After an extended hiatus, the first UFC event of the spring is in the books. In the organization’s first trip to Sweden, fans were treated to a couple excellent knockouts, a ridiculous amount of submissions, and a little clarity in some of the divisions. All in all, it was a solid event for the 6 people who have FUEL TV to have witnessed. Here’s a brief look at what the future could hold for the headliners, and winners from Saturday’s fight card.
-Alexander Gustafsson is ready for a top 5 opponent. While the Jon Jones comparisons are far too premature, “The Mauler” is ready to take a step up in competition. With every single fight, his movement improves, his fight IQ grows, and he makes his opponents look like fish out of water. With Rashad Evans on deck, and Dan Henderson waiting in the background, perhaps it’s time to see how Gustafsson has improved by putting him up against a strong wrestler like Ryan Bader.
-Thiago Silva should have waited for Brandon Vera. Thiago Silva promised he would come out ten times more aggressive than we’ve ever seen him. I don’t know about you, but he looked about ten times as timid as I’ve ever seen him. With Brandon Vera already booked, perhaps a mid-tier light heavyweight could benefit Silva.
-Brian Stann looked as great as he ever has, which, given the circumstances, is incredible. “All-American” said post-fight that he’s hoping to get back in there in late summer. I’d like to see the ever-improving Stann take on the winner of Bisping/Boetsch, although, given his placement in the division, that might be a stretch. If not them, the winner of Palhares vs. Belcher.
-Siyar Bahadurzada didn’t get much time to display his skillset in the octagon, having shown Paulo Thiago how to plank after their first exchange. An impressive performance to say the least, but Siyar needs another bout, perhaps one where he actually gets tested, for us to truly get a grasp of his placement in the division. The winner of Josh Neer/Mike Pyle makes a lot of sense to me, or perhaps Thiago Alves.
-Dennis Siver looked impressive in his featherweight debut. Knowing how well he performed at 155, I have a good feeling about his chances to make an impact in his new weight class. Siver needs to take a step up, but not a giant leap. The German striker would be an interesting opponent for someone like Bart Palaszewski, who just two months ago was close to the top of the division. Another potential opponent is Erik Koch.
-John Maguire’s Gypsy Jiu Jitsu is surprisingly effective. The self-proclaimed pink belt made short work of Jeremy Horn trained DaMarques Johnson, following one of the slickest kimura-armbar transitions I’ve ever seen. Based on the timing and relative division rankings, I could see Maguire taking a step up and facing someone like Claude Patrick or James Head.
-Brad Pickett looked great against Damacio Page. There is absolutely no shame in losing to Renan Barao, so, following his win over Page, I would say Pickett is still very much in the mix in the division. Potential opponents for “One Punch” are Brian Bowles, Miguel Torres, and Michael McDonald, although the latter two may be considerably higher in the division than Pickett right now.
-Other fighters to look out for to make in impact in the next few months are Reza Madadi, who looked fantastic against Yoislandy Izquierdo, Simeon Thoresen, whose submission game is just downright scary, and Francis Carmont, who showed great heart and finished his opponent in dominant fashion.
What do you think? What matches would you me interested in seeing next? And who are you excited to watch going forward following UFC on FUEL 2?
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