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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Joel writes: I know that they both have upcoming fights but if both Frankie Edgar and Gilbert Melendez defend their respective belts would you want see them fight next? Or would you want to see Melendez fight another top UFC lightweight first, to prove himself. Also if they did fight who do you think would win?
A: At this point, I want to see everyone in the lightweight division compete against one another.
As far as a prediction for a potential Frank Edgar-Gilbert Melendez matchup goes, that's a tough fight to call. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if a big puncher like Melendez wound up blowing Edgar's brains out with uppercuts the way Gray Maynard did, but Melendez likes to brawl more than he does box. We've seen guys try to head hunt against Frank Edgar and come up empty handed time after time. I would favor Edgar to box him up, try to mix in takedowns and stay on his bike en route to a decision victory.
Also, if you're interested in lineal titles, a fight between the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and the UFC Lightweight Champion is going to mean a lot more after UFC 144.
Following his win over Clay Guida (who defeated the final WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis) Benson Henderson is now the lineal WEC Lightweight Champion; his fight with Frank Edgar in Japan will unify that championship with the UFC Lightweight Championship. After that fight, should the champions of Strikeforce and the UFC ever meet, it would decide an Undisputed Champion and really tie things up nicely.
Whoever comes out on top once this whole thing is settled will have carved out a nice legacy for himself in MMA's deepest weight class.
Lee writes: I was wondering if you could tell me when Thiago Silva was due to return or if he was returning at all? Also if there is any news as to if Brandon Vera will be welcoming him back?
A: When fighters get suspensions handed down by athletic commissions, the UFC doesn't book fights for them until the day that the suspension is lifted. In the case of Thiago Silva, that is January 1, 2012. The UFC is currently announcing it's full lineup from January through March, so we probably won't be seeing Mr. Silva throat slashing in the Octagon until sometime after that.
As for whether or not he'll be facing Brandon Vera in his return bout, I doubt it. Vera's performance against Eliot Marshall at UFC 137 suggests that his manhandling at the hands Thiago Silva might have had more to do with where Vera is in his career and less to do with what banned substances Silva had coursing through his veins at the time.
The athletic commissions may have retroactively changed the result to a no-contest and the UFC may have brought Vera back, but we can't un-see what we saw in that fight. Given Vera's struggles with Marshall, I don't think it would be appropriate for his next opponent to be a fighter who's already smeared his nose across his face, played the bongos on his back, and emasculated him in front of a pay-per-view audience.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi. Let's get after it.
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