UFC on Fuel 10 results: Fights to make for the main card guys

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC on Fuel 10 didn't exactly shake up any weight classes, but some of the winners are moving up to bigger and better things. Tim B. takes a look at who these guys should be facing next.

These Fuel cards are usually the toughest ones to deal with when it comes to writing these things. Sure, it's sometimes easy to map out a course for the one or two winners that are contenders in a division. But when you have six main card fights at UFC on Fuel 10 and three of them were basically squash matches between Brazilians and lower-tier opponents, what do you do then? Could anyone in the world other than Sean Shelby have seen Raphael Assuncao vs. Vaughan Lee coming? Or Rony Jason vs. Mike Wilkinson?

For the purposes of this post (and for my own sanity), I'm going to make the assumption that these guys will get real challenges next, ones that pit them against guys at their level in their particular division. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's roll.

Fabricio Werdum - While a title shot should be next for Vai Cavalo, that would mean another long layoff. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos 3 won't happen until at least October, so he'd be looking at probably next February or March at the earliest. He's taken long layoffs before (this was his first fight in a year), but the UFC might try to book him again before a shot. I think the most interesting bout would be against the winner of the Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett bout at UFC 164. Are they too far down the ladder for Werdum at this point? Maybe. But unless Daniel Cormier wants to fight him before he drops to 205, there aren't many other options.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - I highly doubt that Big Nog retires. So if he does stay, how do you book him? In legends fights? As a legitimate contender? A gatekeeper? It will be an interesting challenge for Joe Silva. Personally, I'd like to see him fight Stefan Struve. I know that's a bit out there, but I think it's a funky style matchup.

Leonardo Santos - He talked about dropping to 155 after the fight, so there are a ton of options. Since they've had a habit of matching various TUF finalists against each other, let him fight Mike Ricci.

William Macario - I assume they'll build him back up by feeding him hittable guys on Brazilian cards. Perhaps he could face Brad Scott, the TUF Smashes finalist who lost to Robert Whittaker in the finals.

Thiago Silva - This win was absolutely massive for Silva, and it rebounds him back into the pack at light heavyweight. I'd like to see him face off with James Te Huna next, but he's probably more likely to get the winner of the Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac fight at UFC 161.

Rafael Cavalcante - Obviously that was huge setback for Feijao, but he can still put on entertaining fights and could climb back up the rankings with a few wins. Throw him in there with Vinny Magalhaes, that sounds like a pretty good matchup to me.

Erick Silva - A title shot! Just kidding, I'm not getting ahead of myself. Silva is extremely talented but he shouldn't be force-fed to a top five guy again right away. Going back to the bout with John Hathaway would be a solid test, but so would a bout with the likes of Dong Hyun Kim.

Daniel Sarafian - I've been saying this forever now - he should be fighting Cezar Ferreira to see who the real TUF Brazil 1 champ was. Assuming Mutante gets through Clint Hester at UFC 163, book this as a main card fight on a Brazilian FS1 card or something. It's a natural fit.

Rony Jason - He's 3-0 in the UFC now, and it's time for a step up in competition. Dennis Bermudez vs. Jason would be a great fight.

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