UFC 155 is in the books, and it was a fitting finale for 2012. The event, like the year, definitely had its ups and downs. I still haven't managed to catch the entire event as I'm on vacation, but it's pretty obvious that the middleweight division as a whole took a huge hit in Vegas last night. Two potential contenders were knocked off and none of the three main card middleweight fights delivered much action at all. Luckily, the event was saved by the top two fights.
The results of the event led to a lot of questions in regards to the near future though - will we see Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos 3 in 2013? Who will face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva next if Michael Bisping loses to Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7? With all that in mind, here's a look at the matchups I'd make next for the main card fighters if I had the ability to book fights.
Cain Velasquez: An immediate rematch with JDS didn't seem like something Dana White wants to do, so the answer is pretty obvious - Alistair Overeem. Assuming he beats Antonio Silva at UFC 156, of course. There's no one else really in the running right now. Fabricio Werdum will get a title shot if he beats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that's not until June. And it's highly unlikely Daniel Cormier will fight Cain, despite what Dana says. So Overeem is the man right now.
Junior dos Santos: Honestly, I'd stick him in there with Daniel Cormier. Let's face it - Cormier is going to beat Dion Staring. And JDS has taken out nearly everyone else at the top of the division. If Cormier will stay at heavyweight for a while, do that. I guess a bout with Antonio Silva could work if he loses to Overeem, but it's certainly not as compelling.
Jim Miller: I think is should be Rafael dos Anjos. Miller is still a force at lightweight, and he proved that by taking out Lauzon. Dos Anjos is on quite the streak and deserves a shot at a really formidable opponent. Miller is that man.
Joe Lauzon: The Strikeforce guys are coming over, right? Then there's someone that fits the bill pretty well - Josh Thomson. The Punk is usually pretty exciting, and obviously Lauzon is too. It shouldn't matter than he's coming off a loss. This has fight of the night written all over it.
Constantinos Philippou: This one seems pretty easy to me - Hector Lombard. I don't think either of them are true contenders at this point, but the winner of this bout certainly deserves a shot at some top guys. I know Lombard's making a lot of money and they might want to use him in a more high-profile bout, but this really seems like the bout to make right now.
Tim Boetsch: Boetsch kind of got a raw deal last night - the injuries and blood robbed him of a chance to come out on top in a very winnable fight. This seems like somewhat lazy matchmaking, but he should probably just meet Belcher next. Why not? They're in about the same spot right now, and it's a good style matchup.
Yushin Okami: I'd go with Ronaldo Souza. Jacare has to get through Ed Herman at Strikeforce's final event next month, but if he can successfully do that, he seems like he has the right skillset to challenge Okami on the mat and on the feet.
Alan Belcher: Boetsch, Tim.
Derek Brunson: Based on Dana White's comments, I wouldn't expect him to be facing anyone too good. And I certainly wouldn't expect to see him on the main card. Stick him in there with Brad Tavares or something.
Chris Leben: If he can't beat short-notice wrestlers and they're not going to cut him, it seems pretty obvious that he should be in there with strikers, so at least the bouts are exciting. Jared Hamman sounds like a suitable candidate.