UFC 154 has come and gone and admittedly things didn’t go exactly as I predicted they might. Such is often the case with MMA though, as it’s one of the toughest sports to predict. But luckily for me there’s another card in only a few short weeks and another chance to right the ship of my predictions. And for the fighters that competed on the main card there’s always looking forward to their next bouts. Let’s take a look at what happened and who they should be battling inside the octagon next.
Featherweight Bout: Pablo Garza defeated Mark Hominick via Unanimous Decision
Hominick came out from the opening bell aggressively, something that’s cost him in the past before. Hominick isn’t a kill-shot puncher, that’s not his game, he’s a more refined striker than that, apparently in preparation for this bout, no one told him that. Instead of striking from a distance and allowing his more technical skills to earn him the bout, Hominick went chasing after Garza and paid for it several times. The end result left his face a bloodied and swollen mess and allowed him to be outstruck by a fighter with significantly less striking skills than himself.
What’s next for Garza? Beating Hominick isn’t as impressive as it was when Jose Aldo did it, but it’s still a win for someone who was in need of one. Garza’s striking looked a lot better than it has in the past and he still has a well-rounded ground game to go with it. Canadian Featherweight Antonio Carvalho notched a win on the same card and a bout with Garza makes a lot of sense for both fighters.
What’s next for Hominick? There’s a lot of talk about Hominick retiring and that’s probably not a bad idea for him as he hasn’t exactly been impressive in his last couple of fights. Still he’s a talented fighter and he comes to bang, so the UFC will certainly keep him around if he chooses. If he sticks around a fight against Maximo Blanco could be a highly entertaining slugfest to fill out a Fuel TV card.
Lightweight Bout: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Mark Bocek via Unanimous Decision
Rafael dos Anjos continues to impress with his evolution as a fighter. He showed improved cardio and pushed the pace throughout the entire three round affair with Bocek. Although he couldn’t earn a finish dos Anjos’ improved striking left Bocek’s face a battered mess. The Brazilian showed improved takedown defense and managed to keep Bocek from landing any takedowns or really any significant damage of any kind throughout the entire fifteen minutes. He took home a well-earned Unanimous Decision.
What’s next for dos Anjos? A step up in competition certainly. Takanori Gomi looked pretty good in his last win over Mac Danzig but there might actually be a better fight for dos Anjos. Someone who could challenge his improving wrestling skills and should Michael Johnson get by his bout against Myles Jury at UFC 155, I’d love to see a bout between dos Anjos and Johnson.
What’s next for Bocek? Back to the middle of the pack in a very crowded Lightweight division. Evan Dunham is an exciting grappler with decent striking who is always up for a fight. He just lost a close fight to TJ Grant in a Fight of the Night effort and could be a solid test for Bocek on the ground. Book it.
Middleweight Bout: Francis Carmont defeated Tom Lawlor via Split Decision
What happened in this fight? Not a whole hell of a lot. Lawlor imposed his will on Carmont throughout the entire three round affair, pressing the French fighter against the cage and grinding at him with light punches. Although Carmont clearly got the better of the exchanges at a distance, he was taken down several times including multiple times in the second and third rounds. Somehow the judges scored the contest for Carmont, despite him not really controlling the octagon or effectively striking or grappling against Lawlor.
What’s next for Carmont? He got the W here, but that’s about it, and he surely didn’t gain any new fans. His grappling skills still look relatively raw when he’s taken down and he’s fairly inactive against a grinder. Still he’s 4-0 in the UFC, and they’re probably best off to give him a fight against someone who can challenge him. Everybody’s favorite Middleweight ginger just got a No Contest out of a tough fight against Jake Shields and he’s probably a good litmus test for Carmont.
What’s next for Tom Lawlor? He’s entertaining as hell outside the octagon, but his fighting style isn’t always the prettiest. With very mixed results inside the octagon, he could definitely be on his way to a pink slip, but due to the controversial and close Split Decision, my guess is that the UFC gives him one last chance. A bout against Tim Credeur is probably a good stylistic match up.
Welterweight Bout: Johnny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann via KO (Punch) in Round One
What happened in this fight? Again… not a whole hell of a lot, but it was way more exciting than the Carmont-Lawlor fight. After a brief feeling out process, Hendricks lunged in with a right hook that Kampmann mostly blocked, but he never saw the left hand coming behind it. Hendricks drilled him right on the button and put Kampmann out cold instantaneously.
What’s next for Hendricks? This was a supposed title eliminator fight, and with an emphatic Knockout of the Night victory like that it’s hard to think that anyone is going to argue with him getting the next shot at GSP’s title. He’s said he doesn’t want to fight until he gets his shot, so his next bout will be against GSP, although when exactly that might occur is anyone’s guess.
What’s next for Kampmann? He’s shown an ability to take a punch and keep going, but not this time. This is a blow to his hopes at getting into title contention, but a big win over another top fighter should get him back into the proverbial mix. A rematch with Carlos Condit makes some sense, especially since their last fight was so close. I’d like to see him take on someone like Erick Silva myself though.
Welterweight Bout: Georges St. Pierre defeated Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision
It wasn’t as pretty as it has been in the past, and it wasn’t as dominant as the judge’s scorecards made it look. GSP managed to survive a huge scare in the third round after a Condit landed a head kick that rocked the champion and sent him crashing to the mat. GSP managed to score takedowns in every round and controlled the action on the mat from top position. In the first round he opened a huge cut on the side of Condit’s face, which bled out throughout the whole fight. Condit was extremely aggressive from the bottom, attacking St. Pierre with submission attempts, punches and elbows from the bottom. At the end of 25 minutes St. Pierre took home a well-deserved Unanimous Decision but his face was a swollen, busted up mess as a reminder of one of his toughest challenges to date.
What’s next for Condit? Condit gave GSP one of his toughest fights to date and was possibly seconds away from stopping the Welterweight champ and scoring a huge upset. He’s still one of the top fighters in the division. Although he’s been closely linked to a potential bout with Nick Diaz I’d really like to see Condit take on Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is a strong wrestler and we can see if Condit has any new tricks up his sleeve to deal with a dominant wrestler and hopefully he can knockout the Welterweight that everyone loves to hate.
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