For the last few weeks I have wanted to start a little series on this blog called "Who's Next". It's a simple concept in which I give my opinions on who I think a UFC main card winner on a certain UFC show should fight next. I wanted to start this series after UFC Fight Night 109: Gustafsson vs. Teixeria, but I figured I hold off and start this series after a Pay-Per-View like UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway.
So with UFC 212 in the books, let me pretend to be UFC Matchmaker Mick Maynard and give you guys my thoughts on who I think the UFC 212 main card winners should fight next.
Yancy Medeiros: Should next fight Sergio Moraes: Yancy Medeiros surprised a lot of people last Saturday when he scored a 2nd round TKO victory over Erick Silva. What made the victory even more impressive was that he scored the victory over a Brazilian like Silva in Silva's home country of Brazil. And with the victory, Yancy now moves to 2-0 since switching to the Welter-Weight (170 lbs) division last year. While it may seem like Yancy should next fight somebody in the top 15 UFC Welter-Weight rankings, I personally think he should wait just more fight. Since this was only his 2nd fight in the Welter-Weight division the UFC shouldn't rush him into fighting somebody who is ranked. They should have him fight somebody who is not ranked. And I think the right opponent for Yancy would be Sergio Moraes. Just like Yancy, Sergio is someone who is not in the top 15 Welter-Weight rankings. But Sergio is on a 2 fight winning streak and is 6-1-1 since joining the UFC in 2012. I think it could be a good fight for both guys and who ever wins could will continue their winning streak, unless the fight goes to a draw. But a win over Sergio for Yancy should put him in the top 15 Welter-Weight rankings, especially if Yancy can beat Sergio in his home country of Brazil and silence the Brazilian crowd like he did last Saturday against Erick Silva.
Paulo Borrachinha: Should next fight Brad Scott: Paulo is another fighter who surprised some people last Saturday as he too was able to score a 2nd round TKO victory over Oluwale Bamgbose. With the victory, Paulo moved his overall MMA record to a still undefeated 10-0. And a undefeated 2-0 record since joining the UFC earlier this year. Paulo is on a nice winning streak right now, but now I think it's time to give Paulo a little bit more of a challenge. And that means having him next fight a more experienced fighter in Brad Scott. Brad is coming off a Split Decision win last March over Scott Askham and has an MMA record of 11-4. Brad is a type of fighter that can not only finish fighters by knockout, but he can also submit fighters as well as he has 5 career knockout wins and 5 career submission wins. So it would interesting to see if Paulo can avoid getting taken down and submitted by Brad. Now one problem that might come up when trying to put this fight together is the fact that Brad is not that active of a fighter. He joined the UFC in December of 2012 and only has 6 career UFC fights. Which means he is usually only fighting once a year. And since Brad has already fought this year, it might be hard getting him back into the octagon before year of 2017 ends. But if someway somehow Brad decides to fight one more time this year, I think it should be against Paulo. It could be a really good fight and could even potentially be a little bit of a challenge for the undefeated Paulo Borrachinha.
Vitor Belfort: Should next fight Anderson Silva: Vitor last Saturday was able to get his first victory in almost 2 years as he defeated UFC veteran Nate Marquardt by a 3 round Unanimous Decision. Now despite there being countless UFC Youtube videos saying that Belfort vs. Marquardt would be the last ever UFC fight in Vitor's career, Vitor apparently still has 5 fights on his current UFC deal and has no plans to retire anytime soon. Now I personally think Vitor should retire given the fact that he is 40 years old and is 2-3-1 in his last 6 fights. But if Vitor wants to continue fighting and has 5 fights left on his current UFC contract then he should fight Anderson Silva. If you recall, these two once fought for the Middle-Weight championship back at UFC 126 in February of 2011. And it wasn't a good night for Belfort as he suffered a first round front kick to the fact knockout loss to Silva. I'm sure that loss to Silva still in someway haunts Belfort to this day over 6 years later. And I think Belfort would like nothing more than to avenge that loss and defeat arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time in Anderson Silva. it's a rematch that some UFC fans have been wanting to see for years now, despite the fact that both fighters are in their 40's and out of their prime. One issue that might come up is the fact that Silva is not happy with the UFC and it's owners and has even threatened retirement for not getting a fight that he wanted at UFC 212, which was an Interim Middle-Weight Title fight against Yoel Romero. So there might be a chance that Silva never fights in the UFC ever again and just retires. But if Silva can resolve his issues with the UFC owners, then this is the fight that they should make.
Claudia Gadelha: Should next fight Jessica Andrade: Claudia finally got her first finish of her UFC career as she made Karolina Kowalkiewicz tap out to a rear naked choke in the very first round. It certainly surprised me because if you remember I had picked Karolina to win. It also surprised me because I thought that is Clauida can somehow win, it will be by a decision. Because all of Claudia's previous wins in her UFC career (3) where by a decision. But that obviously didn't happen as Claudia got a first round submission victory. As for who I think Claudia should next fight, I think she should fight Jessica Andrade. I know a lot of fans think she should next fight the Women's Straw-Weight (115 lbs) Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But Claudia has already fought Joanna twice, and lost to Joanna both times. So because of that, and given that Claudia has only fought twice since her loss to Joanna last July, it might be a little too soon to fight for the Title. I think Claudia should have at least one or two more fights before fighting for the Title. I think Jessica Andrade could be a good fight for Claudia and it could be a good fight to see. If Claudia faced off against Jessica and got another decisive victory like she got over Karolina, then you can give Claudia one more Title shot.
Max Holloway: Should next fight Frankie Edgar: Max Holloway went into Brazil and beat arguably the greatest Feather-Weight (145 lbs) of all time in Jose Aldo, and became the new Undisputed UFC Feather-Weight Champion. Max stunned and silenced the Brazilian crowd by beating their home country hero in Jose Aldo, he also stunned me as I picked Aldo to win this fight. So now that Holloway is the new Champion, who should be his first title defense? And I think it should be against the former UFC Light-Weight (155 lbs) Champion Frankie Edgar. I know there are some fans out there that say the next Feather-Weight Title shot should go to Cub Swanson, who is on an impressive 4 fight winning streak. But I personally think it should go to Edgar. Especially given the fact that Edgar defeated Cub Swanson back in November of 2014, and the fact that Max Holloway himself defeated Cub Swanson back in April of 2015. I know Swanson is 4-0 since his two back to back losses to Edgar and Holloway, but because of the previous facts just mentioned, I don't think he should be next in line for a Title shot. It should be Edgar, especially given Edgar's dominant TKO victory over Yair Rodriguez last month at UFC 211. Edgar and Holloway have never before faced off against each other in the octagon and I think it could be a great fight. it will also be interesting to see if Holloway, who has 8 of his 18 total MMA wins come by knockout, can finish Edgar. Because Edgar is a guy that just can't be knocked out or submitted. All 5 of Edgar's career losses have come by either Unanimous or Split Decision (2 to Jose Aldo, 2 to Benson Henderson, and 1 to Gray Maynard). It will be also interesting to see how Edgar can handle the long reach that Holloway has. But hopefully that's the fight that Mick Maynard and the UFC make, and maybe if Holloway get's his wish to come true, the fight can take place in Hawaii.
So there you have it everybody. Those are the 5 fights that I think should be maid for the UFC 212 main card winners. I hope this series can be a weekly thing as it feels like the UFC has an event every weekend. Will be back next week with who I think the main card winners from UFC Fight Night 110: Lewis vs. Hunt, should face next.
By: Andrew Harrington