Gabe Killian’s Post-UFC 168 Matchmaking Predictions: The Losers Dec 31, 2013
UFC 168 made us cheer and cringe, as it came and went. Now that the final fight card of the year has concluded, here are some potential match-ups I would be interested in seeing for the losers of the evening…
Manny “The Anvil” Gamburyan vs Clay “The Carpenter” Guida – This is without a doubt a featherweight match-up between former lightweights that I would really love to see. Gamburyan just suffered a unanimous 29-28 decision loss against Dennis Siver at UFC 168, while Guida was knocked out for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career by Chad “Money” Mendes four months ago. These are two veterans of the Octagon who have been part of many exciting fights; Guida more than Gamburyan, of course. I think this would be a match-up that no fight fan will want to miss, especially those who have followed Gamburyan and Guida’s careers.
Gleison Tibau vs Ahmed Johnson – Just kidding (old WWF reference that maybe 5% of you just got). I am having trouble deciding who I would pit against Tibau. Who I would like to put him in a fight against is Pat Healy, but Healy is on a two-fight losing streak, and could be facing the axe. They’re both huge for the lightweight division, and are both incredible grinders who many consider “gatekeepers” at 155. Healy was recently on the short end of a unanimous decision when he fought Bobby “King” Green at UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento, C.A. Should he be receiving a pink slip from the UFC, the next best possible match-ups I see for Tibau are Danny “Last Call” Castillo and “The Detroit Superstar” Daron Cruickshank. I would prefer to see Castillo fight Jamie Varner, but if Varner is still hurt, I would not at all complain if this match was made. They have in common the fact that they have both been knocked out by Michael Johnson, and both of the knockouts came in the second round, as well. Tibau’s is more fresh in our memories, as it just happened in the FOX Sports 1 prelims for UFC 168. I feel like pitting Tibau and Castillo against each other in a cage would undoubtedly produce a fight that catches the attention of the audience. Cruickshank is coming off of a second round submission armbar loss to Adriano Martins at UFC Fight Night 32 nearly two months back. Martins over-powered him in the first round, largely due to his size advantage, and submitted him in the second. If Cruickshank were to face Tibau, it would be back to back fights where he gives up a significant size advantage, but I think his chances at victory would be greater against Tibau than they were against the other Brazilian in Martins. If he were to fall short against Tibau, I imagine he would consider a move down to 145 pounds, where I think he would find more success.
”Vicious” Bobby Voelker vs Marcelo Guimaraes – This is a match-up that no fight fan will care about, but it is one that I think makes plenty of sense. Dana White said at the post-UFC 168 press conference that the promotion will indeed keep Voelker around and give him another fight. That was incredibly good news for Voelker fans, as it was his third loss in a row inside the Octagon, and many expected his release. Guimaraes has not competed in ten months, since he was knocked out by Hyun Gyu Lim in the second round of action. Not only was that knockout the first time Guimaraes had been finished, but it was in fact the first loss in his professional mixed martial arts career. This would be a striker vs grappler match-up thrown somewhere in the prelims that half the crowd will probably take a beer run during, but it would be a mistake, as I think one way or the other, it would produce a finish.
Tate vs Kaufman II – I think a rematch between Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman will be a great main event for a television or internet based fight card, or a great co-main event for any card. Kaufman is the only other fighter besides “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey who Tate has lost to within the last six years of her professional mixed martial arts career. Tate was just defeated by Rousey at UFC 168 with Rousey’s signature armbar, although it was a personal victory for Tate, as she took Rousey into the third round, becoming the first fighter to ever take her outside the first round of action. It marked the first time in her career that Rousey walked back to her corner. Kaufman is coming off of a controversial split-decision loss against Jessica “Evil” Eye at UFC 166 just over two months ago, in a fight I personally scored for Kaufman. If this fight were to be scheduled, it could be the five year anniversary rematch of when they first met in May of 2009. Kaufman was the victor in that bout, as she got the better of Tate in rounds one and three, although Tate won the second round with her takedowns. Five years later, both ladies are more accomplished mixed martial artists with more tools in their arsenals. This fight would mean back-to-back rematches for Tate. I think this would be a great match-up for the UFC to make, and I’m sure many fans will agree.
Barnett vs Big Nog III – This heavyweight bout would be a rubber match between Josh Barnett and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. They fought twice in 2006 under the Pride banner; Barnett took a split-decision over Nog the first time around, and Nog got the better of Barnett when they danced again three months later, taking home a unanimous decision victory. A rubber match four years later under the Zuffa banner seems like it could happen, especially considering the fact that it is a fight “Big Nog” wants. Barnett just suffered a first round knockout at the hands (or elbows, rather) of Travis Browne at UFC 168, and this rematch actually makes a lot of sense for his next fight following that brutal knockout, which was only the second of his professional mixed martial arts career. Third, if you count a 2004 shoulder injury in a fight against Mirko Cro Cop. “Big Nog” has not seen action in nearly seven months since verbally submitting to a Fabricio Werdum armbar in the main event at UFC on Fuel TV 10. Much like Tate vs Kaufman II, Barnett vs Big Nog III is a fight I could see headlining a television or internet based fight card, or co-headlining any card.