UFC 99: The Repercussions
With UFC 99 in the book, the introduction of questions regarding the future of certain fighters in the UFC becomes forefront.
Wanderlei Silva lost via unanimous decision to Rich Franklin in their 195 pound bout. Silva seeks to rebound as he enters the UFC middleweight division.
Silva's fight with Franklin was yet another exciting bout for "The Axe Murderer". There can be no doubt that Dana White was once again very pleased, which could land Silva a top competitor in the UFC middleweight division.
With Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping fighting at UFC 100, the timing seems almost perfect for one of those two to fight Silva. If Henderson loses, possibly expect a rematch between "Hendo" and Silva. If Henderson wins, while Bisping would certainly be an option, Joe Silva may find a bout with Patrick Cote or Nate Marquardt a little more mesmerizing to for fans.
Rich Franklin exited UFC 99 with a win, and a couple of career changing options in the light heavyweight division. The likeliest of scenarios for Franklin would be a fight with the up and coming Luiz Cane. A win over Cain would launch Franklin possibly within one or two fights of a title shot.
However, Franklin's options also include Chuck Liddell, or, if he is willing to wait, the winner of Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva. A bout with Jardine, the UFC light heavyweight division's gatekeeper, seems almost a must for Franklin to gain legitimacy in the division.
The heavyweight division is witnessing the rise of one of its own to the top of the ranks. Cain Velasquez, while by no means destroying Kongo in the least, has finally shown what his wrestling can do. While he did win the fight, Velasquez's options are more limited than they would have been if he had finished Kongo in dominant fashion, or any fashion for that matter.
However, Velasquez will still manage to land a fight with a very tough heavyweight contender, most likely Shane Carwin. These two undefeated fighters would probably be set to compete for the next title shot, making this match up highly likely. At this point, no other scenario seems to make near as much sense.
Cheick Kongo, on the other hand, sees himself falling away from title contention after losing to Velasquez after taking the fight on short notice.
At this point, it would seem that Kongo would be best suited to fight a fellow UFC 99 competitor in Mirko Cro Cop. This fight would send one of these two high up the ranks, which makes this pick a very sensible and realistic one.
Heavyweight Mirko Cro-Cop made his return to the UFC well worth it as he managed to defeat Mustapha al Turk via technical knockout.
However, Cro-Cop was a heavy favorite entering this bout, and the UFC may look to test him against harsher competition very soon. Two fighters are brought to mind when debating this: Cheick Kongo and Antoni Hardonk.
Cheick Kongo defeated Hardonk at UFC 97, which leaves the UFC to decide how badly they want to protect Cro Cop. A fight with Hardonk would give Cro Cop a challenge, while not putting him up against someone who would probably enter the fight as a favorite.
However, Cro Cop's urgency to gain UFC heavyweight gold may call for him to take a fight with the dangerous Cheick Kongo. If the UFC wants a guaranteed knockout no matter who the winner is, this fight makes a lot of sense.
In the welterweight division, Mike Swick was set up to battle against untested Ben Saunders. He tested Saunders, and Saunders did not pass. Swick finds himself in a possible match with welterweight contender Jon Fitch, who is likely to get a shot at the welterweight champion, whether it be Georges St. Pierre or Thiago Alves.
However, the UFC may see it fit for Fitch to have to give Swick a chance for the next title shot by squaring these two off in what would be a fight to become the number one contender. Unfortunately, it seems more likely for Swick to have to settle on fighting either Martin Kampmann, or Paulo Thiago, Fitch's next opponent.
For the moment, however, it seems Swick will not likely get a shot at Fitch and his welterweight status.
Another relevant option would Swick fighting Matt Hughes, as the UFC no doubt would love to give Hughes a tough opponent. With a win, either of these fighters would be looking at a potential title shot, something the UFC would be thrilled about.
The UFC welterweight division was taken for another spin as Dan Hardy somehow managed to defeat Marcus Davis on two of the judges' scorecards. This win will gain Hardy respect and legitimacy, likely to be matched up with a top ten fighter in the welterweight division. This one is hard to call, but a matchup with Carlos Condit may actually make sense for the Brit.
Marcus Davis was definitely disappointed in his decision loss to Dan Hardy. However, the fact that the fight was so close prevents Davis from losing much ground to fellow welterweight contenders. At this point, Davis' next match up seems impossible to call. Perhaps he will be matched against Condit, as opposed to Hardy being matched with him. If the UFC wants to mix things up, maybe Ben Saunders will get to try again against a legitimate welterweight opponent.