Hello readers, just want to start off by saying this will be the last installment of the "Who's Next" line of articles I do. Time constraints and heavy scheduling at work have put a severe damper on banging out these articles, so for the future, expect only "Fight Predictions" and the occasional blog concerning the MMA scene. Thank you for understanding, and let's get to the final version, this time for UFC 153.
UFC 153 ended over a week ago, and resulted in another spectacular showing for the UFC in Brazil. UFC cards in Brazil have resulted in an array of MMA highlights, and this show was no different.
Fighters To Keep: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Glover Teixeira, Fabio Maldonado, Jon Fitch, Erick Silva, Phil Davis, Demian Maia, Rick Story, Rony Bezerra, Gleison Tibau, Francisco Trinaldo, Diego Brandao, Sergio Moraes, Chris Camozzi, Cristiano Marcello, Reza Medadi
Fighters To Drop: Stephan Bonnar (Retirement), Dave Herman, Wagner Prado, Sam Sicilia, Joey Gambino,Renee Forte, Luiz Cane
Anderson Silva: Silva put on one hell of a show, and blasted Bonnar in a mere round, with no shock to MMA viewers around the world. His masterful display of MMA included an array of strikes, especially his vicious knee to Bonnar's solar plexus, and the fact that he willingly threw his chin up and let Bonnar hit him right on the button. Even with that window of opportunity, Bonnar could not crack the granite chin of Silva. With lots of people demanding his next fight be Jon Jones, it's sadly not happening. Jones is now tied up with Chael Sonnen, and during this time, Silva should return to Middleweight and challenge Weidman.
Next Fight: Chris Weidman
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Big Nog once again fed off the energy of his countrymen, and delivered a spectacular second round submission I called exactly. I really would have preferred seeing Big Nog call it a career on this win, but both he and Dana accept that Big Nog wants to continue fighting. Considering he doesn't have too many fights left in his career, a fight with someone like Carwin or Nelson will elevate him to title contention.
Next Fight: Winner of Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson
Glover Teixeira: Teixeira delivered the worst beat down of the night, forcing doctor intervention by the end of the second. I have been a fan of this fighter for numerous years, and expected nothing less of an onslaught. It's time he challenges one of the top tier Light Heavyweights so he can fight for the belt soon.
Next Fight: Quinton Jackson
Fabio Maldonado: Maldonado failed to cash in on a late replacement victory against the brutal Teixeira. He proved a fan favorite as he stood toe to toe and never backed down from a fight he was losing pretty badly. Dana White confirmed that despite Maldonado's three fight skid, he will stay on the UFC roster. Maldonado has also been rumored to drop to Middleweight which would be ideal as it would give him a fresh start.
Next Fight: Chris Camozzi
Jon Fitch: In one of the most entertaining bouts of the evening, Fitch grinded out and nearly stopped prospect Erick Silva. Entertainment and Fitch never really go hand in hand, so it was great to see Fitch finally perform to UFC main card standards. He still needs to rebuild stock in the division and a fight with recent victor, Maia, makes sense.
Next Fight: Demian Maia
Erick Silva: Silva failed to stop Fitch, but in the process gained a new level of respect. The tough, young Brazilian never allowed himself to be finished by a heavily experienced opponent, and went all three rounds. Silva still remains a prospect, and I'd love to see what he can do with a wrestler like Rick Story.
Next Fight: Rick Story
Phil Davis: Davis ended his two fight contract with Wagner Prado the way I had seen it, with a W. Davis continues to evolve, and show some awesome submission style fighting that has integrated into his fantastic wrestling background. He is becoming more and more complete, and I'd like to see him fight a top Light Heavyweight next.
Next Fight: Loser of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio Rua
Demian Maia: Maia ended his fight far quicker than I imagined, and truly solidified his name on the Welterweight ladder. He submitted Story with ease, something no one in the UFC was capable of doing before. With two straight wins, it's time he challenges the big dogs of the division.
Next Fight: Jon Fitch
Rick Story: Story hit a massive roadblock in the form of Maia. The talented wrestler was taken out in minutes by the BJJ ace, and will look to rebound and prevent a pink slip his next fight out.
Next Fight: Erick Silva
Rony Bezerra: Rony went toe to toe and blasted his opponent to secure another UFC victory. Bezerra showed off heart and chin in the fight, and kept the pace aggressive to make his opponent tire. I definitely would love to see him challenge Brandao in what would be a war!
Next Fight: Diego Brandao
Gleison Tibau: One of the biggest Lightweights in UFC history once again scored a three round decision win. Tibau is a perennial Lightweight contender, and a match against Danzig or Gomi would not only be a fresh fight, but one that can make a contender for 2013.
Next Fight: Winner of Mac Danzig vs. Takanori Gomi
Francisco Trinaldo: Failing to capitalize on the success of his UFC debut, Trinaldo was topped by the massive Tibau. A fight with another fighter who carries the same one win, one loss record makes sense.
Next Fight: Reza Medadi
Diego Brandao: Aggressive Brandao took home a victory and returned to the win column. The "TUF" alum has gained steam with the win, and a Featherweight showdown between him and Rony "Jason" would be fireworks!
Next Fight: Rony Bezerra
Sergio Moraes: Moraes channeled the vibes of his Brazilian fans and took home a submission win over fellow "TUF" contestant Forte. With the first win in the books, Moraes will look to bigger challenges at Welteerweight.
Next Fight: Winner of Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago
Chris Camozzi: Camozzi sent Cane packing with a three round decision win. Camozzi has rarely appeared on televised UFC shows, and with another win, it may be time to give the fighter the spotlight in what could be a "Fight of the Night" against Maldonado.
Next Fight: Fabio Maldonado
Cristiano Marcello: Marcello squeezed out a win, and made his first official UFC win in the process. I'm still waiting on a signature performance, and it could happen against someone like recent winner, Volkmann.
Next Fight: Jacob Volkmann
Reza Medadi: Medadi was on the wrong end of a split decision loss. Having shown finishing ability and taking this very close loss, I am sure we will see this fighter back in the UFC in 2013.
Next Fight: Francisco Trinaldo
Thank you all for the continued support. The last set of "Fight Predictions" went incredibly well, as I went ten out twelve correct. So stay here for the best in MMA predictions, and don't hesitate to add me on Facebook at Steven Dumeng.