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UFC Fight Night 71 post-fight analysis: Fights to make for main card winners

UFC Fight Night: Duffee vs. Mir is in the books, so what's next for the main card winners? Mookie Alexander plays fantasy matchmaker in Fights to Make.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Truth be told, the UFC's return to San Diego was a mixed bag. The preliminary card was largely undesirable card but the main card had plenty of good, dramatic, and exciting moments. No highlight was bigger than Frank Mir's sledgehammering of Todd Duffee in the wild 73 seconds of heavyweight slugging. Mir has conjured up two huge KOs this year to salvage his relevancy in the division. In the co-main, Tony Ferguson couldn't put away the incredibly tough Josh Thomson, but he put on a hugely impressive showing to cement himself as a top 10 lightweight.

With all of that out of the way, for the 2nd time in a few days, it's time for another edition of Fights to Make. For these smaller Fight Night type of events I'll just focus on the winners of the main card fights instead of the winners and losers.

Frank Mir. The old guard at heavyweight won't go away. They'll never go away! It'll be 2027 and Frank Mir will be fighting Josh Barnett for a 3rd time because that's the state of the division. Mir has won two in a row by violent KO to keep himself in the top 10. His offensive boxing has prolonged his stay in a big way. Does that mean he'll be in title contention again? Slow down, these wins don't magically erase the four straight shellackings he received beforehand. Buuuuuuut that doesn't mean he can't fight guys on the verge of being title challengers, such as Ben Rothwell.

Tony Ferguson. Yes, Josh Thomson is up there in age -- honestly, Thomson should think about eating his way to 230 so he can be a top 5 heavyweight -- but it's been a long time since I can recall anyone putting a beating on Thomson like that. Ferguson is a legitimate contender and it's time to give him a bigger test. Last night on Twitter I suggested Anthony Pettis and realized there's no chance the UFC books that, but they damn well can book "El Cucuy" vs. Eddie Alvarez. For what it's worth, I'd favor Alvarez.

Holly Holm. A better showing than her debut vs. Raquel Pennington, but even Holm admits she wish she could've shown more in her win over Marion Reneau. Her striking accuracy really wasn't good at all but her output alone was too much for Reneau to handle. It was effective without being overly flashy. In an ideal world, she fights Germaine de Randamie, who is a high-level Muay Thai striker who matches Holm's physical attributes if not exceeds it by a small margin. The upside is definitely with Holm as far as being a future contender, but I think this has potential to be a really fun fight in the women's bantamweight division.

Manny Gamburyan. If nothing else, Gamburyan getting wins at bantamweight means he has a few fights left in the tank, and he's added depth to a division that sorely lacks it right now. He's seemingly gone MIA since October, but Kings MMA prospect Pedro Munhoz vs. "The Anvil" definitely interests me.

Kevin Lee. At 4-1 in the UFC, the 22-year-old "Motown Phenom" is living up to his nickname, and his RNC on James Moontasri is his first finish inside the Octagon. I think an appropriate match-up for him at this stage in his career is Joe Proctor. Lightweight is deep enough that Lee has plenty of options to choose from for his step-up in opponent, though.

Alan Jouban. We've seen Jouban's limitations that prevent him from really belonging in the upper echelon of welterweights, and the qualities he's displayed that make him a good, talented fighter to watch. Jouban did really well to recover from a slow start vs. Matt Dwyer and mixed up his head and body attacks nicely (plus he did a cartwheel kick, which is great in my book). He arguably should be 4-0 in the UFC if not for the Warlley Alves robbery. I think he gets George Sullivan next.