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Pelkey's Take
PELKEY: Forecasting the Next Fight for UFC 117's Major Players
Aug 12, 2010 - 9:23:04 AM
PELKEY: Forecasting the Next Fight for UFC 117's Major Players
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By Matt Pelkey, MMATorch Columnist

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Despite the mind blowing and epic nature of not only UFC 117's main event, but the card as a whole, the show must go on, and all of these fighters are going to have to start thinking about their next opponent. I've decided to give Joe Silva some time off and set up the next fight for all the key fighters from Saturday's show. No, I won't waste my time telling you who Christian Morecraft will be fighting next time (I'd need a Rolodex with every fighter NOT under UFC contract for that), but I'll touch on all the needle movers. Let's take a look into the crystal ball, shall we?

Anderson Silva vs. ...someone in the light-heavyweight division: I know the debate seems to swirl around whether Silva's next bout will be an immediate rematch with Chael Sonnen or the long-awaited title fight with Vitor Belfort, but if I'm The Spider, I've just fought my last fight at 185 lb. He's talked plenty in the past about how his time has already passed and he just wants to fight in the biggest fights possible. After seeing Silva thoroughly out-classed on the mat for four and a half rounds, I think its time for him to leave the middleweight strap behind and go fight the super-fights at 205 and beyond. He should stay far, far away from the smaller, quicker grapplers at 185 lb. and lower (GSP now officially looks like an impossible match-up for Silva). Silva just recently signed a new contract, re-upping him for another four to six fights (depending on who you ask). Fights against Rashad Evans, Rampage, Shogun, Randy Couture, Jon Jones, Frank Mir, and/or Brock Lesnar could keep him plenty busy for the remainder of his career.

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva: I'd love to have this as Sonnen vs. Belfort (and in a perfect world, for the vacant middleweight title) but the UFC seems so concerned about Belfort flaking in his next fight that they refuse to put him in anything but a title fight for fear of him never climbing the ladder again should he lose. The UFC also doesn't really believe in fights that guarantee one bankable title contender gets cannibalized by another. So, enter The Axe Murderer. With trending numbers indicating the Silva vs. Sonnen show did around a million pay-per-view buys, that makes Chael Sonnen a certifiable draw. Imagine what he could do promoting a fight with a guy not afraid to talk back.

Jon Fitch vs. Matt Hughes: I know, I know. Dana White already promised the Fitch-Alves winner a title shot, but he seemed to change his tune following Saturday night. Jake Shields is a fresh contender, and, assuming he gets past Martin Kampmann, I fully expect him to get the first crack at the GSP-Kos winner. That'll leave Jon Fitch needing to win one more fight to really, truly (seriously) earn his rematch with St. Pierre. Why not Hughes? It would be a match-up of perhaps the second and third best welterweights of all time, and its honestly a shame this fight has never happened before. Hughes, for his part, would have four wins in a row over names like Serra, Almeida, and Fitch, and it would be hard to argue with him getting one more crack at the crown before he hangs up the gloves. Hey, if Randy Couture gets a title shot by defeating James Toney, certainly a win over Jon Fitch would be enough for Matt Hughes.

Thiago Alves vs. Anthony Johnson: I know I'm not the first one to bring up this fight as a possibility, but I might be the first to do so who wasn't making a weight joke in the process. Both guys have had historic problems making weight, but it's a suitable match-up in the division given where both guys are in their careers currently. Its easy to just say Alves should move up to middleweight, but he'd be a small fighter there. Really he just needs to get his diet and muscle mass in order and try to get his "walking around" weight in the 183-187lb. range and not 190+. Hopefully hiring Mike Dolce to help with the weight cuts will make the difference. As for the fight itself, you're telling me you wouldn't drop a few bucks to watch these two throw down?

Junior Dos Santos vs. Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez winner: No fantasy booking here. This one is gonna happen likely sometime in the spring of 2011, and it'll be the third straight UFC heavyweight title super-fight. A few years ago, who thought we'd EVER be saying that?

Roy Nelson vs. Shane Carwin: The timing is right. It holds true to the UFC's "winners vs. winners and losers vs. losers" philosophy. And after watching Nelson's performance against Junior Dos Santos, he would make the perfect punching bag for Carwin in his return fight. Plus, there's the intrigue of seeing whether Carwin's body fails him again. If Nelson could drag this into the third round, I guarantee we'll hear him counting his unanswered punches from the crucifix position.

Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi: It technically goes down as a submission victory, but I can't shake the feeling that Guida gets just as out-classed in the second and third rounds as he did in the first if Rafael Dos Anjos' jaw stays in one piece. As it is, Guida has some momentum, so why not feed him to Gomi. Its unlikely Gomi drops Guida with one punch as he did to Tyson Griffin, but it would give fans a chance to see Gomi put on a show.

Stephan Struve vs. Todd Duffee: Give me one good reason why not.

Phil Davis vs. Jason Brilz: Davis is now a dominating 3-0 in his brief UFC career, and it's time for a step up. He's every bit as bright of a prospect as Jon Jones or Cain Velasquez, but his hands aren't nearly advanced as his grappling, so we'll keep him on the slow track for now. Brilz still has some positive momentum coming off of his controversial decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114 and would represent a proper test for Davis both on the feet and on the mat. He's also a good choice in that even if he proves to be to big of a step up for Davis, he's unlikely to inflict enough physical punishment to risk causing mental damage for Mr. Wonderful. I'm still hoping Jon Jones gets matched up with Thiago Silva next, but if they decide to go with Forrest Griffin for Bones, I wouldn't be opposed to a Davis-Silva bout either.






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