UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa is in the books and it was a decent event overall. It's really hard to get up for some of these cards when they're running events all the damn time, and I was already kind of burned out by the time the main card started. But the top four fights mostly delivered (except for one guy) and it wasn't the worst way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Anyway, enough preamble. Let's take a look at who each of the main card fighters could meet in their next bout.
Alexander Gustafsson - This one's pretty easy - he'll face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira. Maybe. If Jones wins, it's on for sure. But if Glover wins, does anyone seriously think there wouldn't be an immediate rematch? If that did happen, Gustafsson could very well meet Daniel Cormier in a contender's bout. But the betting money is on Jones/Gustafsson 2.
Jimi Manuwa - Gustafsson was too much too soon for him in the UFC, even though he's 34. They'll put him back in there on the next UK card against a banger to give the crowd an exciting fight. If they could convince James Te Huna to stay at LHW, he'd be a suitable candidate. If not, the loser of the Gian Villante vs. Fabio Maldonado bout at UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Shogun could fit the bill.
Michael Johnson - He has now taken out three guys in a row that have been on the cusp of the top ten at one point but were never really able to break through. He should probably get a fighter in the top 10-12 next, and I think the best matchup would be against the winner of the Donald Cerrone (the man that saved Strikeforce) vs. Edson Barboza bout at UFC on Fox 11.
Melvin Guillard - I honestly believe that now is the time to cut Guillard. He's 2-5 (1 NC) in his last eight, and he made no attempt to actually fight this time around. You could at least count on him for excitement before. But now? It feels like he's just taking up a spot on cards. They could decide to do the rematch with Ross Pearson when he's healthy again, but I don't really care. Let Melvin go to WSOF or something, it's not like he's going to sell out buildings for them.
Brad Pickett - He showed off his well-rounded skills to win the fight, but he still put himself in danger a lot by trading with a heavy hitter. It is what the crowd wants though, and he did get robbed on the fight of the night bonus. I believe that all the talk about an immediate title shot just because he has beaten Demetrious Johnson before is a bit premature. Let him at least beat a ranked opponent at 125 first. Right now, I think the best answer is to let him fight Zach Makovsky in a top contender's fight. Winner of that gets the winner of DJ/Bagautinov. But they could also have him fight John Dodson, and I love the hell out of that fight.
Neil Seery - Obviously he's going to get another fight. I'd dearly love to see him fight John Lineker next, but that might not make sense rankings-wise. Perhaps a bout with someone like Richie Vaculik would be more logical.
Gunnar Nelson - He's now 3-0 in the UFC, but they're bringing him along slowly. Many would like him to jump straight into a top-15 bout with someone like Mike Pyle, but I think they give him another mid-level test before they do that. Perhaps they could give him the winner of the TUF Nations coaches bout between Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke. It'd be a bit of a higher-profile name on his resume, and a good stepping stone into a bout against a ranked fighter.
Omari Akhmedov - There's not a lot of shame in getting schooled by Nelson on the ground, but he's going to need a win in his next bout to make people forget about it. Maybe a bout against someone like Luiz Dutra would work, but they have a ton of options at 170 if it's not him.