Gabe Killian’s Post-UFC 172 Matchmaking Predictions: The Winners

WSOFUFC 172 came and went, delivering one of the most entertaining cards of the first quarter of 2014. Now that the event has concluded, we are left with some match-up possibilities to consider. Here are my matchmaking predictions for some of the winners of the evening… ”The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi vs John “The Bull” Makdessi – This would be a rare winner vs loser match-up in the lightweight division, though many feel Makdessi was robbed in his last outing against Alan Patrick, losing a decision on the judges’ scorecards. Now nearly three months away from action, “The Bull” is ready to take on another opponent, and that’s where “The Fireball Kid” enters the picture. After a year-long layoff, the PRIDE veteran returned to the cage and bounced back into the win column with a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus earning performance in a unanimous decision victory over Team Jackson-Winklejohn’s Isaac Vallie-Flagg. I like the idea of Gomi vs Makdessi because I foresee it being a very exciting striking battle between two heavy hitters in the UFC’s 155 pound division. Makdessi will be more technical, but they will both be looking for the finish. I think this is a match-up that has ‘Fight of the Night’ potential written all over it. I would favor Makdessi going into this fight for his superior technical striking, speed, and cardio. Though, I would not dare count “The Fireball Kid” out. This is a fight I would enjoy seeing, and one I could see being put together for the UFC’s next trip to Japan in September. Joseph Benavidez vs Dustin Ortiz – This is a pairing of two flyweights who were both victorious in their very recent appearances inside the Octagon. Benavidez just scored a first round guillotine submission victory over Tim Elliott at UFC 172, putting himself back on the win column following a knockout loss in a bid for the 125 pound title against champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Ortiz found success in his own right, edging a split decision victory over promotional newcomer Ray Borg last week in Orlando for UFC on FOX 11. I think this is a proper next move for both flyweights in a razor thin division. Benavidez is a step up in competition for Ortiz, who is arguably on a three fight winning streak inside the Octagon, as many fans feel he was robbed in his split decision loss to John Moraga. This is a flyweight contest I could see being put together, and one I would truly enjoy watching. I think it would be a perfect fit for the UFC on FOX 12 fight card this July, as it will be in Benavidez’s backyard of San Jose. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo – A match-up between two light heavyweights who both recently looked incredible inside the Octagon. “Rumble” is coming off his unanimous decision upset victory over “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis at UFC 172, where he made his return to the promotion after being released for missing weight a couple of years ago. He looked better than he has in his entire career, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine him fighting at 170 pounds, considering how huge he looked for a light heavyweight. Davis is a big 205 pounder, and Johnson looked massive next to him. The time he has been putting in with striking coach Henri Hooft and wrestling coach Kenny Monday over at the Blackzilian’s camp in Boca Raton, FL has proved to be huge in his development as a mixed martial artist and an athlete. He looked incredible in his return to the Octagon, and with his impressive performance, became an immediate contender in the UFC’s 205 pound division. The division is very thin, but I think a pairing with Jimmo makes sense as a next move for Johnson. “Big Deal” is coming off an impressive first round knockout win over promotional newcomer Sean O’Connell over a week ago at the TUF Nations finale in Quebec. This would be a big step up in competition for Jimmo, and it would mean facing a former training partner, but I think it is a match-up he would be happy to accept. After outstriking a wrestler for three rounds of action, a fight against a talented striker and Karate specialist like Jimmo makes sense to me. It is a fight that will more than likely result in a knockout, if not be an action packed 15 minutes. I could see this fight on the main card of one of the UFC’s upcoming trips to Canada; either Toronto in late September, or Nova Scotia in early October. Bethe “Pitbull” Correia vs Sara McMann – This would be another rare winner vs loser match-up that would take place in the women’s bantamweight division. Correia was impressive in her second Octagon appearance at UFC 172, taking her professional mixed martial arts record to an undefeated 8-0. With consecutive impressive performances against Julie Kedzie and Jessamyn Duke under her belt, the Brazilian has earned a step up in competition, and that’s where McMann enters the picture. McMann is coming off her failed bid for Ronda Rousey’s title, and is eager to get back in the column with her sights set on another shot at the champ. A match-up against an undefeated fighter on an impressive streak makes sense for the former Olympian, and with a win over her, she would be on the right track for another crack at the gold. Same goes for Correia; if she is able to get a win over McMann, she should be next in line alongside Cat Zingano for a title shot. I think this would be a very fun fight in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division, and it is one I would not want to miss. Jim Miller vs “Stormin” Norman Parke – If a step up in competition is what Parke is looking for, that is what he will get with this match-up. Even though his last fight was a draw, it is viewed as a win, because he was deducted a point for grabbing his opponent Leonardo Santos’ shorts, a call by the referee most did not agree with. Point deduction or not, the Northern Irishman is now currently on a four fight undefeated streak inside the Octagon and is looking for a name that will earn him an opportunity of cracking the top 15 of the UFC’s 155 pound division. Not only will this be a step up in competition for Parke, but it will also be a step up for Miller, as I believe Parke is a superior mixed martial artist to Miller’s recent opponents Yancy Medeiros and Fabricio Camoes, respectively. Miller just scored a first round submission over Medeiros, and is now enjoying a four fight undefeated streak of his own right inside the Octagon. Some may not agree, but this fight makes sense to me, and I think it would work as a main card match-up for this July’s UFC Fight Night in Ireland.

Written by Gabe Killian

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