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UFC Pittsburgh: Cowboy vs. Cowboy - Fights to make for the main card fighters

Zane Simon takes a crack at organizing the UFC roster like his own personal kumite to get the best possible future fights for each fighter from the most recent UFC card.

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

I can hear you right now, saying to yourself "I love fight booking articles, but none of them are awesome enough for me."

Until now, my man. Until now.

That's right, I'm here to bring you the best in fantasy fight booking for the latest UFC card. This time around I'm looking at the fights that went down in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To be more precise, the main card fights. But I'll take a stroll through the prelims to pick up any stray exciting fighters that might be hanging out down there as well. All of this is done by me in an attempt to get on the Shelby/Silva Christmas card list and bring in a little extra yuletide cheer for 2016 (a man can dream).

As that's the case, I'll be using the Shelby/Silva method as best as I possibly can. Matching winners against winners and losers against losers and similarly tenured talents against one another. I'm not trying to break the rules here, just provide a look at the best potential fights within them. So, without further ado...

Donald Cerrone: Since his coach is talking like this welterweight move might be long term and since he's a fight anytime, anyone, anywhere type of cat, Cerrone has a ton of options. If he stays at welterweight, bouts with Matt Brown (win or lose to Maia), Tarec Saffiedine, or Albert Tumenov would all be hot fire. Or he could go back to lightweight and fight Dustin Poirier. Out of all those, I think I'd actually most love to see the Saffiedine fight. Tarec is a seasoned vet whose volume striking style should make for a really fun prolonged battle against Cerrone and something that could make for a technical showcase for both men.

Alex Oliveira: I kind of assume he's headed right back to lightweight where a fight with Olivier Aubin-Mercier would be pretty solid right now, as he's the better striker, worse wrestler, and similarly scrappy grappler. However, if he stays at welterweight he should fight George Sullivan.

Derek Brunson: Things are tough at the top of the middleweight division. There are a few decent talents struggling to find purchase and a group of established superstars that demand top PPV billing (which Brunson is unlikely to get). He could fight Robert Whittaker, assuming that Whittaker gets past Rafael Natal at UFC 197, but that would risk derailing one of the two actual rising talents in a division without many. So, the best option may be a fight against the winner of Leites vs. Mousasi. It's not sexy, but it's sensible and its either that or the Bisping/Silva winner or Machida when he gets through with Henderson... Leites/Mousasi it is!

Roan Carneiro: The good news for Carneiro is that middleweight is filled with mid-tier guys he can take on for a bounce back fight. I don't know when Brad Tavares is looking to return, but that would be a great next bout for him to take. Similarly C.B. Dollaway is coming off a crushing loss. And if neither of those fights are available, then fighting Carneiro would be a great opportunity for either Josh Samman or Elias Theodorou.

Cody Garbrandt: Apparently he's still fighting John Lineker next. Which, I get that's a sexy action fight, but it kinda reaffirms my feeling that he's being over-matched, if even off another win it's the best bout available for him. Maybe Garbrandt steals it, but he might be heading for his first career setback too.

Dennis Bermudez: Charles Oliveira bout, please! That fight would be hot fire and probably end with Bermudez getting subbed, but both guys are so fun and action heavy I'd love to see it. It'd also be a great way to create a little more clarity in the 145 top 15 where a lot of guys are looking for paths to contention. A fight with Brian Ortega would also be acceptable if there's a reason not to book Oliveira.

Tatsuya Kawajiri: The loser of Darren Elkins vs. Chas Skelly to get a round robin of grindiest grinders going. Also a fight with Maximo Blanco might be a good time.

Chris Camozzi: I was going to write something about Trevor Smith being a decent fight when he gets back from injury, but then I remembered that Tamdan McCrory was coming off a win. Given how Camozzi looked here, I'd love to see him take on McCrory in a surefire action fight. Camozzi's path to the top of the division is a long one, but it would be an especially fun way to build McCrory as a highlight action fighter if he can get the win.

James Krause: Krause is such a matchup dependent fighter. I don't feel like there's a lot of sense in moving him way up the lightweight ladder, but he can be a great mid-card action fighter/gatekeeper to the upper half of the division. I could see him fighting Leandro Buscape, but I'd rather see him against someone more aggressive and wild. Carlos Diego Ferreira would be a great test of both men and a really fun grappling battle.

Sean Strickland: Sergio Moraes just won his funky fight with Omari Akhmedov, and both he and Strickland have yet to separate themselves from the pack quite the way you would expect. Even though both men are coming of TKO wins, they weren't exactly the kind of things to get fans hyped for their next fights. Put them together, see if one of the two can keep building momentum slowly, or maybe even put on a show.

Lauren Murphy: Murphy is in a weird place with a 1-2 record that could be 3-0. I think the best fight for her right now would be against another prospect who has had trouble finding breakout form, Germain de Randamie, once de Randamie returns from injury. If that's too far out into the future, then I'd put her in with Ashlee Evans-Smith off her technical win over Reneau, just to keep both women busy and maybe get one of them an extra push toward bigger bookings.

Other bouts: Tanquinho vs. Guangyou, Campbell vs. Sims, Garcia vs. Akhmedov, Bamgbose vs. Scott/Jotko winner, Smith vs. Dongi, Guimaraes vs. Collier, Coy vs. Anzai, Reneau vs. Kaufman, Faszholz vs. Moras, Abdurakhimov vs. Omielanczuk/Danho winner, Hamilton vs. Pesta

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