Armchair Matchmaker: UFC 220 and Bellator 192 Aftermath

UFC 220 and Bellator 192
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 20: Stipe Miocic celebrates after his unanimous-decision victory over Francis Ngannou of Cameroon in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This past weekend showcased some exciting MMA fights. Plenty of knockouts, submissions and tightly contested decisions have caught the attention of the MMA world. While those who won celebrate and those who lost go back to the drawing board, fans want to know: what’s next? Armchair Matchmaker takes a look at some potential match-ups that should be made in various promotions in the UFC 220 and Bellator 192 aftermath, among other promotions.

Main Card

Main Event: Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez (UFC heavyweight championship)

Velasquez was considered the greatest heavyweight of all-time for a good stretch of his career. Whether or not you agree, that has changed last night. Miocic set the record for consecutive UFC heavyweight title defenses at three when he dominated Francis NGannou. Velasquez hasn’t fought since July of 2016, but not many other match-ups make sense for Miocic. A rematch with former champion Werdum makes sense as well, but fans seem to want to see the fresh match-up in Velasquez.

Co-Main Event: Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson II (UFC light heavyweight championship)

Cormier exorcised the demons from July when he retained his title in a dominant TKO victory over Volkan Oezdemir. Cormier didn’t see it as a title defense (“#AndNewAgain”) but rather earning the belt once again. Either way, “DC” is the light heavyweight champ. Currently, no other match-up makes sense other than a rematch with Gustafsson. Cormier edged out the Swede in a split decision at UFC 192 back in 2015 for his first title defense. Gustafsson is 2-0 since then with wins over Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira and is the next in line.

Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima II (Bellator welterweight championship)

MacDonald edged out Lima for a unanimous decision win at Bellator 192. He claimed Lima’s welterweight title, and at long last won gold in a major promotion. However, the fight was extremely close. Fans don’t like seeing title rematches right away unless under special circumstances. The fact that Lima was the champion and given how close the bout was should qualify. Not to mention, it was arguably the best fight of the whole weekend.

Brent Primus vs. Michael Chandler (Bellator lightweight title)

Chandler showed Goiti Yamauchi why he is a two-time Bellator lightweight champion. Chandler picked up a clear unanimous decision win on Saturday night. Scott Coker told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that the winner of Chandler and Yamauchi would draw Primus, the lightweight champ. Primus defeated Chandler in controversial fashion last June when Chandler suffered an ankle-injury during the fight. Given that it’s a rematch Coker wants to make, it seems like it’s now imminent.

Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor Emelianenko/Frank Mir winner (Bellator HW Grand Prix)

Sonnen defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the first round of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix on Saturday. Per the bracket, Sonnen will face the winner of Emelianenko vs. Mir by default in the second round.

Preliminary Card

Quinton Jackson vs. Fedor Emelianenko/Frank Mir loser (Bellator)

“Rampage” got out-wrestled by Sonnen in the opening round of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix. There’s no confirmation that the losers in the Grand Prix will square off, but it makes sense in this scenario. Jackson vs. the loser of Emelianenko and Mir is an intriguing fight that makes perfect sense. It’d be a fresh match-up no matter what, too.

Rob Font vs. Aljamain Sterling (UFC)

Font wooed the crowd with a vicious knockout of Thomas Almeida. Now that he’s back in the win column, he’ll look to move up the bantamweight ladder. Sterling is coming off a bad KO loss to Marlon Moraes, but the bout could still make sense. Especially when there appears to be some bad blood between the two now. Font called Sterling out, and Sterling responded in kind. With the two top-10 bantamweights being down to scrap, why not oblige, UFC?

Calvin Kattar vs. Myles Jury (UFC)

Kattar surprised some when he came out on top against Shane Burgos in a duel of featherweight prospects. Kattar took a savage TKO win in Boston to improve to 2-0 inside the Octagon. Jury himself is on a two-fight winning streak. It makes sense in the rankings, and it’d be a hell of a scrap.

Aaron Pico vs. Chinzo Machida (Bellator)

Pico was impressive once again on Saturday and improved to 2-1. He landed a nasty, rib-shattering body shot on Shane Kruchten (12-4). Machida would be a marginal step-up, and would give Pico a chance to beat someone with some name value. It’d also be interesting to see if Pico opts to strike with Machida, or finally show off his high-level wrestling.

Early Prelims

Gian Villante vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (UFC)

Villante pulled out a split decision win against Francimar Barroso on the UFC 220 main card. When it comes to the light heavyweight division, not much makes sense other than a meeting with “Little Nog.”

Adam Cella vs. Johnny Eblen (Shamrock FC)

Cella got one back when he defeated Coltin Cole in their rematch via standing guillotine. Cella (8-8) is now riding a two-fight winning streak. Eblen is 2-0 as a professional, both wins coming in Shamrock FC’s middleweight division. This fight makes sense for both men; Cella could get another win over an undefeated fighter, while Eblen gets a high-profile fight in the Midwest.

Jordan Dowdy vs. Adam Osmoe (Shamrock FC)

Both Dowdy and Osmoe picked up wins at Shamrock FC 301 on Saturday night. A bout between these two welterweights would make perfect sense for Shamrock. The winner would arguably only be a couple of wins away from a title match.

Corbin Howard vs. Matt Murphy (Shamrock FC)

Howard, a bright prospect for Shamrock, made his professional debut on Saturday. The flyweight aced it with flying colors (honestly, no pun intended) with an armbar win over Zachary Harvey. Shamrock FC CEO Jesse Finney has expressed interest in Howard fighting veteran Matt Murphy (7-8) next. Murphy last competed at Shamrock FC 300 and defeated Joe Mueller. Murphy has competed from 125-145 lbs.

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