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 107: London
Jimi Manuwa: Jon Jones
It wasn’t too long ago that Jimi Manuwa looked like a gate keeper, but after two brutal knockouts, he looks like the next title contender. Manuwa has displayed crazy power in his wins over Ovince St. Preaux and Corey Anderson. Manuwa called for a title fight next with the winner of Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson winner. However, there is a guy returning in July that also has a strong argument for a title shot. Jon Jones never lost his title and has a win over current champion, Daniel Cormier. However, after only winning one fight in what will be a two and a half span, the longtime champion needs to prove that he is still the best in the division (unless you are Georges St. Pierre). The winner of the matchup between Jones and Manuwa would easily cement their argument for the next title shot.
Corey Anderson: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
I know I am gonna get killed for saying this should be the next matchup. First, I don’t think Nogueira, who turns 41 should still be fighting. However, he is still under contract and the UFC plans on using him. So, why not help use his name to pump up somebody else? Anderson has skills but a very suspect chin. However, the UFC light heavyweight division is in need of contenders. While I don’t think Anderson is a real contender, perhaps he can work on his defense, while fighting subpar opponents with “big names” like Nogueira does until then.
Gunner Nelson: Carlos Condit
How great did Nelson look on Saturday? While I thought Jouban would be outskilled by Nelson, I didn’t expect for that much of a destruction. Nelson has always been known for his elite grappling game, but he has worked with the SBG Ireland team on his standup skills and now has some serious striking. He has battered back to back opponents in Albert Tumenov and Alan Jouban, who are both known for their striking. Nelson needs a very high ranked opponent. Let’s match him up against Carlos Condit. Condit is also a great striker, who has been so closed to winning the UFC gold (yes, he won the interim title in the past). Condit was easily taken out by Demain Maia’s elite ground game in his last fight, let’s see if Condit has made any grappling improvements, and have him face a guy also with elite submission skills.
Alan Jouban: Matt Brown
Jouban has made great strides in his career in a push to reach the top 10 rankings, but Gunner Nelson showed on Saturday that Jouban is not top 10 material. Let’s just match him up in a fun striking battle. Matt Brown is a former top 10 fighter that has been a huge skid lately. Brown has lost 5 of his last 6 fights. Brown is clearly at the end of his career, but is still a crowd favorite and willing to stand with anybody. Let’s they two guys, who love to trade leather, go at it.
Marlon Vera: Justin Scoggins
Vera was in such a hard situation on Saturday. Takes a fight on short notice, has to fight Brad Pickett in his home country in Pickett’s retirement fight. He is a big underdog, and was down 2 rounds heading into the third round. Not many people gave him a shot to win (I did), but then a high kick gave him the win. Vera showed he had so much heart. Let’s match him up with Justin Scoggins. Scoggins has showed flashes of greatness in his young career, however has been very inconsistent. Let these two young guys face each other and see who moves up the rankings.
Brad Pickett: Retirement
Enjoy retirement Pickett, you will be missed.
Arnold Allen: Levan Makashvili
I was so impressed by Allen. The guy showed good standup skills, great grappling, cardio and heart. The Englishman is only 23 years old and already has a 3-0 record. I don’t want to rush the guy because of his age. If I was running the UFC, I would bring back Levan Makashvili. The fighter from Georgia (country) is 13-2 in MMA. He was cut from the UFC with only losing 1 fight in the organization. Makashvili has since gone on to CES MMA and won three fights in a row including a win over former UFC veteran Sean Soriano. Let’s matchup these two featherweights.
Makwan Amirkhani: Paddy Pimblett
I was really impressed with Amirkhani even in a loss. He has some really good wrestling. His issue is two things. First, he is too aggressive. There were many times in the fight with Arnold Allen that he got the takedown, but instead of controlling the position, he would lose it by attempting to end the fight with a submission. Second, he has to learn to control his energy. He lost the fight in the 3rd round because he started to slow down and Allen pressed the action. I would still like to see Amirkhani in a good matchup. The UFC should bring in Cage Warriors featherweight Patrick “Paddy” Pimblett. The 22 year old Englishman is brash talking but highly skilled, especially on the ground. Time to bring him in to the big show and see if he is the real deal.