Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jon Jones/Glover Teixeira winner:
Following a second round TKO victory over Jimi Manuwa UFC President Dana White has announced that Alexander Gustafsson will be getting the next Light Heavyweight title shot. If Jones is able to successfully defend his title for a seventh straight time against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172, the highly-anticipated rematch between Jones and Gustafsson will finally take place.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua/Dan Henderson loser:
No, Manuwa didn’t look great against Gustafsson, but not many fighters do. It was Manuwa’s first real step up in competition and it proved to be a bit too much too soon. However, Manuwa is still a very talented fighter and should get another crack at a top ten guy. Rua and Henderson will be headlining UFC Fight Night 28 on March 23rd so the timing works out perfectly.
Michael Johnson vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone/Edson Barboza winner or Jim Miller/Bobby Green winner:
Michael Johnson has another win streak going after a unanimous decision win over Melvin Guillard on Saturday which marks three straight. While he’s not ready to be in a title contender, he has earned a step up in competition.
Both Cerrone vs. Barboza and Miller vs. Green take place next month so the timing works out well. All four men are also in the top 15 at Lightweight according to the UFC rankings, the winner of either of these match ups would be Johnson’s biggest test and put him closer to a title fight.
Melvin Guillard vs. Ross Pearson:
Guillard and Pearson originally met at UFC Fight Night 30 where Guillard was dominate and nearly finished Pearson less than two minutes into round one. However, the fight would be ruled a no contest due to an unintentional knee to the head of a grounded opponent by Guillard. The rematch was set until Pearson had to pull out due to injury, both men still want the fight, make it happen UFC.
Brad Pickett vs. Zach Makovsky:
Brad Pickett had a successful Flyweight debut against UFC newcomer Neil Seery. Pickett was a top guy at Bantamweight and should get a top ten opponent in his next appearance. A guy who makes sense is Zach Makovsky who is a perfect 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Scott Jorgensen and Josh Sampo. Makovsky is currently ranked 10th at Flyweight and a win for either man would put them in the title picture in a shallow division.
Neil Seery vs. Danny Martinez:
Both Seery and Martinez were in similar circumstances in their UFC debuts. Both men were riding four-fight win streaks outside of the UFC and both would be outmatched against top level opponents in their UFC debuts. Put the two in the cage together with the probability of the loser getting cut.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Mike Pyle or Rick Story/Kelvin Gastelum winner:
Okay, Gunnar Nelson is 12-0-1 (3-0 UFC) and has proved that the lower-level competition is easy work for him. Now it’s time to give him higher-level competition, but not feed him to the wolves.
The UFC rankings have Pyle ranked 13th, Story 14th and a win over Story would likely put Gastelum in the top 15 as well. Any of the three would be perfect to see how good Nelson is and the timing works out perfectly as Pyle fought at UFC 170 just over two weeks ago and the Story/Gastelum match up takes place next Saturday at UFC 171.
Omari Akhmedov vs. Albert Tumenov:
Both of these men were riding impressive win streaks until falling short in recent bouts. Akhmedov and Tumenov are relatively unknown and are coming off losses, put these two Russian fighters in the cage together on an under card for a war.