Fights To Make After UFC on FX 1

By Raphael Garcia

Finishing fights was the theme of UFC on FX: Guillard versus Miller, as eight of the ten fights were completed without the need for the judges’ scorecards. While the card may not have featured all of the biggest names of the sport, the winners from the evening can now expect future matchups that will not only give them opportunities to further their careers, but provide exciting fights for the fans.

Jim Miller vs. the winner of Anthony Pettis/Joe Lauzon

Jim Miller survived a violent onslaught at the start of his fight against Melvin Guillard to take advantage of his opponent’s number one weakness and finish the fight by a rear naked choke in the first round. Miller was once riding a seven-fight win streak before he was knocked off course from the lightweight title shot that he believed he earned a long time ago. With this win, he has found a way to place himself back in that hunt.

Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon are two fighters who closed out 2011 making a run towards the 155-pound title. Now they are set to face each other at UFC 144 in Japan. While this fight isn’t a number one contender’s fight, it’s a certainty that the winner will have placed himself in position for a potential title shot in 2012. I would like to see the winner of this fight have to go through Miller before being considered the number one contender for Frankie Edgar’s crown. Either fighter poses an interesting matchup for the AMA standout.

For Lauzon to have success against Miller he would have to be in top physical condition going into the fight. His main advantage would be in the standup department, as we have seen him use crisp and accurate strikes to control and stop opponents in the past. While he is a potent grappler with stellar submission abilities, I do not believe he would want to go against Miller’s technique on the ground. As we have seen in the past, Lauzon has been known to gas out during a fight and leave himself vulnerable to a submission.

Pettis is a creative and very active striker who would pressure Miller around the cage while attacking from a number of different angles. The question in this fight, however, would be what would happen once things hit the ground. Pettis is very active off his back, as he proved in his bout against Clay Guida. But it would be interesting to see whether Miller would be able to use the openings that would be created by that activity to catch Pettis in a submission, or if he would be unable to find a position of control.

I believe that Miller would be able to defeat either Lauzon or Pettis, but the fight against the WEC transplant would be much more interesting and tough for the New Jersey native.

Josh Neer vs. Charlie Brenneman

The welterweight division finds itself in a bit of disarray, as fighters hectically scramble to position themselves while the current champion Georges St. Pierre is out of action for an extended period of time. While Charlie Brenneman once had a position near the top of those rankings, he now finds himself under the pressure of having to work his way back up. Along with him is the returning Josh “the Dentist” Neer, who has been away from the Octagon for a little more than two years. The two welterweights were successful in their fights at UFC on FX, and I would place them against each other in the coming months.

Neer is a potent striker, while Brenneman has shown wrestling abilities that can be used to hold down nearly anyone in the 170-pound weight class. At the same time, they are both weak in other areas, and have to develop in those areas before they are able to deal with the upper echelon of the sport.

When I look at this potential bout, I believe that Neer would be the favorite when you take their skills into consideration. Brenneman is a technical wrestler, but when he moves in to set up his takedowns he leaves himself susceptible to accurate striking. Neer is the exact type of fighter who would pose problems for “The Spaniard,” as he would be able to land if he can stay within his range and work his Muay Thai. However, the moment that Brenneman is close enough to secure a takedown the fight is going to the ground, so Neer must do all he can to avoid that situation.

If the UFC matchmakers decide to put these two individuals together, I see Neer coming out on top by a technical knockout.

Pat Barry vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Pat Barry had to avoid numerous submission attempts before he was able to drop Christian Morecraft for the first round finish. Barry is an entertaining heavyweight who has created a big following in MMA. However, he has not been able to secure the big win to place himself at the top of the heavyweight heap. If I was the UFC matchmaker, I would bring in the former Strikeforce heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov to test Barry and breathe some new life into the division.

Kharitonov may not be a name that many mainstream fight fans will recognize, but he is an experienced fighter who has shown the ability to finish fights. He poses a stout test for Barry, or any other fighter in the Octagon, because he has the ability to knock his opponent out, or finish through a submission.

This matchup would be a great debut for the Russian because Barry would stand in front of him and trade blow for blow. Once that occurs, I can see Kharitonov using his striking abilities to put Barry down in highlight reel fashion just as Cheick Kongo did before him. A Kharitonov-Barry fight would be a big fight for the heavyweight division and entertaining at the same time.

UFC on FX was a big step for the organization, which is looking to take over mainstream television in the coming years. While this event wasn’t carried by the big names of some Spike or Pay per View cards, the show was still entertaining enough to potentially catch the attention of mainstream sports fans. The victors can now enjoy their time off, and look forward to the fights to come.

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