UFC 169 on Superbowl weekend is in the books and while the night delivered some promising action, the controversial ending to the Bantamweight championship match-up between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber has got lots of people chatting.
All the preliminary bouts went to a decision and once again, to the dismay of most MMA faithfuls, the judges were the ones taking the spotlight in a few of those match-ups.
UFC 169: What’s next for the main card winners?
You could say the main card, with the exception of the main event of course, quite rightly – lived up to the bill. Barao took charge of settings from the start and scored two knockdowns on Faber, who was forced to turtle up on the second string of exchanges. Barao, with control on top, rained down numerous unanswered punches for ten seconds or so, forcing veteran referee Herb Dean to make an intervention. But Faber protested the stoppage, insisting he showed a “thumbs up” during the tussle, with replays suggesting he actually did. But the decision was final, and Barao’s incredible win streak continued.
Faber, on the other hand, is now 0-6 in his past six championship title fights.
In the co-main event, Barao’s stablemate Jose Aldo displayed another leg kick clinic in his lopsided Unanimous Decision victory over Ricardo Lamas. The Brazilian paced himself throughout the fight and was in control for four straight rounds, before Lamas turned it up a notch in the fifth stanza. It wasn’t enough though as Aldo scooped the judges’ scorecards which read 49-46, continuing his reign as champ with eight consecutive successful title defenses.
Elsewhere on the main card, Frank Mir took another turn for the worst as he fell short against a methodical Alistair Overeem. Ali Bagautinov inserted his name into the contender’s mix at 125-lbs after dispatching John Lineker, and Abel Trujillo went home $125,000 richer after his spectacular come-from-behind knockout victory over former WEC champ, Jaime Varner.
So with that, it’s that time again where we at MMASucka.com play “matchmaker” and derive match-ups that could materialize for the main card winners. Sitting on the matchmaker’s armchair is no easy task by any standards so if your solutions differ from ours, state them in the comments section below.
Let’s get started!
- Name: Abel Trujillo (12-5, 1 NC)
- Who he should contest next: Bobby Green (22-5)
This was the original match-up planned for UFC 169 before Green pulled out due to undisclosed reasons, and was subsequently replaced by Jaime Varner instead. Green has won three in a row in the octagon and with Trujillo looking absolutely ruthless and fantastic in that come-from-behind showing against Varner, this could be a spectacular match-up at 155-lbs.
- Name: Ali Bagautinov (13-2)
- Who he should contest next: John Dodson (15-6)
The Russian Sambo champ has scooped three wins on the trot and with his latest triumph coming against a top contender like John Lineker, it would make sense to have him paired up against a top three Flyweight next. John Dodson fits that bill perfectly. As Joe Rogan aptly stated about how Demetrious Johnson is a step above the rest in the 125-lbs division, it would only be fitting for Bagautinov to face a former title challenger like Dodson first, before he makes his claim for a shot at the strap.
- Name: Alistair Overeem (37-13, 1 NC)
- Who he should contest next: Stipe Miocic (11-1)
This match-up was practically decided in our “What’s Next” piece for UFC on FOX 10. Miocic has shown he can hang with some tough talents with his wins over Roy Nelson and most recently Gabriel Gonzaga. To make his move to the upper echelon of the heavyweight division, a big-name opponent will need to be beaten, and Alistair Overeem will be a picture-perfect foe. Of course, the Dutchman will be heavily favored and you could argue about the logic behind this match-up. But remember folks – MMA isn’t always about odds. Travis Browne and Antonio Silva made that vividly clear.
- Name: Jose Aldo (24-1)
- Who he should contest next: Anthony Pettis (17-2)
This match-up has to happen simply because Aldo has pretty much beaten all the pool of contenders tasked in front of him in the 145-lbs division. In fact, Aldo-Pettis was the scheduled headliner for UFC 163 in August last year, before Pettis was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury. It would make perfect sense to have this super fight take place sometime soon.
- Name: Renan Barao (32-1, 1 NC)
- Who he should contest next: Dominick Cruz (19-1)
While T.J. Dillashaw remains a viable option to face Barao next, he just hasn’t faced any top contenders to merit a title shot. The only sensible match-up for the Brazilian right now would be for him to face Dominick Cruz, who happens to be nursing another injury following a three-year layoff. Barao has looked majestic in all his outings thus far and with Faber yet again falling victim to the 26-year-old, only Cruz, as it stands, has a shot of possibly dethroning the 135-lbs champ.
*Pictures credit: Ultimate Fighting Championship