What’s next for the UFC on FOX 16 main card winners?

 

UFC on FOX 16 took place live from the United Center in Chicago, IL this weekend on July 25.

In the main event, UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw was successful in his second title defense in a rematch against former titleholder Renan Barao. The Team Alpha Male product dominated the bout from the opening bout till he stopped the Brazilian in the fourth round.

In the co-feature, top women’s bantamweight Miesha Tate handed surging contender Jessica Eye a decision loss to earn another title shot at UFC gold.

Also on the main card, Edson Barboza and Paul Felder’s striking exchange earned ‘Fight of the Night’ honors, but the more experienced Barboza got the better of Felder, and handed ‘The Irish Dragon’ the first professional loss of his career.

Opening up the four-fight main card on “big” FOX was a lightweight showdown between two scrappy veterans, Joe Lauzon and Takanori Gomi. Lauzon proved he still has some gas left in the tank when he submitted the Japanese fighter in the first round.

It’s time for us at MMASucka.com to take the role of matchmaker once again — what’s next for the UFC on FOX 16 main card winners?

What’s next for the UFC on FOX 16 main card winners?

(C) T.J. Dillashaw

Should fight: (#2) Dominick Cruz 

T.J. Dillashaw shut up any haters he had before Saturday night by once again dominating Renan Barao – and this time, stopping him even earlier than the first meeting together.  Now, as a champion with two title defenses, the UFC will match him up with the toughest competition possible. There are two matchups that make sense, but there is one nearly everyone wants to see more. The man who was once the bantamweight titleholder, and the man who never lost his belt: Dominick Cruz. Cruz has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and has only fought once since late 2011. However, last year he returned and destroyed top fighter Takeya Mizugaki, earning a title shot against Dillashaw. However, he once again suffered an injury and is sidelined till early next year. If Dillashaw is willing to wait till Cruz is ready to return, that’s the fight you do. If not, you give Raphael Assuncao the title shot, but the Brazilian is also sitting out currently with an ankle injury. With both fighters deserving of a title shot sidelined, it’s unclear who Dillashaw will fight next. If everything lines up though, we should see Dillashaw vs. Cruz next.

(#2) Miesha Tate

Should fight: Winner of (C) Ronda Rousey vs. (#7) Bethe Correia (UFC 190)

Miesha Tate, despite being in the game for several years and challenging for the UFC title already once, is constantly improving in the striking department and on the canvas. With her dominant win over Jessica Eye in the co-feature of UFC on FOX 16, she has earned herself another shot at UFC gold. UFC officials have already confirmed she will face the winner of Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia – those two square off next weekend. Currently riding a four-fight winning streak, there is no one else at 135-pounds in the women’s division that deserves a shot at the title any clearer than ‘Cupcake’.

(#7) Edson Barboza

Should fight: (#1) Anthony Pettis

Edson Barboza is getting better every day and he proved that against top prospect Paul Felder on Saturday night. This was a very even contest with epic striking exchanges, but Barboza simply got the better of him, landing more strikes. Barboza is nearly a top five fighter and only loses to top fighters like Donald Cerrone and Michael Johnson, so why not match him up with former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Although the matchmaking here doesn’t make the most sense in the world as Pettis is coming off a loss to current titleholder Rafael dos Anjos and Barboza just got back into the winning column, this fight should get scheduled simply for the fans. We saw the spectacular striking exchanges during Barboza vs. Felder, and a bout with ‘Showtime’ would just be as flashy and fun.  Both guys could use a win to engrave their position as an elite 155-pound fighter and get back into title contention, so why not set it up?

Joe Lauzon 

Should fight: Evan Dunham

Joe Lauzon is at a point in his career where he can still win fights in the premier MMA organization, but just cannot compete on the level of top fighters such as Al Iaquinta – we saw that when ‘J-Law’ was stopped by ‘Raging’ this past January. However, Lauzon’s gritty style and toughness has allowed him to have a fairly long career and he still has a bit left in the gas tank.  A guy I’d like to see him fight next is in the same situation – he’s a tough guy who just can’t quite crack into that top 15. And that is Evan Dunham, who’s coming off a big decision win over highly-touted Ross Pearson. In that fight earlier this month, he exploited Pearson on the ground and put on an ugly yet dominant showing. Both Lauzon and Dunham have fantastic ground games with good submission skills, and this fight would likely serve as a war on the ground. Or who knows, maybe they could even slug it out on the feet and put on a ‘Fight of the Night’ contender.

 

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