Jordan Mein vs. Court McGee:
An exciting Octagon debut to say the least nearly gave Mein his path to victory. He went back and forth with UFC veteran Matt Brown and put a hurting on him at times. Mein (27-9, 1-1 UFC) has dangerous striking and can go toe to toe with nearly anyone in the division. He is a technician with his punches and is athletic, moving more like a lightweight than a welterweight. Court McGee is another veteran coming off his welterweight debut, when he beat Josh Neer at UFC 157 and displayed an effective boxing game. McGee (14-3, 4-2 UFC) would make a dynamic standoff should he be paired with Jordan Mein.
Matt Brown vs. Erik Silva:
This grinding veteran is one of the most exciting fighters to watch and will never be counted out of a fight unless he’s unconscious. He finds ways to lower his opponent’s skill level by making them fight his fight. The reason being is that Brown (17-11, 10-5 UFC) not only can take a punch, but he can almost always bait his opponent into a brawl that they weren’t planning on getting in. Tested welterweight Erik Silva is a talented young Brazilian that would give Brown a hard fight. Silva (14-3, 2-2) has proved his dominance in three of his four fights, and against Jon Fitch put up a war. Both Brown and Silva are contenders for fight of the night and this matchup would be hard to beat for that bonus.
Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson:
The Stockton brothers have had a rough couple of last fights but their stocks as entertaining and world class fighters remains high. Diaz (16-9, 11-7 UFC) caught a shin to the forehead that should be able to knock any human being out. And it was still surprising to see Nate go down like he did. But Nate can still be great, and another fun fight for him would be a fellow Ultimate Fighter winner. Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (13-3, 3-1 UFC) is coming off a loss against Michael Johnson but has been one of the most improved fighters from his season of the Ultimate Fighter. The two could go at it on the feet, and Ferguson has a lot to gain with that win.
Josh Thomson vs. Anthony Njokuani:
“The Punk” came out and shocked the world by knocked out Nate Diaz, a feat nobody has ever accomplished. Thomson was inside the pocket with Diaz the whole fight and the two painted the canvas red. The fight was anyone’s to take until he snapped off a deadly head kick. Earlier on the undercard, Anthony Njokuani (16-6, 3-3 UFC) also picked up a victory. With a left hook that got him the finish, “The Assassin” would make an explosive kickboxing style bout with Thomson. Thomson (20-5, 3-1 UFC) has the athletic and power edge, but as Njokuani proved on Saturday with his KO of a much stronger Roger Bowling, technique trumps power.
Frank Mir vs. Brendan Schaub:
Mir looked good on Saturday. Technically and physically, he brought more to the table than he normally has, he just didn’t implement the killer instinct and lost a dull decision. His new work ethic and world class ground game would make an interesting fight for the much younger Brendan Schaub who has recently refined his grappling. Schaub (9-3, 5-3 UFC) who trains in Beverly Hills with the Gracie Brothers has discovered brazilian jiu jitsu as the path to victory for him in the UFC. Schaub is coming off a win, but not a terribly impressive one. And Mir (16-7, 14-7 UFC) coming off a loss, that didn’t lower his rank all that much.
Daniel Cormier vs. Travis Browne:
If Daniel Cormier (12-0, 1-0 UFC) really won’t drop to light heavyweight, he may as well get a chance to show his fists can still hurt people in a cage with eight sides. Travis Browne just got done with Gabriel Gonzaga by landing a flurry of awkward and painful elbows to the temple. Browne (14-1, 5-1-1 UFC) is a guy who has believed himself to be top their for some time now, and if he can get past the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion than the hype could be legitimate. Until then, he needs to take down a top big man to be a real contender. Browne vs Cormier could make for an old fashioned heavyweight punch out.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Jim Miller:
“El Niño” came into the UFC on a mission, and although his game faded in late rounds, he looked really solid. Melendez (21-3, 0-1 UFC) had an aggressive and accurate offense, and took the fight to the champion. There aren’t many places in a fight that the former Strikeforce champion is at a disadvantage in. Another guy like that? Jim Miller. Miller (22-4, 11-3) is one of the most well rounded 155 pound fighters out there and showed that battering Joe Lauzon in his last fight. Both recently dropping matches to Benson Henderson, a win for one of these guys places them right back up at the top.
Benson Henderson vs. Jose Aldo or Anthony Pettis:
The next challenger for the lightweight strap isn’t exactly clear just yet. But after Aldo takes on Pettis, it will be. The good thing about this scenario is that both Aldo (22-1, 4-0 UFC) and Pettis (16-2, 3-1 UFC) are great match ups for Henderson (19-2, 7-0 UFC), and both present equally difficult fights for the champ. These would be fights that Henderson hasn’t dealt with as champion yet. Equally athletic and dextrous strikers that are able to finish fights, dominantly. Aldo will serve up some of Benson’s own medicine with piercing leg kicks. He can also mix knees and punches into his offense that would hurt anyone. Pettis on the other hand has been chomping at the bit to fight Benson since coming to the UFC. If Benson takes on either of these two guys next, a decision wouldn’t be likely.