Gabe Killian’s Post-UFC on FOX 9 Matchmaking Predictions: The Losers Dec 18, 2013
UFC on FOX 9 came and went, leaving us with many exciting matchmaking options for the future. Here are my matchmaking predictions for the losers of the evening. I may normally include one or two losers in my weekly article, because usually there is the risk of them being released from the promotion after their loss, so it wouldn’t make sense to include them in the article. If I include a loser in an article, such as all the ones in this one, then I am confident they will continue to be employed by the UFC. I did not include Pat Healy in this article, because he is now 0-2-1 inside the Octagon, and I am not certain if he will receive a pink slip or not.
Michael “Mayday” McDonald vs Yuri Alcantara – This would be an exciting match-up between two top bantamweights who each dropped their last fights to the same fighter, Urijah Faber. “Mayday” never stood a chance against Faber, as “The California Kid” was all over him from the opening bell. He tagged McDonald in the second round, and had him hurt. Instead of going for the TKO, which was there, he locked up his signature guillotine choke, and got the tap. Alcantara, while ranked much lower than McDonald, had a lot more success against Faber. In fact, he nearly had him finished in the first round of action. Faber survived a heavy onslaught, and came back to win the next two rounds, ultimately winning a decision. I think fans would like to see McDonald and Alcantara go to war, and it surely is a match-up that makes a ton of sense.
Nik “The Carney” Lentz vs Felipe Arantes – He probably deserves a bigger name opponent, but I say give him another Brazilian to start off with. Arantes will be no easy task for him, as he is very talented on the feet, with solid takedown defense, and a good submission game. This isn’t a fight that fans would get excited over, but it is one that could surprise a lot of people, and be a dark horse for Fight of the Night. Lentz just suffered a closely contested unanimous decision loss to Chad Mendes, while Arantes has been on the shelf since dropping a split decision to Kevin Souza. Lentz is already prone to fighting in Brazil, and would have no problem going down there to pick up another win, but I would like to see Arantes finally fight States-side for once in his Octagon career. If not against Lentz, then whoever he faces in his next outing; I think the kid should finally get a fight out of Brazil. Assuming he doesn’t have any travel issues, that is.
Danny “Last Call” Castillo vs Jamie Varner – This would be a lightweight fight between the guy who almost finished Barboza in the first round, and the guy who did in fact finish Barboza in the first round. They are both wrestlers who like to box, though Varner is the superior boxer, and also has the better chin. Also, considering the fact that he was able to finish Barboza while Castillo wasn’t makes me figure he would be the betting favorite over Castillo, should the contest ever take place. I think this is a fun fight that makes plenty of sense, and I’m sure it is one lightweight match-up fans would tune in to see.
Cody McKenzie vs Rafaello Oliveira – In a likely “loser goes home” match-up on the Facebook prelims, this fight makes a lot of sense, although McKenzie has to avoid a pink slip first. McKenzie just suffered a unanimous decision loss to Sam Stout, spending three rounds getting outworked on the feet. Perhaps deciding to move back up to lightweight was not a great idea, considering he looked quite dominant his last time out at featherweight. Oliveira faced Edson Barboza in his last outing, and lost via TKO due to leg kicks. I really don’t know how this fight would play out. They may try to choke each other out, as far as game-plans go, or they each may think they have a striking advantage over the other, so they keep it on the feet. Another pairing no one will be crazy about, but another one that makes an awful lot of sense.
Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen vs Ryan “Babyface” Benoit – This is a pairing of flyweights who are coming off a loss, and would be a fight I would personally enjoy watching. Jorgensen just lost a unanimous decision against Zach Makovsky in his debut at 125, and Benoit was recently submitted by Josh Sampo in a Fight of the Night award winning performance. For Benoit, Jorgensen presents similar problems as Sampo did, and stylistically, Benoit is an easier match-up than Makovsky was. He would have a wrestling advantage, while Benoit would hold the advantage in the striking department. In an incredibly thin division, this is a match up that makes sense, and I won’t at all be surprised to see get made.
Court McGee vs Mike Pierce – This is a step up for McGee, even though is he coming off of a loss. He just dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan LaFlare this past weekend, but looked good in the fight, and won the third round. Pierce was submitted in his last outing by Rousimar Palhares, who held the submission a little too long, and was ultimately released from the promotion because of it. I think it would be interesting to see how Pierce fares against a well-rounded fighter like McGee, and how “The Crusher” would do against an excellent grappler/grinder like Pierce. This is one Mike Pierce fight I would actually really love to see, and I think many fans would agree.
Joseph Benavidez vs Tim Elliott – I originally wanted to do Benavidez vs John Lineker, but Lineker was just booked in a bout against Ali Bagautinov at next months UFC 169, which I find a little strange, because that doesn’t give the fighters enough time to have a full training camp. I assume that is something Lineker would need, as he has trouble making weight. It would not be strange for Benavidez to fight someone coming off a win for his next fight, simply because of his ranking and status in the division. A win over Benavidez is a big deal for any flyweight, even one who is currently riding a win streak. That said, this is not the case with Tim Elliott, as he recently dropped a unanimous decision to Lineker’s current opponent Ali Bagautinov. I think Benavidez vs Elliott would make for an excellent match-up between two very well-rounded fighters. It would be a big opportunity for Elliott, and a solid opponent for Benavidez to get a win over on his run towards another title shot.