Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale results: Fights to make for the main carders

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tim B. takes a look at who the TUF 18 Finale main card fighters should meet in their next bout.

Last night's TUF 18 was severely lacking in relevancy. With a main card that featured exactly two fighters that had fought in the UFC before, and six of them fighting in a division that just basically doubled in size, this shouldn't be the most complicated column I've ever written. With that being said, where the headliners go from here should be interesting at least, and what they do with the female TUF winner could be different than usual. With that in mind, let's take a look at who the TUF 18 Finale main card fighters might meet in their next bout.

Nate Diaz - He has already fought a lot of guys in the division and obviously doesn't want to fight Gilbert Melendez. It's possible that they could give him to T.J. Grant when he's ready, but I'd like to see Diaz face off with Khabib Nurmagomedov next. It'd be a great test to see if the Dagestani fighter can break into the top tier of the division, and Khabib isn't similar to any recent Diaz opponent. I think it's a great matchup.


Nick and Nate Get Pulled Over -- UFC Cartoons from SB Nation video partner Pouya Prebek.

Gray Maynard - How the mighty have fallen. I have absolutely no idea if Gray would consider retirement, but I guess it's a possibility. If he does stick around though, where do you go with him? A good style matchup would be against Jamie Varner.

Julianna Pena - Do they bring her along slowly or throw her against top-ten opponents right away? Generally they'd take a TUF winner and build them up with mid-level opponents or members of international TUF's. I don't think they do that with Pena here. Unless they give her a debuting fighter, she'd have to face someone that was on the show with her and she's clearly a cut above them. So I say give her Jessica Andrade next. She's someone at the bottom of the top 10 and is coming off a solid UFC win. Plus it'd be an interesting fight from a style standpoint.

Jessica Rakoczy - If they don't give her someone else from the show, about the only interesting matchup I could see would be with Germaine de Randamie. Boxing vs. kickboxing.

Chris Holdsworth - Unlike Pena, I absolutely believe they'll bring Holdsworth along slowly. My guess is that he'll get either a debuting fighter or one of the bantamweight winners from the upcoming Singapore card in January. It's also possible they give him someone like Wilson Reis, who would test his submission skills.

David Grant - He'll probably get one more fight, but it'll be against a debuting fighter or something that has lost a couple in a row. They cut everyone else from his season so there's no one for him to fight from there. If Edwin Figueroa is kept around he might be a good candidate.

Jessamyn Duke - She's surely going to fight someone from her show next, and the best matchup looks like it'd be Sarah Moras who was injured and couldn't fight on the show.

Raquel Pennington - Like Duke, she'll probably face off with someone from the show as well. The other injured fighter, Shayna Baszler, would make the most sense.

Roxanne Modafferi and Peggy Morgan - Unfortunately for them I think both of these ladies won't be getting another UFC fight any time soon.

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