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By Rich Hansen, MMA Torch Columnist
UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall is in the books. While I certainly hope to not remember most of it, there were some highlights, even on the extremely lackluster undercard. Tim Means’ fight with Justin Salas could have been called after fifteen seconds. Dustin Pague rebounded from a loss to John Albert at the conclusion of his stint on The Ultimate fighter and showed tremendous skill in defeating Jared Papazian. And while Matt Grice may have put the 500 people in attendance to sleep, a decision win over Leonard Garcia is still a rare feat indeed.
But the rest of the prelim card was brutal. And not good brutal, like Wanderlei in his prime putting on a brutal beating. But rather being forced to watch Mike Pierce in a cage brutal. Can life get worse, I think not?
Fortunately, after eight fights featuring maybe six UFC-caliber fighters (which is a rapidly declining standard as the UFC has 30 to 35 fight cards to fill this year), the night was salvaged by a very entertaining main card. Every fight and every fighter showed something positive last night, and all eight main card fighters are safe in their positions with the UFC. Here’s one man’s look into the crystal ball to see what might be next.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez: This is confirmed to happen, maybe before fall gets here. The winner will be the first UFC Flyweight champion.
Ian McCall vs. John Dodson: The benefit to fighting in a division with less than ten fighters signed to it is that you don’t have to go on much of a fear to get a title shot. McCall vs. Dodson should be a #1 contender’s match to fight the winner of Johnson vs. Benavidez.
Erick Silva vs. John Hathaway: Erick Silva showed what he ca do against lesser fighters (Luis Ramos, Carlos Prater), and last night he showed what he can do against a straight wrestler (Charlie Brenneman). It is now time for Silva to step up to the plate and face off against a dynamic all-around fighter like John Hathaway. I would call to see this fight in Nottingham in September. The winner would have a solid claim to the top ten of the welterweight division.
Charlie Brenneman vs. Paulo Thiago: Can’t say I’m jazzed to see Brenneman vs. Thiago vs. a whole lot of guys, so stick them against each other and stick it on Fuel. Either Brenneman humps Thiago for fifteen minutes, or Thiago chokes him out.
Mike Pyle vs. the winner Brian Ebersole vs. TJ Waldburger: Pyle’s a top 15 fighter. The winner of Ebersole vs. Waldburger could stake a claim to that ranking as well. If Ebersole beats Waldburger, Pyle vs. Ebersole would be an elimination fight off sorts; providing one top UFC slot for a fighter once perceived to be a journeyman fighter. If it is Pyle vs. Waldburger, it would be one more stiff test for the young Waldburger.
Josh Neer vs. Che Mills: Go ahead; tell me this won’t be a fun four minute fight that ends with someone being knocked silly. I’ll wait. This is yet another fight to place on the aforementioned Nottingham card.
Eddie Wineland vs. Michael McDonald: OK, I didn’t see this one coming. I should have listened to my friend Luca Fury and gotten behind Wineland on this one. His boxing was accurate and powerful, his jabs found a home almost every time he threw them, and his head movement and his footwork were both top notch. A win over Jorgensen should really skyrocket Wineland up the ranks, and I think he’s worthy of a title eliminator against Michael McDonald. McDonald needs one more fight before getting a title shot, and this would be a perfect test.
Scotty Jorgensen vs. Brian Bowles: Jorgensen loses nothing in losing to Wineland in the manner he did. It was a great fight against a great opponent. Bowles and Jorgensen have both fought for bantamweight gold in the WEC, and the winner of this fight would keep himself in contention for a shot at UFC gold.
Follow Rich Hansen on Twitter @MMATorchRich
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