What’s Next For The UFC 169 Main Card Winners?
UFC 169 is over and fans were treated to another night of exciting fights.The event, which was the UFC’s forth this year, took place in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and was aired on Fox Sports 1 following the prelims on Fight Pass.
The first fight on the main card was an absolute war. Abel Trujillo and Jamie Varner went at it in a back and forth in a fight, which provided both men with “Fight of the Night” bonuses. “Killa” finished the fight in the second round after nearly being stopped himself, knocking out Varner with a brutal right hand to earn him “Knockout of the Night”.
Ali Bagautinov got another big win in the featherweight division as he took out Brazil’s John Lineker. The win puts the Russian to 3-0 inside the UFC, with him not losing since May 2011.
In the nights only heavyweight fight, Alistair Overeem avoided going 0-3 in his last three fights, by picking up a decision win over former UFC champ Frank Mir. After the fight Overeem oddly called out Brock Lesnar, whom he previously battered at UFC 141.
Then in the co-main event featherweight champ Jose Aldo defended his title against “The Bully” Ricardo Lamas, to remain unbeaten inside the Octagon. With the win Aldo picked up his ninth straight title defence.
Controversy surrounded the main event, after Herb Dean questionably stopped Renan Barão and Urijah Faber’s bantamweight title fight in the very first round. After being dropped by the champion, Faber looked like he had recovered and attempting a takedown. But Barão was landing strikes to the former champion and Dean saw enough to wave off the fight.
Another UFC event means more big fights to make. Here are the matches I think the UFC should make for last nights main card winners:
Fighter – Abel Trujillo
Weight Class – Lightweight
Ranking in the UFC – Outside of top 15
Who they should fight next – Al Iaquinta
Trujillo got the biggest win of his career last night with his knockout over Varner, but it very nearly could have gone the other way. “Killa” is an exciting fighter to watch and his win over Varner was impressive, but he needs to test his skills against another tough fighter before he takes on any of the divisions elite. For that reason I suggest a fight with Al Iaquinta.
Iaquinta also picked up a big win last night in the prelims, against Kevin Lee. The win over Lee puts Iaquinta to 3-0 in the Octagon and earns him a step up in competition next; Trujillo would be a perfect test for him. The two will be looking to fight again at the same time and the fight would likely be a war. Iaquinta vs. Trujillo is the fight to make.
Fighter – Ali Bagautinov
Weight Class – Flyweight
Ranking in the UFC – 7th (yet to be updated)
Who they should fight next – Demetrious Johnson
With his win over Lineker last night, Bagautinov is now 3-0 inside the UFC and on an 11-fight win streak. All of his wins inside the Octagon have been dominant performances and I think Bagautinov’s win over Lineker should grant him a shot against Demetrious Johnson.
“Mighty Mouse” just fought in December, so the two would match up in terms of time scales. As the champ has beat the majority of the contenders in the division and the rest all being booked up to fight, this is the best matchup Joe Silva can make.
Fighter – Alistair Overeem
Weight Class – Heavyweight
Ranking in the UFC – 9th
Who they should fight next – Stefan Struve or Mark Hunt
Originally I was going to suggest Overeem fight Junior Dos Santos for the Brazilian’s return. But after Overeem’s performance last night, does anyone really think that will be a competitive fight? “The Reem” needs to cement himself as a top heavyweight again before he fights someone like JDS, for that reason I think he should take on Stefan Struve or Mark Hunt.
Struve is currently waiting on the all clear to fight again after being sidelined with a heart condition since early last year. If all goes well “Skyscraper” should be fighting again before summer and a fight with “The Reem” would make a very interesting fight.
If that fight doesn’t work out then, I think Overeem should have a rematch with Mark Hunt. Overeem previously beat Hunt back in Pride but both men have drastically changed since then. A fight between Hunt and Overeem makes sense and would likely produce fireworks.
Fighter – Jose Aldo
Weight Class – Featherweight
Ranking in the UFC – Champion
Who they should fight next – Chad Mendes
Aldo picked up his ninth straight title defence with his win over Lamas but the fight again raised questions about the champs cardio. Lamas, like many other opponents Aldo has faced, dominated the champ in the last five minutes after being beaten up for four rounds. The UFC and Aldo want him to fight Anthony Pettis next, but I don’t think we’re ready for that fight yet.
First of all, Pettis hasn’t even defended his belt yet and he needs at least one title defence before he looks for a super-fight. Second, Aldo still has other challenges left at featherweight; the main one being a rematch with Chad Mendes.
Aldo has already knocked out Mendes but “Money” has been on a tear since then, winning 5 straight with four knockouts. Give Mendes’ his rightfully earned shot and if Aldo beats him again, he can move up to fight Pettis.
Fighter – Renan Barão
Weight Class – Bantamweight
Ranking in the UFC – Champion
Who they should fight next – Dominick Cruz – winner of Francisco Rivera vs. Raphael Assuncao
Controversial stoppage or not, Barão was dominating Faber and he needs to take on a different challenge at bantamweight. Faber will come back and most likely get another shot, but for now Barão needs to take on someone else.
While I would love to see Barão take on Dominick Cruz, I also think the former champ needs to get a win under his belt before he challenges the Brazilian.
The most logical match for the Barão now, would be for him to fight the winner of Rivera and Assuncao who fight later this month. Both men are on impressive win streaks and would provide a difficult test for Barão.
What fights do you think should be made after last night’s action?
Photo: Joe Camporeale for USA TODAY Sports