Matchmaking 101: Potential Match-Ups for the UFC 150 Main Card Fighters
10 fighters participated on the UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II card this past Saturday night. Five of them won and five of them lost. All of them will more than likely be back inside the Octagon sometime within the next four months or so.
We already know who Benson Henderson will be facing as UFC President Dana White confirmed before his UFC Lightweight title fight that Nate Diaz would be facing the winner regardless of the outcome. That leaves nine guys looking for their next fight. Let’s take a look at potential match-ups for each man.
Max Holloway: The 20-year-old Hawaii native looked good throughout his two round fight with Justin Lawrence. Many felt he was at a disadvantage on the feet, but lo and behold he scored an impressive 2nd round TKO. There is another featherweight who fought on Saturday night that I think he would match up well with and that is Dennis Bermudez. Both men are on two fight winning streaks and the winner can move up the ladder while the loser gets knocked down a few pegs.
Justin Lawrence: With his striking credentials I thought it was just a matter of time before he knocked Holloway out, but at the end of the night it was Lawrence who was on his back looking up at the ceiling. He is just 22-years-old and only has five career professional bouts to his credit. He has so much room to grow and I’m sure he’ll get another shot in the UFC. I’d like to see him matched up with Cody McKenzie who is coming off a loss to Chad Mendes.
Yushin Okami: “Thunder” needed a win Saturday night and while it may not have been his most impressive performance it snapped a two fight losing streak and took some pressure off of him. There is one fighter who I would like to see Okami take on next; Constantinos Philippou. Okami is still a big name and would offer a stiff test for Philippou who is riding a four fight winning streak. This would also be an opportunity for Okami to show he still has what it takes to be a contender against a man on a nice streak.
Buddy Roberts: The loss to Okami snapped a six fight win streak for the Fort Worth native. He was performing pretty well when the fight was contested on the feet, but had absolutely no answers once Okami took him down. He will definitely get another shot in the UFC especially because he took this fight on short notice. Maybe a bout with Jared Hamman is in the cards. Hamman lost to Michael Kuiper on Saturday night, but is a tough out for anyone. Roberts isn’t about to get a high profile fight and a bout with Hamman makes perfect sense.
Jake Shields: He controlled Ed Herman for the entire three round fight and seemed like he took to the jump up in weight pretty well. Dealing with the thin Colorado air isn’t the best environment to gauge how one looks when making a change in weight divisions, but he did what he had to do. Herman is an extremely tough fighter and is always tough to finish. I have a perfect match-up for Shields and that would be Rousimar Palhares. Neither man has pretty stand-up and they both rely on a very good ground attack.
Ed Herman: The loss to Shields snapped a three fight win streak for Herman and I was a bit puzzled at his game plan. I couldn’t understand why he chose to clinch with Shields the whole fight. His striking is better and he has some good power in his hands, you would think he’d try to exploit Shields’ weaknesses. Anyway, he will have to go back to the drawing board and fix what went wrong. I wouldn’t mind seeing him take on Patrick Cote who is coming off a loss to Cung Le at UFC 148. Herman would have an advantage on the ground, but Cote has more power in his hands, could be interesting.
Donald Cerrone: I named Cerrone my UFC 150 M.V.P. and he certainly deserved it. He took home both the Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night bonuses in his win over good friend Melvin Guillard. He got rocked early on, but never panicked and as soon as he landed that shin to the head of Guillard he knew exactly what to do without wasting anytime. It looks as though he will take on former WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis with the winner possibly facing the winner of Diaz-Henderson. With a 6-1 record in the UFC, he deserves another big fight.
Melvin Guillard: Guillard got real reckless after rocking Cerrone early on and he paid dearly for it. He is 1-3 in his last four fights after winning five straight bouts from February of 2010 through July of 2011. I for one would love to see him take on Jamie Varner. Both men love to fight and Varner would definitely test Guillard’s takedown defense. Varner looked good in his loss to Joe Lauzon last weekend on UFC on Fox, but let’s see how long he is out with his injured hand.
Frankie Edgar: In a perfect world Edgar would be preparing to face Diaz in an attempt to defend his regained lightweight title, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen. I along with many others believe Edgar won and in the process recaptured the title he lost in Japan at UFC 144. I would love to see Edgar drop down to 145 and give Aldo a run for his money, but he seems intent on staying in the lightweight division. There are so many options here. A rematch with Jim Miller who he defeated in 2006 would be a good fight or how about Edgar vs. Diego Sanchez? I really like the sound of that one as both men have huge hearts and leave it all inside the Octagon.
Benson Henderson: He will attempt to defend his title for the second time hopefully later this year against Diaz. Rumors are swirling that these two will meet in the main event of UFC on Fox 5 in December with a potential co-main event of BJ Penn-Rory MacDonald. Whether or not you feel Henderson won on Saturday is now irrelevant and we have a great fight to look forward to when the Stockton native attempts to win UFC gold against Henderson. Bendo should look to utilize his wrestling advantage here as Diaz, much like his older brother, has extremely underrated boxing and uses it to slow his opponents down. This will be another great bout for the UFC lightweight championship.