FIGHTS TO MAKE NEXT – POST-UFC 209: Who should be next opponents for Woodley, Thompson, Overeem, Teymur, Kelly, Evans, and more

By Chris King, MMATorch contributor

Mark Hunt vs. Alistair Overeem (photo credit Joe Camporeale © USA Today)

UFC 209 is in the books and, while it was entertaining, it was not the UFC calibre of PPV action that we have come to expect. But as with any fight card, there are winners and losers and it is now time to lookout what could be ahead for the fighters themselves.

Tyron Woodley defeats Stephen Thompson

Tyron Woodley scraped by and got the decision. While it means that he won’t become one of the organization’s golden boys with that sort of performance, the no. 1 priority for him was to keep the belt, which he did. I strongly doubt with the aftermath of this card that we will be seeing Woodley vs. Wonderboy 3 anytime soon, despite not really having a clear cut winner.

Demian Maia is the right choice, although the UFC have just recently matched him against Jorge Masvidal for UFC 211. He is the right choice, but what happens if he loses that fight? Then we have a problem. They should not announce the next challenger until that fight is done and, in the event that Maia does end up on the losing side, Robbie Lawler, who has been conspicuous by his absence, could sneak in. The rest of the field of challengers is rather thin and at this point seems to be the next logical step forward.

As for Stephen Thompson, his stock is certainly hurt by this fight. As long as Woodley remains the champ, he will have to keep circling the rest of the fighters in the top 10. If Carlos Condit wants to fight again, I think that would be a barn-burner of a match. Otherwise Donald Cerrone seems the next best option for him.

David Teymur defeats Lando Vannata

It is a sad indictment of the card that the co-main event was a fight between these two. A huge opportunity for David Teymur and he capatilsed in an entertaining back and forth fight. A ranked fighter beckons and, while the Lightweight Division is not in need for new blood as much as some weight divisions, it is still welcome. I would put him in against Jim Miller next despite him coming off a loss to Dustin Poirier. Evan Dunham could also be an entertaing fight if they want to have winning fighters face off against each other.

As for Lando Vannata, he looked good enough despite being on the losing end of the fight. A strong name fighter could be Josh Burkman or Ross Pearson for him.

Dan Kelly defeats Rashad Evans

The middleweight debut of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion did not go the way he had planned. He could retire, an option that I would be happy to see, as I have watched enough legends regress into former shadows of themselves. If he is to continue, then he needs to fight someone with no obvious way of beating him so he can get the signature win and recapture some the mojo that he seems to have lost. Step forward Nate Marquardt. Both fighters have name value, both are coming off losses, and a match between them would suit an undercard PPV.

Dan Kelly keeps on keeping on and his record is getting more and more impressive. It’s more impressive considering he is now 39. He has earned another tough test, so bring on Johny Hendricks, another step up in competition. It represents a grinder test for both men and time-schedule-wise it works out.

Cynthia Calvillo defeats Amanda Cooper

Whoah, this was a bit of a squash match. Cynthia Calvillo looked highly impressive and the Team Alpha Male prospect looks to have an exciting potential. Still raw, I would recommend a couple more tune up fights before we really see what she can handle. A 4-0 record looks good, but it can also look deceiving. Decision merchant Justine Kish could be a good test and, with both fighters being undefeated, it adds another selling point. Amanda Cooper is off to the back of the line, but Kailin Curran is in need of a fight and both fighters could serve up on a prelim FS1 card.

Alistair Overeem defeats Mark Hunt

A brutal fight opened up the main card and Overeem continues to show an improved IQ in the cage. He managed to keep Hunt at bay throughout and delivered a punishing series of blow (almost) breaking Hunt’s tibia bone before delivering a brutal knee to send him to non-best-picture La La land.

It seems, at least if Dana White at the post-fight press conference is to be believed, that they have something lined up for Overeem. Personally, Derrick Lewis seems to be the obvious fight, although if an injury happens to either Stipie Miocic or JDS in the run up to their fight at UFC 211, he could potentially step up.

As for Hunt, he earned a decent sum of money, even if it was at a grave physical cost. The UFC contract seems air tight so, while he may not want to fight again, he will come back; it just won’t be anytime soon. Hunt still has extremely good name value, the fans love him. Timothy Johnson seems the most appealing, but other options include Travis Browne or Andrei Arlovski. I would much rather match the latter two up against each other, though.

Marcin Tybura defeats Luis Henrique

Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Volkov

Luis Henrique vs. Viktor Pesta

Darren Elkins defeats Mirsad Bektic

Darren Elkins vs. Brian Ortega

Mirsad Bektic vs. Clay Guida

Iuri Alcantara defeats Luke Sanders

Iuri Alcantara vs. Thomas Almeida

Luke Sanders vs. Andre Soukhamthath

Mark Goodbeer defeats Daniel Spitz

Mark Godbeer vs. Cyril Asker

Daniel Spitz vs. Chris de la Rocha

Albert Morales defeats Andre Soukhamthath

Albert Morales vs. Aiemann Zahabi

Andre Soukhamthath vs. Luke Sanders

NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS ARTICLE: FIGHTS TO MAKE NEXT – POST-UFC 208: Anderson Silva, Holly Holm, Porier, Connonier, Teixeira, Boetsch, Souza, more

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