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 Fight Night 103.
Yair Rodriguez: Cub Swanson:
Rodriguez looked crazy good on Sunday night. However, it is really hard to know if Rodriguez is the fighter that instantly looks like a threat to the featherweight belt, or if he just looked so good because he faced a fighter that was greatly passed his prime and shouldn’t be in that kind of matchup. After winning the Ultimate Fighter Latin America season and being 6-0 in the UFC, he needs to be matchup up with a top 10 fighter. Cub Swanson would be the perfect opponent. He is similar to Rodriguez and throws caution to the wind. If you seen his last fight with Dooho Choi, you know he is all action. Let’s put these two strikers against each other.
BJ Penn: Retirement:
BJ Penn was a special talent. He really was a prodigy. However the times have passed him by. For every long time fan of the sport who loved watching him fight, none of us want to see him take a beating anymore. If the UFC puts Penn in another fight, they should be arrested and charged with a hate crime.
Joe Lauzon: Gilbert Melendez
I have always loved Joe Lauzon, but there was no way in hell that he won that fight. Held clearly won the last two rounds, perhaps even stole the first round. Glad that Lauzon admitted that he lost. Lauzon will never be a title challenger. He is just a guy that you want to put in fun fight. Let’s match him up with Gilbert Melendez. Both guys like to fight in the pocket, and both have been in some of the best fights of all time. Let’s match them up and see instant action.
Marcin Held: Olivier Aubin-Mercer.
Held didn’t lose that fight, so I am not gonna treat him like he did. Olivier Aubin-Mercer would be an interesting matchup. Both guys have been known for their grappling and have worked on their standup games. Would Mercer’s top control beat out Held’s dangerous submission attempts? Match them together and let us find out.
Ben Saunders: Josh Burkman.
Saunders’ third stint in the UFC started off with a decision. Saunders can be a good fighter when he either uses his range or gets to the clinch. Add in a nice busy guard game, and Saunders is a decent talent. However, after 12 fights in the UFC, you know what he is. He is a mid card fighter. Match up the long time UFC welterweight against another longtime UFC welterweight Joshua Burkman. Both guys are the classic midcard fighter.
Court McGee: Sultan Aliev.
McGee is very similar to Saunders. They ain’t similar in how they fight, but similar to what level of fighter they are. McGee is a pressure fighter that lands heavy leg kicks and takedowns, but he is nothing but a midcard filer. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Match him up with Sultan Aliev, who is currently 1-1 in the UFC.
Sergio Pettis: Jussier “Formiga” DaSilva.
Sergio Pettis picked up the biggest win of his career. Pettis, who many were disappointed that he wasn’t the instant star that his brother Anthony was, looked much improved. He displayed power that he hasn’t shown before, and a nice takedown defense. Still at only 23 years old, we could continue to see big improvement between fights. Pettis was originally set to face Jussier “Formiga” DaSilva on Sunday. He called for the fight in the post fight interview. If Formiga is healthy enough to fight. Let’s them go at it.
John Moraga: Ali Bagautino.
Moraga has talked about retirement, and is now on a 3 fight losing streak, looking very lackluster in the last two fights. Ali Bagautinov has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. Match these two guys up and see if one of the former flyweight championship contenders can turn their career’s back around.