After another superb UFC card in Brazil, former number one contender to the welterweight title Jake Shields earned a split decision victory over fellow grappler Demian Maia.
With another event wrapped up, here are a few fights that Dana White, Joe Silva and Sean Selby should consider in the next coming months.
Jake Shields vs Dong Hyun Kim
The main event winner matched up against the co-main event winner. Shields showed improving stand up against Maia, throwing more combinations and head kicks in order to set up his clinches and take downs.
It was back and forth, however Shields' grinding attitude which he showed against Dan Henderson saw him have his arm raised. Kim on the other hand, looked super impressive against Erick Silva, showing how good his judo and top control is and displayed devastating KO power to finish the Brazilian
This fight would virtually put the victor in the driving seat in the division and indefinitely set up a number one contenders bout. It would be a test for both fighters - they portrayed excellent top control, however who would be the one who could gain advantage is the question.
The 'Stun Gun' would love a rematch with Carols Condit and a victory over Jake Shields would virtually ensure this if all goes to plan. As for Shields, he wants to gain himself another shot at GSP and prove that the first fight was not a fluke and he can dethrone the long time champion.
Demian Maia vs Jake Ellenberger
Two fighters who very nearly sealed themselves as the number one contender to Georges St. Pierre's title. Maia didn't put a bad performance in at all against Jake Shields. He showed that he can compete with the best in the division and makes a case for winning the fight.
Ellenberger hasn't looked bad lately either. He's fallen at the last hurdle before, very nearly gaining himself a number one contenders fight, after the loss to Martin 'The Hitman' Kampmann and then to Rory McDonald.
This fight would really test each others' weaknesses. Ellenberger has tool that is the Brazilian's kryptonite - punching power. Maia possesses where 'The Juggernaut' has never been tested - on the mat. It is a classic 'sprawler and brawler' vs grappler and will really determine where each of them belong in the division.
Rousimar Palhares vs Tarec Saffiedine
Successful weight cut, successful first victory at 170lbs. Rousimar 'Toquinho' Palhares displayed he is a force to be reckoned with at welterweight.
He waltzed through Mike Pierce with his vintage leg lock. Strikeforce's last welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine is yet to fight in the UFC. He showed maturity since losing against Tyrone Woodley and his last fight against Nate Marquart depicted this to clinch the title from Marquart in Strikeforce's last ever show.
Either of these could be the dark horse of the division. For me, the pair are already top ten fighters. A dominant victory for Palhares against the Belgin Saffiedine scares his rivals, however another excruciating leg lock win makes fighters wonder if it may be worth them losing their leg with the Brazilian having a tendency to 'make sure' he gets the tap.
Saffiedine on the other hand has to be respected and a win just like the Marquart fight puts him right in the title mix in GSP's division.
Erick Silva vs Martin Kampmann
Two men who come to scrap. Silva displayed good striking in his loss at UFC Fight Night 29 to Dong Hyun Kim. It looked at one point he was going to finish 'The Stun Gun'. However it ended up the other way. Kampmann is currently coming off a KO loss to Carlos Condit and previously a KO loss to current number one contender Johnny Hendricks.
This fight could be in contention for fight of the year. It seems as though Kampmann has taken the gatekeeper role in the UFC, facing top rated guys again and again. Both love to stand and put a show on for the fans. A victory for Silva puts him back in the title, a victory for 'The Hitman' gains him even more respect from his fans and peers.
T.J. Dillashaw vs Brad Pickett
This could too be another entertaining fight. In Dillashaw's fight on October 9 against Raphael Assuncao, he highlighted how much he has improved since going on The Ultimate Fighter. He is a complete fighter from just a wrestler and was very unlucky to not finish the fight by Rear Naked Choke in the first round. Pickett is coming off a loss to Michael McDonald.
In both of their last fights, they both earned 'Fight of the Night' award. If they were to meet, I can't see a reason why they wouldn't compete for this. Dillashaw has been set back but he will continue to improve training at Team Alpha Male with the elite lighter weight fighters there like Joseph Benavidez, Uriah Faber and Chad Mendes.
As for Pickett, he just loves entertaining fights. He's no spring chicken at 35 and wants one crack at the title before he hangs his gloves up. A win for either points them in the fight direction.
Raphael Assuncao vs Eddie Wineland
Since dropping from featherweight to bantamweight, Assuncao has really displayed his potential. His victory against T.J. Dillashaw last night conveyed that he was fighting 10 lbs too high and that 135 lbs is his home. Wineland on the other hand, is coming off his title shot defeat to Renan Barao.
There's not much more that Assuncao can do. He beat Mike Easton who was pegged for big things in the division and now he has done the same to Dillashaw. It's time that Assuncao faced the next level of competition. Wineland feels his TKO loss to Barao was stopped early and will be determined to prove everyone wrong.
Thiago Silva vs the winner of Jimmy Manuwa/ Ryan Jimmo
Silva did what most expected to in Brazil against Matt Hammill, using him virtually as a punch bag for three rounds. Silva is seemingly a 'B' level fighter in the light heavyweight division. Both Manuwa and Jimmo are 205 lbers who are hungry and looking to fight at the next level. A match up between Silva and Manuwa would be an absolute war. Both men love to stand and bang and that's what us fans love too.
Mike Pierce vs John Hathaway
Before his submission loss to Rousimar Palhares, Mike Pierce was on a four fight win streak. This is a set back in his plans but nonetheless he can get himself back up the welterweight ladder.
Hathaway is too is trying to do the same. He hasn't fought in a year however he was slated to fight Erick Silva before getting injured and having to pull out - clearly the UFC rate him. A win for either helps them climb back up the rankings and have a legitimate reason to demand a top ten opponent.
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