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

aliaquintaUFC 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 some possible match-ups for some of the losers of the evening… Al “Raging Bull” Iaquinta v. John “The Bull” Makdessi Raging Bull vs. The Bull, I like the sound of that – on top of having an awesome title for a fight, I think this would make for an excellent match-up in the UFC’s lightweight division. Iaquinta is the more well-rounded mixed martial artist and is certainly the superior grappler, but he will likely be at a striking disadvantage, and it’s questionable if he would find success with his takedown attempts. I see this fight playing out on the feet with both fighters having their moments. A knockout could come at either end or it could be a 15 minute barn burner, but whichever the case, I think this would be a very entertaining match-up, and a definite contender for ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. I would expect Iaquinta to be a 2-to-1 favorite for being the more well-rounded fighter with superior grappling, but the Lebanese-Canadian would very much be a live dog. Iaquinta last saw action at Saturday’s UFC 173 in a fight against Mitch Clarke, who he was dominating until getting caught in a d’arce choke in the second frame and going unconscious. Makdessi’s last Octagon appearance was at UFC 169 nearly four months ago, where he dropped a controversial unanimous decision to Alan Patrick. I think this match-up makes sense as a next-move for both 155-pounders, and would like to see it on a future fight card. While neither are Asian, I think this bout would make for a great addition to August’s UFC Fight Night in Macau. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger v. Court “The Crusher” McGee At first glance you may say, huh? – But after you take a moment to think about it, you’ll realize that these welterweights, if paired up inside the Octagon, would produce an incredible match-up. They’re both good wrestlers, not great, and they both possess solid boxing skills. I think the wrestling would cancel each other out and this fight would play out on the feet, where I think it would be competitive. Ellenberger has more power, but McGee has the better chin. I think this fight has real ‘Fight of the Night’ potential and would love to see it on a future fight card. I think it would be a fantastic addition to the main card for UFC 176 in Los Angeles, where Ellenberger currently resides. “The Juggernaut” suffered a third round TKO defeat at the hands of Robbie Lawler at this past weekend’s UFC 173. “The Crusher” has not seen action since UFC on FOX 9 nearly six months ago, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan LaFlare. I think Ellenberger would be a -250 or so betting favorite in this bout, but I would consider McGee a live dog. . Francisco Rivera v. Chico Camus I think this would make for an intriguing match-up in the UFC’s 135-pound division. Both bantamweights are coming off unanimous decision losses from this past weekends’ UFC 173, with Rivera falling short to Takeya Mizugaki on the main card, and Camus losing to Chris Holdsworth on the evenings televised prelims. Rivera and Camus are both skilled strikers, so I think this fight would be competitive on the feet. The question would be if Rivera could keep the fight there by avoiding Camus’ takedown attempts. The Milwaukee native is the superior wrestler, so I don’t doubt he will try to take the fight to the mat, especially considering the holes Rivera displayed in his defensive wrestling in the Mizugaki bout. Will he sharpen up his defense to stop Camus’ attempts, keep the fight on the feet, and look for the knockout? Rivera is the higher ranked fighter, but the only real advantage I would give him in this fight is his knockout power. If he fails to put Camus away and the fight hits the judges’ scorecards, I could see a decision that goes either way. If Camus is able to find success with a takedown or two, it tilts things in his favor even more. I think because he is higher ranked and has a better chance of finishing, Rivera would be a -140 betting favorite. Had his defensive grappling not looked so poor against Mizugaki, I would have guessed -240. This would be a big fight for both bantamweights, as a loss would mean 0-2 and one foot out the door. I think this fight would be a good fit for the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card for August’s UFC 176 in Los Angeles. Anthony Njokuani v. Katsunori Kikuno I called for this lightweight match-up in a previous matchmaking predictions article when they were both coming off wins. Njokuani was coming off a knockout win over Roger Bowling, and Kikuno was coming off a unanimous decision win over Quinn Mullhern. I think this fight made sense then, and it makes sense now. I would give the edge to Njokuani, mostly because he will land a higher volume of strikes, and will be more active throughout the fight. That said, he would be the one more at risk of being knocked out. I think Kikuno would be a slight betting favorite of because of his grappling advantage. I think this fight would work as part of the undercard for the UFC’s upcoming trip to Japan in September. Renan Barao v. Eddie Wineland II I don’t want to see a Barao/Dillashaw rematch just yet, I would prefer to see a Barao/Wineland rematch because the Wineland fight was a lot closer than the Dillashaw fight. Dillashaw completely dominated Barao. Wineland won a round against him, but then got stopped with a controversial stoppage in the second round. Wineland is likely feeling very down after being knocked out by Johnny Eduardo, so I think news of this match-up would completely change his mood. If he could avenge his loss and get a win over Barao, he would be right back in the mix of things. The downside is, though, should he lose, he will be on a two fight skid with one foot into irrelevancy. While Barao won the first fight, he was losing until the point of the finish, so he may not be too excited about fighting Wineland again. Regardless, I would love to see this rematch, and feel it would be a good fit for the UFC’s trip to Rio de Janeiro in October. I think Barao would still be the favorite in this bout, but I’m thinking 2-to-1 at most.

Written by Gabe Killian

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