Fights To Make After UFC On Fuel TV 5

By Raphael Garcia

UFC on Fuel TV 5 was a very solid mixed martial arts presentation. Fans were given impressive knockouts, highlight reel submissions, and just about everything in between. With the outcomes of the fights determined, the matchmakers behind the scenes have a number of directions that they can go with the winners of the event.

Stefan Struve vs. Fabricio Werdum

After defeating Stipe Miocic and notching his fourth stoppage win in as many bouts, Stefan Struve has proved that he is well on his way to being considered a true contender at heavyweight. In interviews and press conferences following the bout, he mentioned that Werdum would be a good fight for him next, and that is the truth.

Werdum is a solid veteran that has the resume to either make or break Struve’s run. What is interesting is that in his last few bouts, we have seen a transformation in Werdum that has seen him go from grappling first to showing very solid striking. We’ve seen in the past that Struve has had issues with strikers who can find his chin, so Werdum’s style adjustments could present a problem. He is exactly the type of fighter who would pose the vital questions that Struve needs to answer before being pushed up the ladder towards the more potent fighters in the weight class. This fight would work as a main event on an FX or Fuel card.

John Hathaway vs. winner of Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva

Although he has a 7-1 UFC record, John Hathaway is fighting himself right out of welterweight contention. He fought against a teammate and friend in John Maguire, and the bout was less than stellar. However, because of his record, he should be looking towards bigger fights in the weight class to help push himself towards a title fight. And if he wants to get to that point, a matchup with either Jon Fitch or Erick Silva is exactly what he needs.

Hathaway needs to avoid becoming what Fitch once was: a “boring” fighter who fans often loathed to watch. While that viewpoint wasn’t held by everyone, it still had enough of an impact on Fitch’s career that he never received a second title bout against Georges St. Pierre, despite putting together a lengthy undefeated run. As for Silva, he is a quickly-rising welterweight prospect that fans are interested in seeing compete. He’s finished opponents in stunning fashion since he debuted in the Octagon, and if he defeats Fitch at UFC 153, he will be considered a top ten fighter at 170. A fight between the winner of that showdown and Hathaway could serve as a PPV main card opener.

Dan Hardy vs. Siyar Bahadurzada

Slowly but surely, Dan Hardy is working to rebuild his reputation as an exciting fighter that is worth his roster spot. As we saw with his victory over Amir Sadollah, he is working to patch up the holes in his game, all while staying true to the striking that has made him a fan favorite. To give him another opportunity to provide fans with an action-packed fight, he should be matched against Siyar Bahadurzada on free television.

Siyar has been wrecking fighters with his standup abilities throughout his professional career, with 11 knockouts to his name. At UFC on Fuel TV 2 he dropped Paulo Thiago in 42 seconds with a shot that was stunning to see. Siyar versus Dan would grab attention because this is the type of fight that both hardcore and mainstream fans can get behind. This is another bout that would work as a main card addition to an FX or Fox card.

Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

Brad Pickett pocketed a Knockout of the Night bonus with the way he stopped Yves Jabouin with an uppercut in the first round of their fight. Pickett has been hovering around “gatekeeper” status in the bantamweight weight class, but he still gives fans exciting fights each time out. For his next bout he should be matched with Eddie Wineland, another fighter in the same category.

Wineland is coming off of a knockout victory of his own, stopping Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3. Both he and Pickett are two fighters that press their opponents from start to finish. Wineland is more of a technical striker, while Pickett is more diverse in his skill set. This is the type of bout that would serve well for turning the winner into a fringe contender, and could be a showcase bout on an FX or Fox card.

UFC on Fuel TV 5 was a very strong showing by the UFC, who would love to string together run of fan-pleasing fight cards. Following up on the success of UFC 152, this show from across the pond gave fans something to cheer for as the UFC built towards in the future.

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