Fights To Make After UFC 156: The Losers Edition

By Raphael Garcia

Losing is never an easy thing in sports, and that can be even more difficult in mixed martial arts. One fight can set you back so far, and it has been seen time and time again in this sport. UFC 156 gave us another group of fighters looking to reestablish momentum their careers after taking losses, and these fight suggestions would help set them in the fight direction:

Frankie Edgar vs. Hatsu Hioki

Frankie Edgar was derailed in his quest to become the third UFC competitor to hold a title in two weight classes as Jose Aldo kept his hold on the featherweight crown. Edgar, loser of three straight close bouts, now has to decide if he’s going to stay at featherweight, or move back to lightweight and start over there.

Hatsu Hioki is another fighter who is at a perplexing place in his fight career, coming off of a very close loss to Clay Guida at UFC 155. The Japanese athlete was once considered one of the best in the weight class, with technical striking and grappling abilities that are among the best in the division, but he has not been able to fully display those skills in the Octagon. Placing him in a matchup against Edgar would make for a fantastic clash of styles, and give both fighters the opportunity to add a much-needed and vital win to their respective records.

Edgar vs. Hioki should be used as a main card fight for a pay-per-view event.

Rashad Evans vs. Mauricio Rua

Saying that Rashad Evans did not look good against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is the biggest understatement of the night. The wrestling standout refused to use his bread and butter, instead choosing to exchange with a better counter boxer en route to a decision defeat. Evans was planning on putting together an argument for consideration as the next man to challenge Anderson Silva, but that conversation has been cut short.

Now the former champion has to solidify himself in his original weight class. To do so, he should have to defeat another former champion coming off of a bad performance in Mauricio Rua. “Shogun” has not looked great since moving over to the UFC, and now the questions loom about whether he is past his prime. Against Evans, he has the opportunity to either prove that he isn’t done yet, or become yet another PRIDE standout to not live up to his promise in the Octagon.

Rua vs. Evans would best be used as a co-main event for a Fox card, or as the main event for a Fox Sports 2 event.

Alistair Overeem vs. Junior dos Santos 

Alistair Overeem was part of the “Wow” moment of UFC 156 when he was pummeled by Antonio Silva. Now, he should be matched against the athlete he was supposed to face at UFC 146 — Junior dos Santos.

JDS and “The Reem” had been set to fight on the UFC’s all-heavyweight Memorial Day card last year, but the NSAC put a stop to that. Now that Overeem’s loss has knocked him out of the number one contender’s position, he should have to face dos Santos, who is coming off the title loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155, to see which of these fights could become a title contender by the end of the year. The UFC has given fighters title shots after rebounding from losses, so this is the best bet to provide the top challenger to Cain Velasquez in late 2013.

Overeem vs. dos Santos could be used across any platform, but would best be served as a main card bout on a free Fox event.

Jon Fitch vs. the loser of Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit 

For the first time in his career, Jon Fitch was methodically “Jon Fitched,” as Demian Maia wasted no time taking down the AKA standout and outgrappling him over the 15 minutes of their contest. Maia proved that he is a true threat at welterweight, and Fitch was left shaking his head in frustration and wonder.

Now, a fighter who was considered the second best at 170 now has to find a way to rebuild. While he will always be a threat to any fighter in the weight class, it will be hard to match Fitch going forward. However, as Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald gear up for their rematch at UFC 158, Fitch should be waiting in the wings to take on the fighter who doesn’t get his hand raised that night. Is Jon Fitch a gatekeeper? No, but he’s no longer in a position to be considered one to two fights from a title shot, and facing another loser who would be in the same boat would be his proper placement.

Fitch against the MacDonald-Condit loser could be used across any of the UFC platforms, but would be best served as a Fox main card bout.

Ian McCall vs. Jussier Da Silva 

Joseph Benavidez beat Ian McCall to the punch every step of the way throughout their bout. Had the Team Alpha Male standout not taken an ill-advised shot, he would have swept the judges’ scorecards towards a decision victory. McCall has struggled in the Octagon, and if he’s going to cement himself as one of the top flyweights in the sport, he should have to face another import into the UFC, Jussier Da Silva.

“Formiga” was trounced by John Dodson when he made his first appearance in the Octagon, and the Nova Uniao fighter isn’t scheduled for another go around at this point. While he was fighting overseas he was considered one of the best competitors at 125, but his debut left much to be desired, and this is the type of contest that would either show that he was just another name caught up in the Octagon Jitters, or that he’s another foreign fighter who wasn’t ready for competition with America’s top fighters.

McCall vs. Da Silva would work for any of Fox’s platforms.

In the world of mixed martial arts, a loss can set you back quickly. These fighters have to find a way to regroup and get back into the win column, and these are some fight suggestions that could help steer their careers toward where they need to go.

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