UFC 179 went down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this past weekend, with five bouts taking place on the main card.
The main event saw a spectacular title defense by the country’s own Jose Aldo, who triumphed over a much-improved Chad Mendes for a second time following the pair’s duel at UFC 142.
The co-main event, meanwhile, had wrestling maestro Phil Davis put on another grappling showcase as he chain-wrestled his way to a lopsided nod over touted veteran, Glover Teixeira.
Moving down the rest of the main card, Fabio Maldonado got back on the win column with a TKO stoppage of Hans Stringer while Darren Elkins and Beneil Dariush picked up decision victories over Lucas Martins and Diego Ferreira respectively.
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: Beneil Dariush (9-1)
- Who he should face next: John Makdessi (12-3)
A loss in his UFC debut was a bitter pill to swallow but Iran’s Beneil Dariush has since picked up a solid pair of victories. Perhaps the most significant of those wins came on Saturday night against Diego Ferreira when he halted the Brazilian’s win streak, but rest assured Dariush looks like the sort of competitor who might just have a successful helm under the UFC banner.
It wasn’t an eye-catching performance by a long shot. However, at 25, Dariush has ample time to turn heads and certainly has the potential to test the capabilities of the fighters situated in the upper echelon of the Lightweight division.
A bout against Canada’s John Makdessi next would be a solid outing for the 25-year-old. It’s the sort of fight that’ll put Dariush to the test and see if he truly has what he takes to make a mark in the rankings.
- Name: Darren Elkins (18-4)
- Who he should face next: Max Holloway (11-3)
Darren Elkins’ monotonous, grinding style might not be a crowd pleaser but the 30-year-old boasts eight wins in eleven UFC fights; a stat that should not be overlooked.
Simply put, he needs another challenger next.
While there’s without a doubt that Elkins has a potent skill of stifling his opponents, Max Holloway, meanwhile, poses a polar opposite threat.
Holloway is known for his striking traits making this a classic striker vs. grappler match-up, in which Elkins will be heavily favored to win. However, with that said, this is a fight that makes sense for both parties, given their stellar records in the promotion and their stance in the 145-lbs division.
- Name: Fabio Maldonado (22-7)
- Who he should face next: Jan Blachowicz (18-3)
Fabio Maldonado had to weather an early first round storm before marching towards victory via TKO in the second. Questions, however, hovered over the Brazilian’s performance, specifically on his credentials on the canvas.
Naturally, as a boxer, this isn’t the first time Maldonado had been criticized for his ground game. But that doesn’t take anything away from his skills as a fighter. His current four-fight win streak at 205lbs means he is a legitimate threat in the Light Heavyweight division.
After an upset victory over Ilir Latifi in the UFC’s most recent visit to Sweden, Jan Blachowicz could be a stern test next. The Pole has had his fair share of success on his feet and on the ground throughout his career, and with heaps of experience under his belt, Maldonado’s hands will be full in this one.
- Name: Phil Davis (13-2, 1 NC)
- Who he should face next: Ryan Bader (18-4)
Davis and Bader, at one point, were held in high regard by fans and media alike and were labelled as stars for the future. While both fighters are still doing considerably well in their careers, lest the exception of losses to fighters in the upper quadrant, they are still on the right track in their quest to challenge for Jon Jones’ 205-lbs throne.
Both fighters are pretty much mirror images of one another in terms of styles, especially in context of wrestling. The duo have a decorated wrestling career and are still improving in leaps and bounds in the striking department with each fight.
It will be hard to pick a winner between the two but rest assured the victor will take a huge leap into the contenders’ pit and move one step closer to the championship title picture.
- Name: Jose Aldo (25-1)
- Who he should face next: Winner of Cub Swanson (21-5) vs. Frankie Edgar (17-4-1)
An argument could be made for Ireland’s superstar, Conor McGregor, to vie for kingpin Jose Aldo’s throne but that, to me, makes little sense. Yes, McGregor is a great draw and marketing wise, this could be huge for the UFC. However, let’s not forget the 26-year-old is only four fights into his UFC career, and has to make do with a grizzled veteran like Dennis Siver next. Suffice to say, that’s a huge hurdle to contend with.
Additionally, McGregor is a gem for the UFC and it wouldn’t be sensible for the brass to throw him to the best 145-lbs fighter on the planet. And remember, the Irishman has to get past Siver first, which won’t be an easy task despite his odds as a favorite.
Cub Swanson has drawn former champ Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC Fight Night 57, and logically, the winner of that tilt should face Aldo next.
For full UFC 179 results, click here.
*Pictures credit: Ultimate Fighting Championship