UFC 144 fallout: Let’s play UFC matchmaker edition

I must say that UFC 144 was a splendid event. It looked like a very solid event on paper, but the fights themselves exceeded my expectations to say the least. I thought the Japanese crowd was pretty good for the most part, as they were certainly more vocal than I expected them to be. We had some awesome submissions, a great comeback fight, and an excellent main event. Let’s put our UFC matchmaker hat on and get to work though shall we?

  • Ben Henderson is the new UFC lightweight champion. It looks as though Anthony Pettis is going to get the next shot, but I don’t think he deserves it. It’s true he has a victory over Henderson in the past, but that was many moons ago. Also, defeating Jeremy Stephens via split decision and then beating Joe Lauzon(although impressively) isn’t enough to earn a title shot as neither of those fighters are top ten guys. Henderson should face the winner of the Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller matchup that’ll be on the UFC on FOX 3 event in May. If Diaz can pull off that win it would be back to back wins over two top ten opponents. I’m honestly not a fan of Miller getting a shot with a win over Diaz. He just lost to Henderson in dominating fashion barely six months ago. I would be in favor of Pettis getting the shot over him unless he absolutely just mauls Nate Diaz.
  • Frankie Edgar should listen to those that tell him to move to the featherweight division. It’s true that he has fought well as a lightweight, but the roads only going to get tougher from here on out. Also, he has taken a tremendous amount of punishment which will begin to catch up with him as he continues to fight bigger opponents.
  • Ryan Bader’s win over Rampage Jackson was impressive, but some of the shine was taken away with Jackson missing weight. I do think Jackson was injured though. It’s clear that Dan Henderson is going to try and set out for a title shot if he can so he’s probably out of the equation. The next available logical choice is Shogun Rua.
  • Rampage Jackson needs to get with a serious camp if he wants to continue fighting at a high level. He’s been a totally different fighter since breaking ties with Juanito Ibarra in my opinion. Jackson needs a fight that will motivate him to train, but he also needs a winnable fight as another lackluster loss would probably take away what little shine he has left on his star power. I know Forrest Griffin is rumored to fight Tito Ortiz for the third time. However, a rematch with Jackson is warranted as I thought Jackson should have gotten the nod against Griffin way back at UFC 86.
  • Mark Hunt has been reborn!  I knew he had a shot at touching Kongo’s chin, but I just didn’t think it would happen. Kongo was close to being a top ten fighter, so you can’t really give Hunt a lower ranked opponent next at this stage of his career. Fabricio Werdum needs another win before he get a title shot in my opinion. All the other viable opponents are booked except Shane Carwin, and who knows we’ll he will be back since he had surgery.
  • Let Cheick Kongo face Roy Nelson.
  • Jakes Shields can face Diego Sanchez. Shields defeating Sanchez in a grappling match back in the day. I would say Jon Fitch, but I don’t like to torture our readers :).
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama fought well against a good welterweight in Shields, but just didn’t do much offensively aside from a couple of beautiful judo throws. I think he was trying to be conservative with is output due to cardio issues in the past. I know it’s his fourth loss in a row, but if you kept Dan Hardy after four straight losses you damn sure have to keep Akiyama. I’d give him someone like Mike Pierce.
  • I wouldn’t put much stock in Tim Boetsch’s win. He was getting dominated by Yushin Okami and just happened to land the haymaker he needed to stun Okami and put him away. However, credit to him for going for it as he needed to do that to get the win. Chris Weidman needs the experience and Tim Boetsch would be a good opponent for him to get it.
  • Yushin Okami was looking great before getting rocked by Boetsch in the final round. I know Brian Stann is calling out Michael Bisping, but I’d like to see Okami fight him instead.
  • Hatsu Hioki proved many people wrong on Saturday night as I said he would. I really think the jetlag coming from Japan affected him in his UFC debut. He has earned the right to face Jose Aldo in my opinion. I don’t think he has a big shot at beat Aldo…but who does?
  • Anthony Pettis put the stamp on Joe Lauzon in a very impressive victory. I’d like to see him beat a top ten guy before getting a title shot. The only available guy that fits the bill is Gray Maynard, or they could do a rematch with Clay Guida since he laid and prayed on Pettis in their first encounter.
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