UFC London is in the books Michael Bisping beat Anderson Silva (more or less) and we as a people have to adjust to this strange new reality that we've inherited. New and difficult times need clear plans, guidelines by which we can forge ahead, find our footing, and regain some semblance of the reality we once knew. Obviously, in such a time, there is no better way forward than fantasy UFC fight booking. What I'm trying to say is, I understand how important a service I'm doing, and I want to make sure you get everything out of it you possibly can.
To that end, I'm following the Silva/Shelby method of fight booking. For the most part I'll match winners against winners, losers against losers, and try and keep everyone to a similar level of experience. That's the way the UFC likes to play the game, and as I've discussed above, the boat has already been thoroughly rocked, no need to tip it over. Now let's get down to business.
Michael Bisping: So Bisping could be in the offing for a middleweight title shot. The sentimental parts of me are cool with that and wouldn't mind seeing it even at Jacare's expense (poor Jacare), if Jacare beats Belfort obviously. If Belfort somehow manages to beat Jacare, then I think Bisping should absolutely be next. I've seen Belfort fight for more titles than I can remember, the thought of him doing it again (even with a win over the champ) doesn't excite me that much. If Jacare wins and the UFC decides to go with Jacare vs. Rockhold/Weidman winner then I would put Bisping in with Machida, assuming Machida beats Dan Henderson. That would be a high profile fun fight and it would really reinforce Bisping's case to get a shot if he won it.
Anderson Silva: Whether you thought he won or lost, it's pretty clear that today's Anderson Silva neither has the chin nor the consistency of output of the classic version. That's fine, we knew that was coming, but it does mean I'd rather see him keep to fighting other longtime vets, rather than top challengers. He could rematch Belfort assuming Belfort loses to Jacare. That would be a solid fight even twice over. But considering that the UFC already tried it and couldn't book it, I doubt it happens. If that's the case there are three potential fights that I think would all be good and fun. Rashad Evans win or lose to Shogun, Patrick Cote for the rematch of the title fight that never quite happened, or Yoshihiro Akiyama just for the hell of it. Of all of those I think Anderson Silva vs. Sexyama would be the most randomly entertaining, but any would be solid.
Gegard Mousasi: Mousasi breezed to a win to show that he's still very firmly a top 10 level middleweight. Not a thrill a minute one, but the kind of fighter that most of his division just won't beat. He really wants a rematch with Lyoto Machida, and that was a great fight. If Bisping wanted to wait for a title shot or something similar then I'd be fine seeing Mousasi get Machida again. But, for the sake of something new I'd really like to see Whittaker get a fight with Mousasi once he beats Natal. I think that'd be a fantastic fight and a great way to see if Whittaker can get a big enough name win to push him into top 5 matchups. And Whittaker has the kind of striking that might be able to force an aggressive pace out of Mousasi and not just let him keep the fight in second gear.
Thales Leites: Uriah Hall is coming off a loss. That would be an excellent style matchup so see which of these two fighters can really maintain a place in the top 10. Can Hall handle Leites consistent pressure game and strong grappling? Can Leites handle a powerful, unpredictable striker who he can't dominate athletically? It's a good fight and would answer new questions for both men.
Tom Breese: It wasn't beautiful, but he got another solid win and continued his climb. He's in a trickly place of being somewhat inexperienced, but having the kind of potential that he needs to keep getting pushed against decent talent. Two good steps up he could take would be Alexander Yakovlev and Sean Strickland. I think I'd really like to see the Strickland fight as Strickland could really use pushing by a similarly sized and similarly well rounded talent. A loss could be a bit derailing for either of them, but I think it's also a fight that could separate out either fighter as clearly being on their way to the top of the division.
Brad Pickett: Since it sounds like this win is going to push him to stick around for another fight or two then I'd say this is the right time for fights with either Manny Gamburyan or Rani Yahya. I'd rather see the Yahya fight just because it'd be less dangerous to Pickett and might allow for more ground scrambles, but the Gamburyan one would be solid too.
Francisco Rivera: Rivera should have gotten a win, but didn't. The UFC should keep him around, despite his less than stellar recent record. If they do, a fight with Iuri Alcantara makes sense. A fight with Eddie Wineland would also be fine if Wineland is still in the game.
Makwan Amirkhani: Mr. Finland is on the rise. And while I could see him facing another 3-0 fighter like Mirsad Bektic or Zubaira Tukhugov, I'd actually like to see him fight Mike De La Torre. MDLT is a dangerous, scrappy, well rounded fighter that could really push Amirkhani and provide a good test to his wrestle heavy game. It'd make for a fun fight and see if Amirkhani can continue to separate himself from the chaff at 145.
Rustam Khabilov: You know what, I'm sure I made other plans for James Krause last week (I did, Carlos Diego Ferriera), but Khabilov vs. Krause would be a fantastic fight. I would also really like to see Khabilov vs. Nik Lentz to see if either guy can put on a show that would propel them further toward the top 15 at 155.
Arnold Allen: Allen did well to get past a seasoned, but not quite dangerous, veteran in Yaotzin Meza. He controlled all areas of the fight, was consistent, and poured it on in the final seconds. Next up I'd like to see him take on Tiago Trator. Trator has a decent Muay Thai game, but is a very inconsistent talent. He's the kind of a dangerous but not technically deep opponent that could be a nice step up for Allen to see if he can keep his momentum building.
Krzysztof Jotko: Much like Magnus Cedenblad was before his career got derailed by injury, Krzysztof Jotko is quietly building up some steam at 185. Obviously, this division needs every winning fighter it can get right now, so figuring out where Jotko should go next is a bit of a challenge. The winner of Cezar Ferreira vs. Caio Magalahaes could be a very good next step for Jotko, or if he doesn't want to wait around, I bet Anthony Smith would be interested in a quick-ish turnaround as he seems to like to stay busy.
Other Bouts: Nakamura vs. Saunders, Wilkinson vs. Whiteford, Vera vs. Sasaki, Askham vs. Dongi, Scott vs. Theodorou, Parke vs. Koch, Omielanczuk vs. Abdurahimov, Danho vs. de la Rocha, Packalen vs. Gruetzemacher, Gouti vs. Olivieri, Teymur vs. Reyes