After a solid day of fights in Sydney, Australia it's time to figure out which match-ups make the most sense following the results of UFC on FX 2. With the UFC currently in the process of crowning their first flyweight champion, many of the fighters on this card already know what their future in the organization is; McCall and Johnson will rematch after the Australian commission's inability to solve 2nd grade math problems and Benavidez will sit in limbo as that fight plays out. For those less fortunate I'll attempt to tackle the arduous task of playing match-maker to decide their next opponents.
Martin Kampmann vs BJ Penn
In the headliner of the UFC's third card in the land down under, Kampmann was able to capture a rather shocking victory over the always game Thiago Alves. Many were expecting a fight in which two strikers would trade shots until one man fell, but the end result ended up coming from a successful Kampmann scramble which resulted in a guillotine with less than a minute left in the fight forcing Alves to tap.
Kampmann has proven himself to be more than just a striker over his last several fights by routinely being able to stop take-downs from fighter's known for their wrestling and also being able to scramble out of bad situations when needed.
Style wise, BJ Penn is about as close to Martin Kampmann as one could ask for, he's a striker at heart that's known for his gumby-like ability to twist-and-turn out of about in situation to keep his opponent from taking him down. With a solid stand-up game, almost flawless take-down defense, and cardio that has become less and less of a question with each fight, a bout between the two would be extremely competitive and more than likely end up being a very technical striking bout.
Penn has recently shown interest in making a return to the sport and a fight against Kampmann would create an opportunity for either man to capture a solid win and prove that they belong in the mix of elite fighters at welterweight in the UFC.
Thiago Alves vs Mike Pierce
Suffering a loss after looking fairly solid in a close fight this past Friday, Alves didn't lose that much stock at welterweight that he hadn't already lost from previous performances. Thiago's ground game and takedown defense had always been the most suspect areas of his arsenal, and if anything he showed some signs of improvement by being able to take down a fighter that other men with much better wrestling credentials had struggled or failed to do.
With many people feeling that Pierce deserved the nod in his fight against Josh Koscheck, a man who lost to Alves when he was at his peak, this fight seems like a match-up that both men would desire. Alves could use Mike's momentum from the questionable Koscheck fight as a springboard to jump back into the welterweight picture and Pierce would be able to keep the discussion about him going as he has yet to get that big win over a high-profile opponent that you need to make your mark in one of the UFC's most cutthroat divisions.
Keep in mind, this isn't the first time that this fight has been discussed. Mike already called out Alves before his ex-training partner Ricky Story fought and beat him, and Alves said that he was up for the challenge when questioned about the possibility of the fight. This would be an easy fight to book given both men's shown interest in the past and simple to sell with the back story that comes along with it.
Boetsch and Philippou have both been feel-good underdog stories to a certain extent during their tenure with the UFC. Philippou, a man who originally tried out for The Ultimate Fighter season 11 and didn't make the cut, has now risen above anything developed from that season of the show by defeating the winner Court McGee.
Boetsch, who is currently riding a three fight win streak, was once released by the UFC after going a mediocre 2-2 during a stint with the company after the collapse of the IFL. Since that time he's reinvigorated his career and has amassed an impressive 7-1 record, only losing to rising light heavyweight Phil Davis. Looking better with every performance, Boetsch recently acquired a stunning come-from-behind victory when he knocked out Yushin Okami at UFC 144, and is now hotter than he's ever been throughout his career.
With two or three more solid wins either of these men could find themselves in a title bout in one of the thinnest divisions that the UFC currently has. Whether or not these two end up fighting each other next, they're bound to run into one another before either gets that crack at the belt simply because of the lack of names at the top of the division.
This not only is a logical fight, but it's also a fan friendly fight. Neither Boetsch or Philippou are excellent in any one area but they are without question two of the most rugged and game-bred fighters in the division. Both of these guys come in to knock your block off, they don't come in to win by scoring points. I can't imagine how this potential match-up wouldn't be exciting and hopefully we see Joe Silva make this happen.
Realistically both of these men are in the exact same boat. They're both hovering around 40 which is fairly old in combat sports and most athletes their age are either on their way out the door or have already thrown in the towel.
Whether or not either have long term aspirations to become a UFC champion I don't know, but if they're honest with themselves they're probably both most interested in entertaining their fans with the time they have left in the sport and putting a little extra cash away before the curtain is finally closed.
This might sound like I'm dismissing them and I'm honestly not doing that. For what it's worth, Matyushenko has never gotten the credit that he's deserved and during his recent tenure with the UFC he's become very entertaining while most still seem to characterize him as a boring wrestler despite the fact that both of his last wins have lasted less than a combined time of 3 minutes.
Perosh has seen a similar outcome and is currently riding a three fight win streak since his return to light heavyweight, but he's fought nobody of note during this run and he's been reserved for cards oversees.
Typically I wouldn't suggest matching up a fighter on a three fight win streak with a fighter that lost his last bout but because of the level of competition in that run combined with the similarities that both share in age and overall worth to the UFC I think this fight makes sense.
THIS I ALSO POSTED ON MY WEBPAGE: http://www.joeshowradio.com/archive/articles.php?id=20120303-Fights-to-Make-After-UFC-on-FX-2