This past Saturday, the UFC successfully debuted in Glasgow, Scotland, with the event headlined by Michael Bisping and Thales Leites. Bisping topped the resurgent Brazilian with a close decision, giving him his first winning streak since December 2011. With Bisping one of the most polarizing fighters in the middleweight division, there are a plethora of match-ups for him.
UFC Fight Night 72: Next Fights For Main Card Winners
Here is who Bisping should fight next, as well as potential match-ups for the rest of the victors on the main card.
Should Fight: Vitor Belfort
Some rematches are made in haste, and the potential for a great rivalry is lost in the immediacy of the moment. For Bisping and Belfort, none of the importance in a second go around would be lost. The dislike is there for both sides, and with a more stringent drug testing policy in place, a real sense of where the either fighter stands in the division could be gleaned here. Another aspect to be considered, both men are perennial contenders in the division and a win over either would put the victor that much closer to the gold. For Bisping, a shot at redemption and a step closer to the gold are his incentive; for Belfort, a chance to prove his knockout of Bisping was no fluke (or result solely of testosterone replacement therapy).
Evan Dunham & Joseph Duffy
Should Fight: Each Other
These two men both picked up victories this past Saturday, and both men should meet each other in their next bout. Both are riding two fight winning streaks in the Octagon, and both are searching to keep their momentum continuous. For Dunham, a wealth of Octagon experience and dashed title aspirations (and expectations) have moved him into a bit of lightweight measuring stick. If you can beat him, you will be in the title picture. If not, don’t hold your breath. On a two fight win streak, a win over the man who beat Conor McGregor certainly wouldn’t hurt his stock.
For Duffy, this is the perfect test at this stage in his career. A win over seasoned, dangerous veteran such as Dunham could provide either a jump into Top 15 competition. A loss wouldn’t be the end of the world; Duffy is only 27 and has a ton of potential to seize upon. This match-up seems like a no-brainer.
Should Fight: Bec Rawlings
Let’s make the fight that injury prevented. Both women are 1-1 in their last two, and both are veterans in the 115lb division. Calderwood won an exciting, if slightly one-sided decision, against game late replacement Cortney Casey. Rawlings last defeated Lisa Ellis at UFC Fight Night: Miocic vs. Hunt in May. Barring any further injuries, this fight should be made to determine who moves closer towards the strap, and who moves to the back of the line.
Should Fight: Nicholas Dalby
Leon Edwards started off his UFC on a bit of a stumble, dropping a split decision to Claudio Silva, but in subsequent bouts he’s shown flashes of brilliance on the feet. He blasted journeyman Seth Baczynski in an eight second knockout, and controlled Pawel Pawlak this past Saturday (and cracked him with a head kick for good measure). He should get another chance to display his striking skills, and against the Dane Nicholas Dalby he should find a willing opponent. Dalby uses his kicks to good effect and won a decision in his UFC debut. Why not put both of those up and coming welterweight strikers against each other?
Should Fight: Joe Proctor
Stevie Ray won a rapid fire shoot out against Brazilian Leonardo Mafra, knocking him out halfway through the first round. Ray is now 2-0 inside the Octagon with two knockouts, and should be matched up with a slightly more experienced opponent. Enter Joe Proctor. The aggressive Joe Lauzon protege would make for a stern test for Ray’s next appearance, and should he pass it, greener pastures await.