There's nothing like a decent Saturday afternoon UFC show, and fans were treated to an emphatic beatdown by Chad Mendes over Ricardo Lamas in the main event in Fairfax, Virginia. Controversy was generated by the decision to award Al Iaquinta the split decision win over Jorge Masvidal in the co-main event, as the crowd booed the call as well as Iaquinta, who responded accordingly by cursing them out. All things considered, a relatively good show aside from some slow moments in the prelims.
It's time now to figure out what's in store for the winners of the main card fights in another edition of "Fights to Make". For smaller events, I only do them for main card winners, but for Fox shows and PPVs I include everyone. Let's dive into the world of fantasy matchmaking once more....
Chad Mendes. There's just no beating this guy if your name isn't Jose Aldo. Ricardo Lamas is a highly formidable opponent and Mendes tore through him like he was an amateur. If Edgar beats Urijah Faber (and I think he will do it convincingly), a Mendes/Edgar fight is an absolute must-have. There is of course the prospect of Aldo/Mendes 3 or Mendes/McGregor, but that will soon sort itself out.
Al Iaquinta. I can see why the judges gave Iaquinta the W over Jorge Masvidal, but I thought he lost the fight. It's nevertheless the biggest win of his career. That wasn't enough to convince me he needs to be thrust into top 10 spotlight fights, but he's getting close. Put him in there with another veteran like Adriano Martins.
Michael Chiesa. Quietly, Chiesa is 5-2 in the UFC with his only losses coming to Jorge Masvidal (who he nearly knocked out) and Joe Lauzon (who he gave a hell of a fight before the doctor's stoppage). Whatever you think of his prospects of being a truly top lightweight, he's at worst a regular Fight Night main card guy or even a FOX or PPV opener at this point. I think Chiesa vs. Matt Wiman would be a dynamite fight.
Julianna Pena. A relatively easy win in her return, hopefully shaking off any ring rust and getting her to 2-0 in the UFC (including the TUF 18 Finale title). There are only about 30 women's bantamweights on the roster and so few fresh
victims challengers for Ronda Rousey, so it's very possible that Pena immediately faces much tougher opposition than anything Dudieva had to offer. Scanning the top 10, a fight with Liz Carmouche makes sense.
Clay Guida. He is who he is and it's far too late for him to change into a different fighter. In other words, he's not a contender, he's a gatekeeper at featherweight just as he was at lightweight. The best way to get Guida in exciting fights is against guys who can neutralize his game and blast him on the feet, or (more favorably for Guida) opponents who are very active from the bottom and can initiate fun scrambles. I think the days of Guida fighting top 10 guys are generally over, so why not book him against Godofredo Pepey?
Dustin Poirier. He's one of my personal favorite fighters to watch, and he's absolutely lethal when he has you hurt, as Carlos Diego Ferreira found out. Perhaps he gets one more fight against someone outside the top 15 before he's given a ranked opponent, and I'd be intrigued to see him take on Yancy Medeiros.