Gabe Killian’s Post-UFC 173 Matchmaking Predictions: The Winners

The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale: Chiesa v IaquintaUFC 173 produced a night of exciting and shocking fights, and we witnessed the crowning of a new bantamweight champion in one of the biggest upsets in the promotions history. Now with the fights behind us, let’s look ahead at a few possible match-ups for some of our winners of the evening… Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke v. Michael “Maverick” Chiesa   Clarke made waves in his return to the Octagon after a lengthy layoff, upsetting a very game Al Iaquinta via D’arce choke in the second round of action at Saturday night’s UFC 173. It was an incredible come-from-behind victory for the Canadian, and I think a match-up against Michael Chiesa makes sense as a next-move for him. Chiesa himself was successful at UFC 173, dominating Francisco Trinaldo for three rounds to pick up a unanimous decision victory. Clarke and Chiesa are the only two fighters to defeat Iaquinta inside the Octagon, and they are both currently on two-fight winning streaks. I would expect Chiesa to be around a -300 betting favorite in this match-up, but as Clarke has proved in his last two outings, you cannot count him out. I think this fight would be a good fit for UFC Fight Night in Nova Scotia, and would be the first time Chiesa has the crowd rooting against him, as he would be fighting in enemy territory. Clarke has already defeated a TUF 16 finalist in Iaquinta, but how will do against the fighter who won that season? Sam Sicilia v. Alex White   Sicilia bounced back into the win column at last night’s UFC 173 with a unanimous decision victory over promotional newcomer Aaron Phillips, and I think a pairing with White makes sense as the next-move for the TUF 16 veteran. White was successful in his UFC debut at last month’s UFC on FOX 11 where he defeated Estevan Payan via knockout in the first round of action. It was an impressive debut for White, who took home ‘Performance of the Night’ honors for his knockout, and I would be interested to see him take on Sicilia for his second outing. Both of these featherweights possess power in their hands, and I would be interested in seeing them take each other on inside the Octagon. I think the betting odds for this bout would be pretty close, with Sicilia being a slight favorite, largely due to having more Octagon appearance. I see this fight as being a good fit for August’s UFC Fight Night in Oklahoma. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler v. Matt “The Immortal” Brown   I would prefer to see Nick Diaz face either Lawler or Diaz, but if he isn’t coming back, then this is the next-best match-up I want to see. I think this would be an incredible fight in the UFC’s welterweight division; one that has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it. I see the majority/entirety of this fight playing out on the feet, and if it were a five round main event, I think one of these 170-pounders will go down by the end of the fifth frame. In a three-rounder, it’s harder to say, but I would still lean towards the fight ending inside the distance. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t even last a full minute. Lawler was successful at last night’s UFC 173, bouncing back to the win column with a third round TKO win over Jake Ellenberger. Brown found similar success in his last outing, scoring a third round TKO of Erick Silva to take his win streak to seven in a row. I think Lawler would be a 2-to-1 betting favorite, with Brown yet again being the underdog. Brown calls himself a “technical brawler” and I think that is what Lawler is, too, so that’s why this makes for a fantastic match-up. This would definitely be a number-one contender match-up, and the winner would earn a shot at Johny Hendricks and his welterweight title. I think this bout would be a great fit as the main event for the UFC’s first trip to Maine this August. Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson v. Michel Prazeres   Both of these lightweights are now 2-0 inside the Octagon, and I think matching them up makes for an interesting battle. Ferguson would be another test for Prazeres, who passed his last one with flying colors, as he was a big underdog heading into his bout against Mairbek Taisumov, and ended up dominating the Dagestani lightweight for all 15 minutes of action. The Brazilian had incredible power, has great grappling, and an excellent submission game. That said, Ferguson would be yet another step-up in competition for him, and I think he will also be a step up in competition for the TUF 13 winner, who found success at last night’s UFC 173 with a first round knockout of Katsunori Kikuno. I think this fight would be even more entertaining in front of a loud Brazilian crowd, so I would love to see it on the UFC’s Fight Night in Brasilia card this September. I would expect “El Cucuy” to be a 2-to-1 favorite in this bout, but as the Brazilian has proved, you should not count him out. TJ Dillashaw v. Raphael Assuncao II   Dillashaw became the new UFC Bantamweight Champion last night at UFC 173 when he dominated and knocked out Renan Barao in a huge upset. Assuncao would have faced Barao, but since he was injured, the UFC gave the shot to Dillashaw, who came through with flying colors. Now Assuncao is ready for his shot. Dillashaw v. Assuncao is definitely a rematch I cannot wait to see. Assuncao won the first fight by controversial split decision, and Dillashaw really believes he won that fight, so he wants a second shot at the Brazilian. The Team Alpha Male product was the favorite going into their first bout, and I think he would again the favorite in the rematch, even though he lost the first fight. However, he may not be as big of a favorite. This time, I see him being around -150. I feel the rematch would be much more exciting than the first fight, and think there’s a greater chance it would result in a finish. Dillashaw would not be so hesitant this time around, and it would be a five-rounder, so with both bantamweights looking to connect, I think someone could drop. My money would be on Dillashaw getting the finish and avenging his loss. I feel this title fight would be a good fit for UFC 177 in Las Vegas, which will again be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. I’m sure Dillashaw would feel great about the first defense of his championship gold being in the same arena in which he captured it.

Written by Gabe Killian

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