Who’s Next? Playing Matchmaker with UFC on Fox 26 Fighters

Nov 5, 2016; Mexico City, Mexico; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Distrito Federal. Mandatory Credit: Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports

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; it is me stating that if I was in control of the UFC matchmaking how I would match these fighters next. I will give my matchups for all the fighters of the UFC on  Fox 26.

 

Rafael dos Anjos: Colby Covington

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What a brilliant performance by Rafael dos Anjos! He erased any doubt that he made the correct choice to move up to welterweight after a long run at lightweight. Dos Anjos beat the former welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler in every facet of the fight game. He picked him apart from range, working him inside the clinch, landed takedowns, worked the body, pressed the action, and landed vicious leg kicks at will.

UFC President, Dana White said before the fight that the winner of dos Anjos and Lawler would get a title shot. I think this is likely, but the current champion, Tyron Woodley is scheduled to have shoulder surgery and there is no timetable for his return. Also, you have to remember that this is not guessing what the UFC will do, but what the should do.

The former lightweight champion, dos Anjos is 3-0 in the division.  I know of a fighter that is 8-1 in the division. The same guy is riding a five-fight winning streak. That fighter is brash Colby Covington. Covington has already asked for the fight.

Imagine dos Anjos trying to defend the honor of his home country of Brazil against the villain Colby Covington. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? Winner gets title shot against Woodley.

 

Robbie Lawler: Jorge Masvidal

Robbie Lawler is 35 years old, has 40 fights under his belt, been in countless wars, and has won one out of his last three fights. With all these facts, many are doubting that Lawler can compete with the best in the division any longer. He could handle the speed and pressure of dos Anjos.

Lawler is a top 10 ranked fighter, that needs a fun stylistic matchup. His former teammate Jorge Masvidal is also a top 10 ranked fighter that is on a two-fight skid.  Both guys love to sling leather. The winner would stay in contention, the loser would be stuck fighting mid-card talent.

 

Josh Emmett: Winner of Michael Johnson and Darren Elkins

Josh Emmett is claiming that he shocked the world. Maybe he shocked the rest of the world when he knocked out Ricard Lamas. He didn’t the MMA Takeover. Half of our staff predicted that Emmett would pull off the upset, myself included in our staff predictions.

I think Emmett is a legit talent that could make a serious run in the division. He is large for the division, athletic, a good wrestler, and has big power in his hands. With Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega likely getting the next two shots at the featherweight crown, Emmett is going to need to pick up some more solid wins in the division. I think he should take on the winner of Michael Johnson and Darren Elkins. The winner of that matchup could find themselves ranked in the top 10. Would be a good matchup for Emmett.

 

Ricardo Lamas: Winner of Shane Burgos and Calvin Kattar

Ricardo Lamas chances of getting another shot at the title plummeted by a left hook from Josh Emmett. At 35 years old, it is unlikely that he will work himself back to getting a title shot. He needs to be used as a litmus test for young fighters. I think Lamas should fight the winner of Shane Burgos and Calvin Kattar, who fight each other at UFC 220.

Burgos is an undefeated fighter, who would be 4-0 in the UFC if he beats Kattar. A win for Kattar would improve his record to 18-2. he would be 2-0 in the UFC,  he would have a nine-fight winning streak, and hasn’t lost in over seven years (sure he took three-year absence). The winner of the matchup would have earned a big name opponent.

 

Santiago Ponzinibbio: Darren Till

I know fans were dying to see Darren Till take on Mike Perry, unfortunately, Santiago Ponzinibbio ruined those plans. Ponzinibbio had a perfect plan to beat Perry. He wore down Perry with leg kicks in the beginning of the fight, and when he saw Perry’s movement start to slow, Argentina stepped into his striking range and tattooed Platinum with punches. Sure, Ponzinibbio isn’t the trash talker that Perry is, he is the better fighter. Till is the hot commodity in the welterweight division while Ponzinibbio has flown under the radar while compiling a six-fight winning streak. I would match these two fantastic strikers against each other, and the winner would have a very compelling case for a title fight.

 

Mike Perry: Yancy Mederios

Many people were ready to anoint Mike Perry the next king of the welterweight division, but he didn’t look like it on Saturday. Perry has some serious punching power backed by a granite chin. However, he seems way too one dimensional and is gonna need more tools to hang with the top fighters in the division. The man called Platinum is a fun action fighter, but likely not ever gonna be a serious title contender. Feed him fighters that will engage him in a firefight and entertain the crowd. That is right up Yancy’ Mederios’ wheelhouse

 

Glover Teixeira: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Talk about a fight that had two extremes in just a single round. Misha Cirkunov was really piecing Glover Teixeira on the feet to start the first round. The former title challenger Teixeira looked like an aging fighter, and a fighter that wasn’t top level anymore. Suddenly he gets the fight to the ground and he reminds everyone how great he is in grappling and submits Cirkunov. Being that Teixeira has a loss recently, I think he needs to pick up another win. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua needs a dance partner. Let them fight each other.

 

Misha Cirkunov: Gadzirhumad Antigulov

Cirkunov has lost two fights in a row, both by first-round stoppage. Have him face Gadzirhumad Antigulov next.

 

Prelims:

  • Jan Blachowicz: Jordan Johnson
  • Jarred Cannonier: Dominick Reyes
  • Julian Marquez: Vitor Miranda
  • Darren Stewart: Brad Scott
  • Chad Laprise: Matt Brown
  • Galore Bofando: Alex Morono
  • Nordine Taleb: Niko Price
  • Danny Roberts: Warlley Alves
  • John Makdessi: “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim
  • Abel Trujillo: Darrell Horcher
  • Alessio Di Chirico: Ryan Janes
  • Oluwale Bamgbose: Cut From the UFC
  • Jordan Mein: Jake Mathews
  • Erick Silva: Cut From the UFC

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