It seem like just yesterday that I would circle the upcoming UFC or Pride FC events on my calendar, counting down the days until I could see the memorable fights spaced months apart – Today, things are a little different, this weekend we didn’t just get one but two events from the global MMA juggernaut .
Friday’s offering took place at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey capped off with Gray Maynard taking a Split Decision over Greg Jackson trained star Clay Guida in a perplexing affair.
On the other side of the globe Brazil played host to the UFC merely hours after the fights concluded in Atlantic City in an event headlined by Rich Franklin overcoming adversity to get his hand raised for the second time against the former Pride middleweight kingpin Wanderlei Silva.
After 23 fights in fewer than 48 hours the UFC brass must be exhausted, luckily for them I’ve just thrown back an energy drink and put on my matchmaker hat as I take a look at the top matches to make after this big weekend of octagon fisticuffs.
Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
Fight fans debated the outcome of the first fight when Rich Franklin got his hand raised against Wanderlei Silva but this time there weren’t questions as he got the nod over the Brazilian bomber controlling most of the affair with crisp, technical striking to get the win on points.
The former UFC middleweight champion is looking to work his way back to the top of the mountain at 185-pounds and right now pairing him up with the fighter he replaced in the evening’s main event would be an appropriate move.
Gray Maynard vs. Anthony Pettis
Gray Maynard wanted to brawl with six-time Fight of the night winner Clay Guida to captivate the capacity crowd in Revel Casino and maybe notch an additional $50,000 but that wasn’t the case in this bizarre affair with Guida constantly moving away from danger for most of the 25-minutes.
Maynard, the owner of the longer winning streak in the history of the UFC lightweight division would like to smash his old record and continue to rack up the wins on his road back to the top – Anthony Pettis would be a great dance partner, he also is an established fighter in the division and likes to put on barnburner fights.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Tim Boetsch/Hector Lombard loser
Everyones favorite Axe-wielding Brazilian was moments away from defeating former 185-pound kingpin Rich Franklin as he floored his pink tighted foe with a straight-right power-punch before pouncing on his prey looking for the finish but ultimately wasting all of his stamina, with a fading Silva Franklin took over and won the rest of the affair.
Silva plain and simple is a fighter and will want to get back in that eight-sided cage whether it’s in Brazil, Vegas or Dana White’s backyard so matching him up with the loser of Tim Boetsch and Hector Lombard will be an interesting fight to test where he still stands in the UFC at 35-years-of-age.
Clay Guida vs. George Sotiropoulos
Clay Guida walked to the cage the ultimate fan favorite, he left being booed vociferously – The ‘always entertaining’ label was stripped from the Greg Jackson product as he ducked, jived and outright ran from Maynard at times over their 25 minute affair.
Right now, he needs to re-assess his fighting style inside the UFC and return to his winning ways following back-to-back defeats, matching him with Australian-born grappling artist George Sotiropoulos who sits in a familiar position would be an interesting fight and put one fighter back on the right track.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt
Fabricio Werdum has always been known for his grappling, the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission grappling champion has also stepped up his muay-thai too battering Roy Nelson from pillar to post in February and now dispatching Chicago police officer Mike Russow in less than a round.
While he won’t be slated at the top of the contenders list for the UFC heavyweight crown just yet he needs to keep adding good, quality high-level names to that resume and K-1 champion Mark Hunt is perfect right now.
Dennis Siver vs. Ricardo Lamas
Ricardo Lamas remained undefeated inside the UFC on Friday, but most importantly he knocked off the number-two ranked fighter at 145-pounds – Hatsu Hioki troubled with a string of submission attempts early but wound spending the last two rounds on the defensive, whether on the feet or when stuck in a nasty looking guillotine-choke.
Lamas upped his profile in the featherweight-ranks ten folds and is a few wins away from championship debates, matching him with top-five ranked German kickboxer Dennis Siver would be a great fight and if he can get past the 33-year-old he will cement his place as a player in the division.