Post-UFC 181: Matchmaking Predictions

Clay-CollardUFC 181 has come and gone, producing a great night of fights, and with the event now in our rear view, let’s take a look at some potential match-ups for some of the competitors of the evening… Gilbert Melendez vs Jim Miller I think this would be a tremendous match-up in the UFC’s lightweight division. Both of these 155 pounders are very well rounded mixed martial artists who, win or lose, always leave it all in the cage. They have each coming off a loss, with Melendez being submitted by UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at this past Saturday night’s UFC 181 in his bid for the gold, and Jim Miller suffering a second round knockout at the feet of Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 49 nearly five months ago. For both 155 pound scrappers, I think this potential fight would be a great opportunity for them to bounce right back into the win column. Melendez and Miller both possess solid boxing skills, as well as excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think this fight would make for a great fit as the co-main event for April’s UFC on FOX 15 in Miller’s native New Jersey. Abel Trujillo vs Ross Pearson This potential match-up in the UFC’s 155 pound division has “barn-burner” written all over it. Both of these lightweights are excellent strikers who like to finish fights, and a finish would be the likely outcome if and when they do step into the Octagon to square off against each other. This would be another match-up between a pair of fighters coming off losses who are eager to get back into the win column, and I think a win over one another would be a solid way to make that happen. These lightweight scrappers were once scheduled to face each other, but Trujillo was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury. Now, with Pearson coming off his second round TKO loss at the hands of Al Iaquinta and Trujillo coming off his second round rear naked choke defeat against Tony Ferguson, I think this is the right time to put this match-up together again. Clay Collard vs Noad Lahat I believe this would prove to be a very exciting fight in the UFC’s 145 pounders, as both featherweights are quite skilled and well rounded. They each suffered a knockout defeat in their debuts with the UFC, but bounced back with unanimous decision victories in their second outings and are now eager to make it two in a row. I think pairing them up against one another is a great recipe for fireworks. Collard looked impressive with his win over Alex White at this past Saturday night’s UFC 181, and Lahat looked as impressive upsetting Steven Siler at UFC on FOX 12 four months ago. This potential match-up would be a step up for both fighters and one scrap I would certainly not miss. I think this fight would be a solid addition to the preliminary card for any future UFC fight card. Josh Samman vs Caio Magalhaes I think this would make for a fun fight in the UFC’s middleweight division, and one that will likely end inside the distance. These 185 pounders always look to finish their fights and if paired up against each other, I feel confident one of them will meet his goal. Samman and Magalhaes are two middleweights who are constantly improving every aspect of their game, and while I think Samman is currently the more technically sound fighter, I would say Magalhaes is just as dangerous, in terms of power and fight finishing ability, both on the feet and on the mat. Coming off this past Saturday night’s ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus winning, come from behind second round head-kick knockout over The Ultimate Fighter Season 19 winner Eddie Gordon, Samman is now on a three fight winning streak and wants to extend that streak to four in a quick turnaround. That is where Magalhaes makes a perfect fit into this picture. Riding a four-fight winning streak consisting of three finishes and a unanimous decision win, the Brazilian is also looking to add another win under his belt. I think if paired up against each other, these two will go to war right from the opening bell. I’m not someone who is eager to see Caio Magalhaes match-ups, but stylistically, I think a fight against Samman would be a great one, so I would make sure not to miss it. This is another scrap I think would make for a great fit as part of any UFC preliminary fight card. On a Fight Night in Brazil card, I could see it being placed on the main card.

Written by Gabe Killian

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