Following a huge Fight card the previous week, expectations were understandably lower for UFC on Fox 21 in Vancouver, Canada. Even so, the promotion's most recent effort in the North American nation was filled with spectacular knockouts and some surprising results.
Here are our suggestions for Joe Silva.
Demian Maia vs. Stephen Thompson/Tyron Woodley winner: Maia may have established his place as the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner in the history of mixed martial arts on Saturday night as he submitted Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit in the main event. Not only did he defeat the former interim welterweight champ, the 38 year old Brazilian also extended his win streak to six. During that time, the former middleweight contender finished three opponents by rear naked choke and three by decision.
As we wrote previously, Matches to Make After UFC 201, the UFC should match newly crowned champion, Tyron Woodley, against karateka, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. However, given the fact that Maia is in the twilight of his career, despite his impressive win streak, we think it is best for the UFC to book the Woodley/Thompson fight by the end of the year. By early 2017, the two-time former ADCC World Submission Grappling Champion should take on the winner. A win would likely propel the 24-6 fighter into the coveted UFC Hall of Fame.
Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway: Like Maia, Max Holloway is also on an impressive win streak, one that started with a loss to current champion, Conor McGregor in August 2013. Unlike Maia, Holloway is just 24 and despite having won his last nine - 6 of them finishes - "Blessed" is in a division with an interim champ, Jose Aldo, who should be facing McGregor next. Matches to Make After UFC 202 If McGregor is to leave featherweight behind as it has been hinted at by some, Holloway should get the next crack at Aldo for featherweight gold.
For the sake of this article, let's assume the Aldo/McGregor match does take place. That's also follow the accepted notion that winners are matched up against winners. Even if the UFC were to go against the trend and set up Pettis against a big name on a losing streak, both BJ Penn and Renan Barao already have bouts scheduled. The option does exist for a Pettis vs. Edgar match at Madison Square Garden.
According to the UFC website, if we take out Aldo, McGregor and Anthony Pettis, who bested Brazilian jiu-jtisu black belt, Charles "do Bronx" by guillotine, this leaves 23 potential fighters. Two of these fighters, Dennis Bermudez and Yair Rodriguez, we matched up earlier after their wins at UFC Fight Night 92. Matches to Make After UFC Fight Night 92 Top ten fighter, Brian Ortega, is expected to take on Hacran Dias at UFC Fight Night 96 on October 1. This leaves three potential fighters with enough name value, experience and talent; Holloway, Jeremy Stephens, and Cub Swanson.
In matching Pettis against Holloway, the UFC would be setting themselves up for two potentially interesting title contenders. In this writer's opinion, Holloway has already proven himself worthy of a title shot, but a win against a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion is something any eager prospect is dying to get their hands on. Holloway vs. McGregor is one of the few interesting rematches out their given Holloway's win streak and questions of whether or not age and lack of experience played a role in his loss to the Irishman. On the other hand, Pettis could potentially put himself on a two fight winning streak against top ten opponents in the division he now calls home.
Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson: Paige VanZant made a big splash with the American general public participating in the hit show, Dancing with the Stars. She followed that up with delighting fight fans with a flying kick knockout of Australian, Bec Rawlings. VanZant's popularity is at an all-time high, and the UFC would be wise to use this popularity in bringing more attention to the female division lacking stars like Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.
The best way to do this would be match VanZant up with an equally appealing opponent in Michelle "Karate Hottie" Waterson. If VanZant or Waterson were to lose against other opponents, you have two marketable fighters on losing streak. Have them fight each other and you have at least one fighter on a win streak. If VanZant were to beat Waterson, she would be on a three fight win streak and a potential contender for the strawweight strap. Waterson, the former atomweight Invicta, champ would be on a two fight win streak with one being VanZant whose fights will be matched in the near future by fight fans and non-fight fans alike.
Sam Alvey vs. Tim Boetsch: What's better than a match up between Smile 'n and The Barbarian? No, it's not a bout between two Street Fighters you never heard of, it's a match up between a fan favorite and a UFC veteran. On Saturday, Alvey took care of Kevin Casey defeating him by TKO and extending his win streak to two. That may not seem like much, but Alvey is 5-3 in the UFC with all but one win by finish. An entertaining fighter with 8 fights under his belt, Alvey needs a step up against a former top ten on the downside of his career. Following a three fight losing streak, Boetsch turned things around in his last fight with a TKO victory against Josh Samman in July. Alvey and Boetsch would be strong main or co-main events for a fight night card in their home states of Wisconsin or Maine, respectively. If the UFC has now plans in scheduling a fight in either state in the near future, the match up, which is sure to end up with one of the fighters unconscious, would be an entertaining bout to open a pay-per-view card.
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