 1 or 2 wins away from a title shot. Why not matchup Lewis with Francis Ngannou, who is also one of the hottest new heavyweights that propelled himself into the top 10 rankings. It would also be a fun matchup to see Lewis power and killer instinct vs Ngannou’s athleticism and speed. The winner of the matchup would propel into the top 5 rankings.

Travis Browne: Roy Nelson

Browne was so close to victory but somehow wasn’t able to close the door and keep his bleak chances of a title run alive. Browne doesn’t have the killer instinct to be a contender and also doesn’t seem to have the fight IQ. However he is still a pretty big name and needs to be matched up against another big name that isn’t in title contention. Roy Nelson fits that bill. Both fighters have had very long runs in the UFC and somehow haven’t fought yet. Let’s change that.

Johny Hendricks: Thiago Santos

Can we pump the breaks on the idea of Hendricks making a serious run at the middleweight title? The former welterweight champion is extremely small for the weight class. Sure he looked much better against Hector Lombard, than his last few fight. However, Lombard is the perfect matchup for Hendricks at middleweight. Lombard is also undersized for the weight class. All that said, Hendricks still only won a very close decision. Let’s match up Hendricks with a different body structure. Thiago Santos is a long, lean middleweight with serious power, plus fought on the same card so the turn around would be the same. If Hendricks can get by a larger middleweight, then we can take his middleweight run serious.

Hector Lombard: Chris Camozzi

I have no issue if the UFC decides to release Lombard. He can’t figure out what weight class is best for him, his cardio isn’t the best, his chin has fallen apart, and he is up there in age. However, I expect the UFC to hold on to him a bit longer because he still has serious power in his hands and is good candidate to make a highlight. Let’s give Lombard a serious drop in competition. Give him a journeyman like Chris Camozzi. Perhaps Lombard can show a flash of the guy that everyone was so excited about when he came in to the UFC. However, if he can’t beat Camozzi, it’s time to retire.

Gavin Tucker: Jason Knight

What a first impression by Gavin Tucker! You couldn’t have asked for a better performance in your UFC debut. He battered Sam Sicilia for 3 rounds in front of his hometown Halifax crowd. Tucker showed that he is very fast, elusive, and has many offensive tools. He also showed that he knows about gamesmanship. Let’s put this future contender against Jason Knight. Knight is also one of the top prospects in the featherweight division. He is riding a 3 fight winning streak in the UFC. Imagine how fun it would be to see these two taunt each other while going at it. The winner would have huge buzz around him.

Sam Sicilia: Release From the UFC

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I always hate to say that the UFC should cut a fighter, but Sicilia simple doesn’t seem to be on the UFC level anymore. He is now 5-7 in the UFC and on a 3 fight losing streak. He was stopped by Doo Ho Choi and Gabriel Benitez in back to back fights, and had zero offense against Tucker. The time has come to move on.

Elias Theodorou: David Branch

Just for the record, I scored the fight for Cezar Ferreira but have no issue with Theodorou getting the decision. I am not overly impressed by Theodorou’s skills, but he seems to find a gameplan to keep beating his opponents. Now at 5-1 in the UFC, it’s time for Theodorou to get a big step up in competition. David Branch has been newly signed by the UFC. He was the WSOF middleweight and light heavyweight champion. He was widely regarded as the most talented middleweight outside of the UFC. See if Theodorou is ready for that level of competition or not.

Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira: Gerald Meerschaert

While I thought Mutante should have got the victory, it was close enough to justify Theodorou with the victory. Mutante has always been known for his grappling but has recently made great strides with his striking. Gerald Meerschaert also is a well rounded middleweight, who picked up a very slick armbar submission victory earlier in the evening. They are on the same schedule. Match them up.

Sara McMann: Raquel Pennington

McMann is a very talented fighter that was thrown to the wolves a little to earlier. With her great power, elite wrestling, and improving submissions and striking, she seems like a true threat to the title. With champion Amanda Nunes likely defending her title against Valentina Shevchenko next, let’s put McMann in a #1 contender matchup. Raquel Pennington is a well rounded fighter on a 4 fight winning streak. The winner of their matchup would surely put themselves on deck for a title shot.

Gina Mazany: Send to Invicta

Mazany was set up to be a lamb for the slaughter, and she played the role well. Mazany is an inexperienced fighter that needs to develop her skills before being in the big stage again. Send her to Invicta and see is she can work herself back to the UFC.

Paul Felder: Chad Laprise

Felder is a well rounded fighter that seems to be gaining some confidence in his skills. He has won 3 out of his last 4 in a very good weight class. Let’s match him up with Chad Laprise. Laprise is a rough and tough Canadian fighter, who won a season of the Ultimate Fighter. He stands at 4-2 in the UFC and is pretty well rounded like Felder. Let them face off and see who can make a push towards the top 10 rankings.

Alessandro Ricci: Release From the UFC

Ricci is a pretty fun fighter, but at 34 years old and in a stacked weight class, there isn’t much room for improvement. He is now 0-2 in the UFC. Cut him and make room for a fighter that is younger and has more potential.

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