If you’re a Brazilian UFC 156 was an epic night for you. Bigfoot Silva pricks the balloon that is Alistair Overeem, Little Nog pulls off a shocking upset in his own right, Jose Aldo retains and Jon Fitch wore a Damian Maia blanket. It was a tremendous card, as well, with only one really dull fight in Evans-Little Nog. And after a night of relative upsets the question remains: what happens next? I don’t envy Joe Silva at this point. You can read the results quick and dirty here and read the full play by play of the card here.
Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas – Aldo’s sticking around at featherweight for a while. Lamas punched his ticket to a title shot in Chicago. Makes sense for him, too. Anthony Pettis called up Dana and wants Aldo next, apparently, but I think he waits for Benson Henderson instead when all is said and done.
Damian Maia vs. the winner of Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald – You know the only other fighter to consistently take down Jon Fitch that dominantly? Georges St. Pierre. Considering all the wrestlers he’s faced over the years, and all the other fighters, no one has out grappled Jon Fitch as badly as GSP did until Demian Maia spent 13 minutes clinging to his back like he was a mole. Right now with that kind of shellacking he should be either a fight away from a title shot or direct in line to a title shot. I think he fights one more time and with most of the elite of the division fighting on the GSP vs. Nick Diaz card my guess is he gets the winner of Condit/MacDonald.
Hendricks is in line and if he wins he’s next; if he loses don’t be surprised if Maia skips ahead in line. He’s in the driver’s seat right now in the division in an odd way. Why? Because he just did something that no one thought possible. Hendricks knocking out Fitch was unexpected but a possibility. NO ONE thought Maia would school Fitch on the ground so consistent and so thoroughly.
Joe Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson – Flyweight is shallow in depth and this was an incredible fight the first time around. There’s also no other contender and as such I think we get the rematch. Lineker could be in this slot against the TAM product as well in a title eliminator.
Bigfoot Silva vs. Cain Velasquez – Bigfoot wrecked the UFC’s plans for Cain Velasquez in the same way that Gabriel Gonzaga wrecked the UFC’s plans for Couture vs. Cro Cop. Has he done enough to warrant a shot? Maybe. He’s got two big knockouts in a row, one of the guy presumed to be fighting for a title next, but there’s only one downside to Bigfoot challenging again for a title.
We’ve seen this before … and Cain was wearing a tuxedo made up of Bigfoot’s blood when it ended.
Right now it depends on how quickly Cain wants back in the ring I suppose. My guess is Bigfoot gets the title shot, if only because it’s too soon to do Cain/JDS 3 and Cormier has a fight with Frank Mir in April on Fox. There’s some intrigue as Bigfoot has looked better in his past couple fights, destroyed Alistair Overeem in spectacular fashion. That just doesn’t happen.
Tyron Woodley vs. Chris Clements – Woodley just flat out mercked Jay Hieron, a guy who didn’t look completely out-classed against Jake Ellenberger not too long ago. But here’s the thing: he needs a lot more seasoning before he’s ready to get ready for the deep waters. He blew his doors off, of course, and he blitzed him in a way his Missouri wrestling teammate Ben Askren didn’t. But he’s not ready to drop into the deep waters of the deepest division in MMA. He’s not far removed from being stopped emphatically by Nate Marquardt; let’s not forget that. He needs some seasoning first. Clements is winnable but a tough fight. Matthew Riddle could be another one to slot in here as well as the winner of Matt Brown vs. Dan Hardy as well. Woodley gets someone who’s had a win or two in the UFC but won’t be contending for a spot in the Top 10 in the near future. Potentially the winner of Amir Sadollah vs. Stephen Thompson could be here as well.
Bobby Green vs. the winner of Colin Fletcher vs. Mike Ricci – Heck of a comeback from Green, who was getting out-grappled by Jacob Volkmann, and at this point I think he gets brought along slowly. Green is like a newer version of Melvin Guillard in a handful of ways (mainly because they’re both super-explosive athletes). I think he gets brought along slowly and the winner of the two most recent TUF losers could make an awful lot of sense. Volkmann is a quality win but the luster on him isn’t what it was a short while ago.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Glover Teixiera – Little Nog just beat the #2 guy in his division and you’d think that’d put him in position for Jon Jones next, if he beats Chael Sonnen in New Jersey of course. Unfortunately it was a bad fight and he didn’t look all that impressive; it’s a quality win and he deserved to take it but mercking Rashad Evans means more than merely out-boxing him. Glover makes sense as a follow up to that in a title eliminator. He’s already fought (and lost) to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis, the obvious matchups, but Glover is new and could be fun. Vinnie Magalhaes if he beats Davis could be another matchup to make, as well, as Lil Nog is going to get a fresh matchup instead of a rematch.
Alistair Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos – JDS wants this fight. Overeem wants this fight. No one thought it would happen because the Brazilian lost his title and the Dutchman thought he had a short walk to a title shot through Bigfoot. It’s a money fight, even if the luster is off for a little bit. You can put it underneath Cain’s first title defense, too, and it’d work.
Rashad Evans vs. Brandon Vera – So you’re the #2 light heavyweight in the world, the only man to go the distance with Jon Jones in a title fight, and what happens? You show up for a job interview for the position of “Next Title Challenger for Anderson Silva or Jon Jones” hungover, pants soiled in your own filth with a five o’clock shadow speaking in a “hybrid of hillbilly, valley girl, inner-city slang and various grunts” like Mike Judge famously opined in Idiocracy. Who does he get next? Vera is in a similar spot, a former contender who’s been banking on that for far too long. It’s winnable for “Suga” and could be a fun PPV opener.
Jon Fitch vs. the loser of Rory MaDonald vs. Carlos Condit – The loser of this fight is in the same place as Fitch is right now on the ranking chart, would be a fresh matchup and probably a good fight. If Jake Ellenberger loses to Johny Hendricks this could be a matchup as well; Fitch is still going to get an elite matchup despite being thrashed by Maia.
Ian McCall vs. Jon Dodson – McCall is just getting out-hustled in the UFC and looks like the best guy in the UFC to not have actually won a fight. He’s 0-2-1, both losses to the finalist of the UFC flyweight tournament, and I don’t think his fortunes are going to get any better in this one. Dodson is a nightmare matchup as he’s similar to Benavidez in athleticism, et al, but it’s oddly winnable as well because Dodson has this odd tendency to not show up on occasion.
Frankie Edgar vs. Hatsu Hioki – Edgar’s in a crazy spot right now; maybe 6-7 rounds have separated him over a total of 75 minutes in three fights against two of the top five fighters in the world regardless s of weight class. He’s got three straight losses but some people have scored him on a three fight winning streak, as well. Frankie doesn’t deserve a rematch at this point because Ricardo Lamas is next in line. I think he should get a couple wins under his belt and needs a fight that won’t hurt the division, either. Hioki’s going to need some time to build back up as he can survive a third loss.
Jacob Volkmann vs. Ryan Couture – Bad night for the man nicknamed “Christmas” and wannabe political pundit Volkmann to lose in such spectacular fashion. Love the guy, funny in an odd sense, and always on the cusp of moving into the Top 10 but always losing before he gets there. Bobby Green outworked him, pure and simple, and I think he goes significant fight on FX to maybe back on Facebook again. Ryan Couture needs someone to gauge how good he can be and I think Volkmann would be a perfect fight.