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UFC Japan: Fights to make for the main card fighters

Tim B. takes a look at who the main card fighters from UFC Fight Night: Barnett vs. Nelson should face in their next bouts.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Another event is in the books. Normally these international events offer little in terms of future matchmaking relevance, but every so often there's a big upset that changes the makeup of a division to a degree. This was one of those times. Without further ado, let's get to it. It should be noted that I haven't written one of these in a while, so I may be a little bit rusty. I'm also not including everyone on the main card, since very few people will care who some of those guys are going to fight next.

Josh Barnett - Can The Warmaster make a run at the title? In the heavyweight division, anything's possible - we're seeing that with Andrei Arlovski right now. I know Barnett lost his last bout before this one, so he might not be in the running for a bout with Arlovski. But if the title is on the shelf for a while (the Fabricio Werdum/Cain Velasquez rematch is rumored to take place as late as April), Barnett/Arlovski could make a lot of sense. There's also the winner of the Stipe Miocic vs. Ben Rothwell fight later this month in the mix. I think Arlovski is the best option for Barnett right now though.

Roy Nelson - Nelson has now lost five of his last six fights. That actually surprised me when I looked it up. He has fought nearly everyone in the division now too, so I guess he's going to have to fight an unranked guy next. Soa Palelei might be the best fight available.

Uriah Hall - It'll be interesting to see where he's ranked next week. He just knocked out the number six guy, so you'd have to assume he cracks the top ten. Could he defeat anyone else that's currently in the top ten though? Many are talking about a fight with a Michael Bisping or a Vitor Belfort, but I think that's a huge stretch. Personally, I think Derek Brunson is the perfect next opponent for Hall. They were expected to meet at UFC Fight Night 69, at least for a few days until Hall had to pull out with a visa issue. I think the winner of that really breaks through and has earned top-level fights.

Gegard Mousasi - This loss was devastating for Mousasi's contender status. He's still going to be popular because of his personality and fighting style, but he's going to need to string together some big wins to get back into title talk. A solid next fight would be against Thales Leites.

Kyoji Horiguchi - Did he get his title shot too early? Many people believe that, but I'm not of that opinion. I think it was a great learning experience for the 25-year-old, and he has the skills necessary to be back in that spot again someday.  They have been pretty careful with his matchmaking outside of the title shot though, so I wonder if that will continue. I think he should fight someone ranked in the same area as him next time out - Dustin Ortiz seems like a pretty good fit.

Chico Camus - He's always "game" against top talent, but he's not winning these fights. It's time to give him a fight against a more reasonable opponent. How about Willie Gates?

Takeya Mizugaki - He was very emotional after his fight, thinking that he might not be good enough to fight any more if he didn't beat George Roop. Well, he did. Quite easily in fact. He's still a tough out for just about anybody, and I think the best role to use him in is as a gatekeeper. The winner of the Thomas Almeida vs. Anthony Birchak bout in November would work.

Diego Brandao - He destroyed Katsunori Kikuno. We all know what Brandao can do against the right opponent. But we also know that anyone who can take him into deep waters has a very good chance of beating him. He keeps flirting with the top 15, so give him another shot at it - see if he can blast away on Hacran Dias as easily as he did Kikuno. My guess is that he can't.