The Swedish contingent stayed up late (for the benefit of North American audiences) to watch UFC on Fox 14 at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm. A packed house of approximately 30,000 unfortunately did not see a single Swedish fighter pick up a win, including Alexander Gustafsson's stunning 1st round TKO loss to Anthony Johnson in the main event.
It's time to take a look at what's next for all 8 of the main card fighters from Saturday's show. We know Rumble's next opponent is all lined up, and the only remaining concern is the date and venue. So actually, this is really "Fights to Make" for 7 main card fighters.
Anthony Johnson. Uh, he's fighting Jon Jones. That's my job done here. I wish it was always this easy.
Alexander Gustafsson. The UFC highly values Gustafsson in the European market, and at 1-2 in his last 3 fights, they're in an interesting position as far as building him up as a title contender again. I believe we'll see Gustafsson against Rafael Cavalcante, who hasn't been remotely impressive in the UFC but is still ranked in the top 15 and is a former Strikeforce champion.
Gegard Mousasi. It's a much-needed win for Mousasi after the disappointing showing against Jacare Souza. Scanning the current middleweight rankings, a showdown with Tim Kennedy, even acknowledging that he's coming off that controversial loss to Yoel Romero, would be dynamite. It would also double as really a "last chance" for Gegard, because a 3rd loss to a top 10 middleweight would all but confirm that he's not a serious contender in the division, and may be better off returning to 205 lbs.
Dan Henderson. Well he doesn't plan on retiring, so that means I sadly have to find a fight for him. They probably don't want to use his name value against the Clint Hesters of the world, but he's in no shape to be facing legitimate contenders ever again. That leaves us with the loser of Thales Leites/Tim Boetsch (UFC 183) as the best option in my book.
Ryan Bader. Unfortunately for Ryan, his fight with Phil Davis wasn't received well and he's got a decisive loss to Jon Jones. There's no way he's getting a title shot off of this win, but I see Bader in a potential Fox Sports 1 main event against Rashad Evans, and while that may not be a thriller, it's certainly more intriguing to me than anything seen last night.
Phil Davis. His fights aren't exciting and he's now got 3 crucial losses on his belt that put him in a position where he's just plain stuck as a gatekeeper for as long as the UFC keeps him around. There are two routes that Joe Silva can take with Phil Davis: Either set him up to be the bounce-back opponent for Daniel Cormier, or book him in a realistically more competitive bout against Ovince St. Preux.
Sam Sicilia. While Sicilia's UFC record is a thoroughly average 4-4, he's probably going to be with the promotion for a long time as long as he doesn't go on a massive losing streak. He's an exciting slugger with heavy hands for the division, and is the type of "action fighter" that fans will always enjoy. The winner of Diego Brandao/Jim Hettes (UFC 183) looks ideal to me, with a preference for Brandao.
Akira Corassani. He's announced his retirement from the sport, and perhaps its for his own good. Back-to-back-to-back KO lossses is never a good thing, and he's taken some serious punishment over the years. Hopefully life after MMA treats him well.