It's pretend Joe Silva time, folks. Sure there's virtually no impact to be made by offering up a few fantasy match-ups, but it's still a fun exercise. Personally, I especially enjoy trying to figure out what fight bookings aren't just fun, but are likely for these main card fighters as well. The UFC tends toward a pretty set booking system for their talent, when possible. The general process seems to be to match up guys/gals who have a similar level of experience with the organization and who are both coming off a win or a loss.
Occasionally, higher profile newcomers (and usually more expensive newcomers) will get top bookings. So, fighters like Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, etc can be expected to get top flight opponents. But, most of the time, the system is reasonably cut and dried. On that note, here's the fights I hope to see for the main card fighters of UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2:
Starting at the bottom of the main card with upset of the night creator, Maryna Moroz. Options for her are surprisingly limited if she wants to fight right away. She could just get the title shot she asked for, as it was somewhat expected that either Calderwood or Gadelha would get the next crack at the belt, depending on who looked better in Krakow. Gadelha ended up injured and Calderwood lost. So there's no clear woman to face Joanna Jedrzejczyk right now. If Joanna wants to fight in the next couple months, Moroz might be her best shot. If she's willing to wait, I'd like to see Moroz face the winner of Paige VanZant vs. Felice Herrig from UFC on Fox 15, potentially setting up to push Moroz or VanZant into a title shot.
As for Calderwood, it's tough to say whether an immediate return or some real time off is best after an ugly loss like that. Either way, she needs a confidence builder. I'd say put her against the loser of Daley vs. Markos. It wouldn't be a pushover fight, however neither woman has the striking skill to run her over like Moroz did.
Pawel Pawlak got his first win in the UFC, but it wasn't exactly something to inspire a ton of confidence. He showed that he can take punishment, get in a tough fight, and rally back to win it. Still, he's definitely a fighter the UFC needs to build slowly if they want to see him improve for them. He might be a good matchup for Wang Sai, coming off Wang's win over Danny Mitchell.
Turning to Westcott, and assuming he stays in the UFC (I'm not sure he will, as the UFC tends to be pretty quick on the trigger with TUF talent) then a fight with Marcio Alexandre Jr. makes a ton of sense. Both were runner's up on international TUF seasons, neither have looked good to date in the UFC, but both have flashed some potential to be better fighters down the road. Perfect loser leaves town fight.
The co-main event saw Jimi Manuwa take an ugly, and reasonably definitive, decision from Jan Blachowicz. And he did so on what appears to be a totally blown out knee. So, first and foremost for him will be a long injury layoff. How much the division changes around him is anyone's guess. But, since LHW's don't tend to stay that busy, he could potentially face the winner of OSP vs. Patrick Cummings, or maybe Rashad Evans when Evans finally returns from injury.
In the case of Jan Blachowicz, this wasn't a terrible loss. Still, it did kill just about every bit of hype he might have gained for a dominant win over Ilir Latifi in his debut. I wouldn't mind seeing him take on Hans Stringer, as another under-performing European light heavyweight. Or, if the UFC wants to keep pushing him a little harder than most relative newcomers, Rafael Cavalcante, when Cavalcante returns from injury.
And finally the main event. No lie, these heavyweights are hard fights to book, just because that division is so weird and stagnant. But, if we're being real, a fight with Alistair Overeem makes by far the most sense. Overeem is still a very unpredictable commodity in the UFC, and it's another one of those fights on Cro Cop's record that he'd probably like to get a do over on. Their first meeting ended in a DQ due to groin strikes, way back in 2008, and they've never had a chance to make that fight right. Now they're in the UFC, they're both coming off wins, neither man has a fight booked. Get it done.
For a while Gabriel Gonzaga's UFC return was going really well. He won 4 out of 5 bouts, all of them by KO or submission. He looked like a heavyweight fully in command of his career. Oh, how a year can change things. Since 2013, Gonzaga is on a 3 fight losing skid, with his last two coming by KO. In fact, he's been KO'd 8 times in his career. That's kind of a lot. However, if he decides to keep fighting and the UFC decides to keep booking him, he might as well fight the loser of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Stefan Struve for the ultimate fights-we-don't-want-to-see-but-will-watch-anyway round robin.