Post-UFC Fight Night 57: Matchmaking Predictions

Matt WimanUFC Fight Night 57 came and went, producing a night of entertaining fights from start to record-breaking finish. With the Austin show in our rear view, let’s take a look at a few potential match-ups for some of the competitors of the evening… Matt Wiman vs Diego Sanchez I think this would make for a phenomenal match-up in the UFC’s lightweight division, and one that will likely steal the show, regardless of the fight-card it is on. Sanchez is coming off a controversial split decision win over Ross Pearson and was supposed to take on Joe Lauzon at UFC 180 in Mexico City a week ago but had to pull out of the bout due to injury. Wiman returned from a near-two year layoff to defeat a very game Isaac Vallie-Flagg via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards at last night’s UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin, likely serving the Jackson-Winklejohn MMA product his walking papers. It was a brutal three rounds of action between Wiman and Vallie-Flagg, and the fight saw both lightweights have their moments, but it was ultimately Wiman who got the best of the clinch-game and the action on the mat. It was a very entertaining fight and the perfect way for “Handsome” to make his return to the Octagon and back in the win column. He will need some time off after that hard-fought win, which is perfect, because Sanchez needs time to recover from his injury. I think a pairing of these two in the Spring time will make plenty of sense, and it would be one fight I would certainly be excited to hear announced and of course, see. Cub Swanson vs Chad Mendes Frankie Edgar’s wrestling and offense proved to be too much for Swanson in the main event of last night’s UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin, as he was beat up and then submitted at the very tail end of the fight in record breaking fashion. Mendes recently came up short in his second bid at Jose Aldo’s featherweight crowd, and much like Swanson, is eagerly looking to return to the win column and put another streak together. Earlier this year, before Conor McGregor burst into the title picture, these were the two top contenders for the gold, and it was a coin-flip as to which one of them deserved a rematch with Aldo. The UFC ultimately went with Mendes, leaving Swanson behind and pairing him with another top contender in Edgar. Swanson vs Mendes is a fight that probably should have happened already, and it is one that definitely makes a world of sense right now. The winner of this potential 145 pound contest would get right back on track, while the loser would take a trip down in the division’s rankings. Swanson did not find success in stopping Edgar’s offensive wrestling, so Mendes would offer the same threat, and for that reason I figure the Team Alpha Male product would be a very big favorite heading into this potential contest, as he generally is in non-title bouts. This is another fight I think would be great for a card in the Spring of 2015, and it is one I think that has a fair chance of being put together. Ruslan Magomedov vs Ben Rothwell This is a heavyweight match-up that was originally slated for UFC 177, but it was canceled, as Rothwell was shifted over to UFC Fight Night 50 to take on Alistair Overeem, whom he defeated via first round knockout in an upset. Now with Magomedov coming off a unanimous decision victory over (no longer) undefeated heavyweight prospect Josh Copeland, I think this is the perfect time to pit these two against one another. I believe Magomedov vs Rothwell would make for a very entertaining scrap in the UFC’s heavyweight division, and I think it would be a great fit for the main card of February 28’s UFC 184, or perhaps the headliner for the evening’s televised FOX Sports 1 preliminary card. UFC 184 will be live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be co-headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between challenger Cat Zingano and defending champion Ronda Rousey, and headlined by a middleweight title fight between challenger Vitor Belfort and defending champion Chris Weidman. Dustin Ortiz vs Chris Cariaso Ortiz was hoping to get a title shot with a win over Joseph Benavidez at last night’s UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin, but came up short, going on to the lose contest via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. He won’t be getting his shot at Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and his 125 pound gold, but what he can get is the champ’s latest victim: Chris Cariaso. The Californian suffered a second round submission against Johnson at UFC 178 just under two months ago and will be looking to get back into the win column, so a match-up against the fighter who lost to the division’s second best makes a lot of sense. Not only does this potential flyweight bout make good sense, but I think it is one that will prove to be entertaining. This is another scrap that would make a solid fit for February 28’s UFC 184 in Los Angeles; I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UFC add it as one of the featured bouts on the evening’s televised preliminary fight card on FOX Sports 1. Chico Camus vs Louis Smolka I think this would make for quite an entertaining scrap in the UFC’s 125 pound division, as these are two fast flyweights who are very dedicated to the sport at this point in their careers. Camus has had a re-birth as a mixed martial artist with his return to Roufusport MMA and his drop down to the flyweight division. He had a successful run at 135 pounds, but he feels and believes flyweight is his home, and he showed that with his split decision victory over veteran Brad Pickett at last night’s UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin. Smolka last saw action at UFC Fight Night 55 in Australia earlier this month, where he scored a third round knockout over Australian native Richie Vaculik. I think a pairing of these two 125 pounders makes sense as the next-move for both of them, and stylistically, I think it could prove to be a real gift for the fans. Let my imaginary UFC 184 fight-card pile on, as I think this flyweight scrap would make for another great addition to the Los Angeles evening’s FOX Sports 1 televised preliminary fight card.

Written by Gabe Killian

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