After a great night of fights at UFC Fight Night 47 – after three long weeks without any UFC action – it’s that time again to step into the shoes of Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and see what’s next for the main card winners from UFC’s debut in the state of Maine. There are plenty of fun fights to be created.
Ryan Bader vs. Anthony Johnson
In the main event of UFC Fight Night 47, Ryan Bader (18-4) dominated Ovince Saint Preux with his wrestling for the majority of the bout to earn his third consecutive Unanimous Decision victory. With this dominating performance, the TUF 8 Light Heavyweight Winner is on the verge of the Top 5 UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings.
Three weeks before, Anthony Johnson (18-4) only needed 44-seconds to knock Antonio Rogerio Nogueira out at UFC on FOX 12. Prior to that fight, he earned an upset in his return to the UFC – fighting 35 pounds heavier – defeating Phil Davis via Unanimous Decision. As a result, “Rumble” skyrocketed up the rankings to become the #5 UFC Light Heavyweight.
Despite the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout being postponed and Alexander Gustafsson waiting next in line, the winner of this classic striker vs. grappler bout could be critical for the division. There’s a possibility for either Johnson or Bader to cut Gustafsson for a title shot. Also, their identical records won’t stop the fight from happening next.
Ross Pearson vs. Michael Johnson
After losing a controversial decision, Ross Pearson (16-7, 1 NC) made sure the judges had no say. He struggled in the first round against Gray Maynard, but managed to figure out “The Bully” in the second, handing him his third straight TKO defeat. “The Real Deal” is 3-1, 1 NC since returning to the Lightweight Division.
Member of the Blackzillians, Michael Johnson (15-8), was set to face Top 3 UFC Lightweight, Josh Thomson, at UFC on FOX 12. Unfortunately, “The Menace” pulled out and was replaced by Bobby Green. The injury cost Johnson a lot since a win over Thomson could have earned him a fight against “Cowboy” as it did for Green. However, Johnson continues to prove he’s one of the best Lightweights in the world, currently riding a 3-fight winning streak.
A potential bout like this would have Fight of the Night written all over it. Most importantly, the winner could easily fight a Top 5 UFC Lightweight next.
Tim Boetsch vs. Thales Leites/Francis Carmont
In his home state and being dominated in the first round by Brad Tavares, Tim Boetsch (18-7) made an epic comeback in the second round, dropping the Hawaiian and pounding him out until the referee stepped in. The crowd was going crazy for the only Maine fighter on the card. This earned “The Barbarian” a Performance of the Night Bonus.
At UFC Fight Night 49 – which is only a week away – two Top 15 UFC Middleweights will be going at it in Tulsa, Oklahoma. #12 Francis Carmont (22-9) will take on #15 Thales Leites (23-4). The winner of this bout should face Boetsch, who is currently ranked #14.
While Carmont is looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, Leites is looking to extend his winning streak to seven. Both fighters would match up great for Boetsch and the winner of this potential fight could easily break into the Top 10 of the UFC Middleweight Division.
Alan Jouban vs. Tim Means
In the Fight of the Night, Alan Jouban (10-2) was rocked and dropped by Seth Baczynski early in the fight before storming back and knocking out “The Polish Pistola”. The former model extended his winning streak to three since losing to current UFC Welterweight, Mike Rhodes, for the RFA Welterweight Championship.
Ever since he was released by the UFC, Tim Means (21-6-1) moved back up to the Welterweight Division. “Dirty Bird” earned two first-round knockouts at Legacy FC and worked his way back to the UFC. Although he lost to Neil Magny in his return, he bounced back in his most recent bout with a win over Hernani Perpetuo. He holds a win over Bobby Green from earlier in his career, as well as Justin Salas and Pete Spratt.
These two welterweights are known for their technical, yet hard-hitting striking. A fight between these two could earn “Brahma” another Fight of the Night Bonus and Means his first.
Shawn Jordan vs. Josh Copeland
With his time in the UFC hanging by a thread, Shawn Jordan (16-6) bounced back from two first-round knockouts to Gabriel Gonzaga and Matt Mitrione to ground n’ pound Jack May in the third-round for the victory. He is now 4-3 with that performance, all four wins ending via TKO, which includes a 59-second TKO over kickboxer, Pat Barry. Prior to entering the UFC, “Savage” held wins over Lavar Johnson and Derrick Lewis.
Last week, the UFC signed Josh Copeland (9-0). In his first and last fight with RFA, he defeated Jan Jorgensen to become the promotion’s first Heavyweight Champion. “Cuddly Bear” remains undefeated in his young professional MMA career. He is a product of the Grudge Training Centre, home to Nate Marquardt, Neil Magny, and Justin Gaethje.
With both of their last fights being Fight of the Night material, matching Jordan and Copeland up next would make some noise in the UFC Heavyweight Division.
Thiago Tavares vs. Cole Miller
In his Featherweight debut, Thiago Tavares (19-5-1) submitted Robbie Peralta – who defeated TUF: Brazil Featherweight Winner, Rony Jason in his last bout – to earn a Performance of the Night Bonus. He has compiled a UFC record 8-5-1 since joining the promotion in 2007. He holds notable wins over Spencer Fisher, Sam Stout and Manny Gamburyan.
Another good test at 145 lbs. would be Cole Miller (21-8). He was scheduled to fight Conor McGregor at UFC Fight Night 46. Unfortunately, a hand injury pulled him out. Now that McGregor is in the Top 10 and scheduled to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 178, Miller may not have another opportunity at “Notorious” next.
Both Tavares and Miller are known for their ground game, which makes for a great technical bout. With both fighters being on 2-fight winning streaks, it would be more than fitting for these 20+ fight veterans to meet in the Octagon.