UFC 177: What’s next for the main card winners?

And still the UFC Bantamweight champion... T.J. Dillashaw
And still the UFC Bantamweight champion… T.J. Dillashaw

The pay-per-view event was perhaps worth every penny after all.

After being dubbed by the general public as ‘weak’ among other things, UFC 177 concluded with four finishes on a five bout main card.

UFC 177 took place on Saturday night at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.

In the main event, Joe Soto, who served as a last minute replacement for Renan Barao, stepped up to the plate and impressed the masses despite being on the end of a TKO stoppage against reigning Bantamweight champ, T.J. Dillashaw. The bout featured the striking capabilities of both fighters, with Soto showcasing his immaculate head movement and Dillashaw, as always, stealing the show with his trademark footwork and combinations.

The champ eventually downed Soto in the fifth stanza, delivering a neat head kick knockout that sent the former Bellator title holder crashing onto the canvas.

In the co-main event, Tony Ferguson earned a fairly controversial split call over Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo. It was another classic case of takedowns and control versus activity off a fighter’s back and this time, the judges ruled it in favor of the latter, leaving a bitter taste of disappointment in Castillo’s mouth. Before the decision was read, MMA history had suggested Castillo would have gotten his hands raised, mainly because of his top control and takedowns, but it was not to be this time around.

Elsewhere on the card, Brazil’s Bethe Correia and Carlos Ferreira picked up brutal TKO victories, with Yancy Medeiros notching a rare submission choke in the night’s pay-per-view opener.

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!

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YancyMedeiros_Headshot

  • Name: Yancy Medeiros (10-2, 1 NC)
  • Who he should face next: Beneil Dariush (8-1)

While it took Yancy Medeiros more than a year and a quartet of outings to get his first UFC victory underway, it came in scintillating fashion. The Diaz brothers’ affiliate garnered a modified bulldog choke that will be remembered for the ages, leaving fans itching to see him in action once again.

Medeiros’ defeats in the UFC,  have in fact, come against tough opposition in Jim Miller, Yves Edwards and Rustam Khabilov, so a match-up and a win over a UFC newcomer in Damon Jackson was exactly what he needed to get his career back on track.

I’d reckon the promotion will likely give Medeiros a fighter of a similar mold next, and Beneil Dariush might be that person. It’s still early days for the Kings MMA native despite his 2-1 UFC start, and this could be an interesting encounter for both fighters in what will be a classic striker vs. grappler match-up.

CarlosDiegoFerreira_Headshot

  • Name: Carlos Diego Ferreira (11-0)
  • Who he should face next: Jake Matthews (6-0)

Two bouts, two wins, two stoppages – Brazil’s Carlos Diego Ferreira is quickly rising up the ranks and establishing himself as a real force to be reckoned with at 155-lbs. The 29-year-old has been nothing short of impressive in his outings thus far and a step-up in competition might be in order for his next tilt.

After destroying Dashon Johnson at UFC Fight Night 43, Jake Matthews’ ever-improving skills and physical prowess will be a perfect and stern test for Ferreira’s credentials.

BetheCorreia_Headshot

  • Name: Bethe Correia (9-0)
  • Who she should face next: Sara McMann (8-1)

Although UFC Women’s Bantamweight champ, Ronda Rousey, seemingly issued a challenge to face Correia next after the Brazilian defeated yet another member of her now famed ‘The Four Horsewomen’ stable, it wouldn’t be logical for Correia to accept that offer.

Not yet, that is.

The 31-year-old proved once again that she is talented in all facets of Mixed Martial Arts and has what it takes to make it to the top but with that said, a match-up and a win over a highly ranked opponent would be needed to truly cement her position in the upper echelon of the rankings. It would also be a great way to gauge if the Brazilian is indeed ready for the division’s kingpin.

Sara McMann fits that bill perfectly and since the Olympian is looking for a second crack at Rousey too, this match-up would make sense for both parties.

TonyFerguson_Headshot

  • Name: Tony Ferguson (16-3)
  • Who he should face next: Ross Pearson (16-7, 1 NC)

Tony Ferguson improved to 6-1 under the UFC banner after Saturday night and the ‘TUF: 13′ winner looks in pole position to etch his name in the contenders’ pit. ‘El Cucuy’ stated he wanted a rematch with Michael Johnson, his lone loss in the UFC to date, in the post-fight press conference but it’s unlikely the 30-year-old will get his wish given Johnson’s stellar run of late.

Instead, another  TUF winner, Ross Pearson, will give Ferguson a stiff challenge and the type of competition he’s been yearning for.

TJDillashaw_Belt_Headshot

  • Name: T.J. Dillashaw (11-2)
  • Who he should face next: Winner of Raphael Assuncao (22-4) vs. Bryan Caraway (19-6)

Dillashaw continues to draw doubters even after his immaculate performance on Saturday night. The Team Alpha male product is growing from strength to strength with each bout and improved to 7-2 under the UFC flag on fight night.

In short, with a tyrant 7-0 run, Brazil’s Raphael Assuncao would have been the logical choice to fight for the title next but he’s been paired with Bryan Caraway for UFC Fight Night 54 in October. A strong case, however, could also be made for the winner of Takeya Mizugaki versus Dominick Cruz at UFC 178. How ever you see it, the title shot could go to any of the four fighters mentioned though it’s fair to assume that Raphael Assuncao’s terrorizing streak might stipulate the importance of his match-up with Bryan Caraway that bit more.

*For full UFC 177 results, click here.


Follow Thinesh on Twitter (@ThineshJohnMMA), and keep up with the latest MMA news from MMASucka via Twitter (@MMASucka) and Facebook

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