UFC on FOX 15 took place from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ this weekend on April 18. It looked like the best free card of 2015 on paper, and it definitely delivered.
In the highly anticipated headliner, middleweight contender Luke Rockhold stopped former champ Lyoto Machida to prove he’s one of the best at 185-pounds.
What’s next for the UFC on FOX 15 main card winners?
In the co-feature, Ronaldo Souza extended his winning streak with a first-round submission win over late replacement Chris Camozzi.
Also on the main card, featherweight contender Max Holloway picked up his biggest win to date, stopping the UFC veteran Cub Swanson in the third round via submission after two-rounds of entertaining stand-up.
Opening up the main card was an important women’s strawweight bout between two top ten fighters, Paige VanZant and Felice Herrig. The Team Alpha Male product dominated the veteran in Herrig from start to finish, picking up a dominant decision win.
It’s time for us at MMASucka.com to take the role of matchmaker once again — what’s next for the UFC on FOX 15 main card winners? Let’s get right to it.
Who he should face next: Winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort (UFC 187)
Luke Rockhold proved on Saturday night that he is one of the best middleweights to step into the Octagon. He demolished a top contender and experienced former champ in Lyoto Machida, and really showed off all of his skills in less than 10 minutes in the headliner. Champion Chris Weidman defends his belt for the third time against Brazilian Vitor Belfort at next month’s UFC 187, and I believe Rockhold has leapfrogged ‘Jacare’ Souza and deserves the winner of that for the title. Either matchup would be intriguing for different reasons. Weidman vs. Rockhold could headline a New York City show at the end of 2015, and on the otherhand Belfort owns a win over Rockhold so the American Kickboxing Academy product would be looking to get revenge and even it up.
Who he should face next: Thales Leites
Ronaldo Souza was expected to fight Yoel Romero in what would’ve been a closer bout than what went down on Saturday night. ‘Jacare’ squared off with Chris Camozzi for the second time, and essentially mirrored the first meeting, by submitting Camozzi in the first round. Souza had nothing to gain in this outing because he, the No. 1 ranked middleweight, was fighting a non-ranked fighter. There aren’t too many options for him because he does indeed deserve a shot at the belt, but it’s unlikely he’ll get it because Rockhold likely leapfrogged him in the title picture, like I said above. So, enter a rising star in Thales Leites. The Brazilian has looked unstoppable in his second UFC tenure which includes stoppage wins over Tim Boetsch and Francis Carmont. The top 10 middleweight does deserve a step up, and Souza vs. Leites could headline a ‘Fight Night’ card.
Who he should face next: Chad Mendes
Max Holloway picked up his biggest win to date against Cub Swanson on Saturday night, stopping him in the third round by submission. After beating Cole Miller in February, he deserved a step up in competition and got one against ‘Killer Cub’, and proved he’s a force to be reckoned with. Now that he is labeled a contender he is likely one fight away from getting a title shot in the stacked 145-pound division, and the man standing in his way is No. 1 ranked Chad Mendes. ‘Money’, despite already losing twice to champ Jose Aldo, has remained in title contention because he came very close to beating the titleholder in the rematch. Mendes vs. Holloway would definitely be a No. 1 contender’s matchup, with the winner getting a title shot.
Who she should face next: Maryna Moroz
You could argue that Paige VanZant will get a title shot after a dominant win over Felice Herrig, because she is hyped up and the UFC may want to rush her. I don’t think that should be the case, however, but she does deserve a top caliber opponent that will get her very close to a shot at champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Maryna Moroz picked up a huge upset win earlier this month at the UFC’s Poland show, submitting big favourite Joanne Calderwood in the first round. Moroz could also be rushed into a shot at UFC gold soon because of her big win and “beef” with Jedrzejczyk, but neither fighter should be. So why not fight each other? They both want that title shot, but their careers are still young, so match ’em up.