How to make sense of middleweight

With Vitor Belfort derailing the expected matchup between Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva, and Silva announcing he would be sitting out until summer, we're going to need some middleweight matchups to fill the void and hopefully produce some kind of viable fight for Anderson Silva (at least until he fights GSP or Jones). Although many of the expected contenders have recently been knocked off, there are still plenty of exciting fights to make. Fortunately, the only UFC top 25 middleweights that are booked at the moment are Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann (who ironically are fighting at LHW). Here are the matchups a that need to happen:

To produce a contender in the short term:

Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold - It's a great test for Rockhold, and if Vitor can knock off another contender he's making a great case for himself.

Jacare Souza vs. Chris Weidman - Two stellar athletes with outstanding grappling and strong striking... I dare you to tell me this wouldn't be awesome.

Cung Le vs. Hector Lombard - Neither of these guys should be talked about as a title contender yet, but this is the kind of fight that would almost certainly produce a highlight KO, and that could set up the case for a title shot down the line.

Whoever comes out of that looking the best should get a title shot. If there's time, winners can fight each other.

To deal with the rest:

Costa Phillipou vs. [Wanderlei Silva/Brian Stann] - Costa is making his way along, but I'm not sold on his Boetch win yet. A win against a solid but beatable striker coming off a win in Japan could be a good match to make.

Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch - I think there's more parity between these fighters than most people realize. I can't see this fight being boring.

Alan Belcher vs. Rich Franklin - Two veteran guys with great skills that badly need a good win to stay relevant.

Mark Munoz vs. Jake Shields - I want to see who could get on top here, because neither of these guys spends much time on their back.

Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie - I know it's not popular to put SF guys against each other at this point but I think this is a good test for Gracie.

Chris Leben vs. Lorenz Larkin - Let's see what Larkin can do against Leben.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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