After UFC's stellar card that featured many fan friendly fights we're now stuck with the arduous task of figuring out what's next for the fighters on the card. Of course Junior Dos Santos will be fighting Cain Velasquez next for the Heavyweight title and it's presumed that Kenny Florian will get a crack at Jose Aldo, but what about the other guys?
Here's my thoughts on what's going on in Joe Silva's head right now for some of the other UFC 131 fighters that don't have anything currently lined up.
Two wrestlers at heart that have traded in their singlet for boxing gloves, Mark Munoz vs Brian Stann screams stand up war. Both men as of late have had a resurgence in their careers coming off of the biggest wins they've had to date.
Stann, defeating former Strikeforce Middleweight Grand Prix and Sengoku Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago, proved that he's more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the big boys of the sport. Riding an all-time career high as his status was boasted oversees with his wars with Kazuo Misaki, Jorge's stock was quickly dropped when Stann upset the Brazilian transplant in spectacular fashion.
Munoz as well has never seen his stock higher than where it is now. Since dropping a close split decision loss to Yushin Okami who is now fighting Anderson Silva for the middleweight belt, Munoz has rattled of three consecutive victories over credible opponents.
This fight makes perfect sense for everyone involved. The UFC has been building up Brian Stann giving him opponents that are willing to trade with him and Munoz fits that bill perfectly. The only problem is that Munoz is fully capable of upsetting the apple-cart.
Editor's note: So I screwed up on calling Stann a wrestler, sue me. That being said this is still my goto match-up.
As likable and fan friendly as Shane Carwin is, let's face it, he's dropped two in a row. While he's lost to arguably some of the best in the heavyweight division (my opinion is that Brock isn't) Shane still needs to get back into the winner's column in order to move forward.
Beth Rothwell has been out of the loop for over a year at this point and most fans have probably forgotten that he's a UFC heavyweight due to his torn ACL. For those that don't remember, in Rothwell's last fight he defeated Gilbert Yvel way back at UFC 115. Ya know, back when Chuck Liddell was still fighting MMA.
Typically the UFC likes to match up winners with winner and losers with losers but this is one of those situations where an exception could always be made. Rothwell has been out of the game for quite some time and he's the perfect guy to give Shane Carwin a fight that he can look good in. He's big, he likes to throw down, and he's capable of being knocked out—by Andrei Arlovski at that. This fight smells like a potential bar room brawl, and we know everyone loves a good bar room brawl.
Sam Stout is a weird one for me. If you look at Sam's record he's been in a lot of close fights with credible named guys but at the same time his opponent's names still overshadow his. Perhaps it's that Stout has really never shown that he has the qualities to be a title contender. Many felt that in his last bout previous to Edwards when he fought Paul Taylor that Taylor was robbed of the win, and nobody mistakes Taylor as a potential threat to the title.
Regardless, Stout now has a lot of momentum behind him after his performance at UFC 131 when he knocked out Yves Edwards in 'KO of the Night' fashion. Yves is a tough opponent for anyone and for Stout to finish him the way he did has to have the UFC brass paying close attention.
After Anthony Pettis's loss to Clay Guida at the TUF 13 Finale, Pettis will have to put his title aspirations on hold for a while. Due to Anthony's style of fighting and extensive media coverage it could be assumed that the UFC still wants to push Pettis, but they will do so more cautiously and look to give an opponent that he has a good chance of beating.
Pettis clearly has a deficiency in wrestling as we saw when he fought Clay so matching him up with a striker will probably be the move that the UFC will make. Expect to see Stout vs Pettis since Stout doesn't offer much from a wrestling perspective and will more than likely play into Pettis's strengths, thus bringing the hype back for 'Showtime' if he wins.
Many people were sleeping on Dave Herman for his UFC debut. The vision of Herman completely gassing out back in January of 2009 when he lost to Choi Mu Bae at Sengoku no Ran 2009 in a fight that he should have won easily was still lurking around in the back of most heads.
For whatever reason, the fact that he had changed camps and really started to take training seriously was completely overlooked. The odds makers for this fight only had Herman as a slight favorite placing him at -185 prior to his fight with Jon Olav Einemo. Herman definitely shut a lot of people up that were doubting him and ironically out-fatigued his opponent.
Herman is a guy that brings a lot to the table. He's quick on his feet and loves to mix things up with untraditional flashy moves that most heavyweights don't bring to the table. On top of the he consistently sits in the pocket and goes to war.
Travis Browne, while not as flashy as Herman, likes to do the same. Fresh off of his over Stefan Struve with a highlight reel knockout that had Struve looking like a real-life version of Gumby, Browne is a prospect that the UFC will more than likely try to build up to become a name. With all but two of his wins coming via knockout, this fight seems like a perfect match-up for both men. Expect fireworks if they make this fight.
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