Fights To Make After UFC Fight Night 35

By Raphael Garcia

UFC Fight Night 35 was an event where some fighters returned to their winning ways after recent losses, while others continued their slow climbs up the rankings. Looking at the winners from the night, a number of matchups could be made to push them along as 2014 inches forward. These are some suggested next pairings for those who had their hands raised after Wednesday’s action:

Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping

Luke Rockhold shook off the waves from his UFC debut to put away Costas Philippou in devastating fashion. He immediately called out Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping. While the rematch against Belfort is very far off, the UFC should create another rematch of sorts, and place Rockhold into a matchup against the Englishman.

Those unfamiliar with the situation would be interested in hearing about the way that Bisping has taken to the social media “airwaves” to remind Rockhold that he was bested when the two sparred against each other years ago. At the time, Luke was still in Strikeforce and unable to get revenge. Now that the two are “co-workers”, it is time for the UFC to make this fight. Bisping vs. Rockhold has a well-written back story, and the UFC loves to promote events with something other than the potential action in the cage. With the 185-pound division wide open, this is the type of fight that would create a fan favorite out of the winner.

Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping could serve as the main event to a UFC Fight Night event, preferably a card stationed in England.

Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero 

Brad Tavares and Yoel Romero are two middleweights that have shown a lot of promise, but are still ranked outside the top ten of their weight class. That could change in 2014; however, they may have to go through each other to make it happen.

Romero was on his way to losing to Derek Brunson before he found a way to rock his opponent in the third round. The devastating beating that he put on the former Strikeforce competitor saved his winning streak, but showed that he has holes in his game that need fixing. At the same time, Tavares did not look fantastic in his win during the night’s co-main event. He did just enough to hamper Lorenz Larkin and take home a decision victory.

Tavares vs. Romero would allow the winner to stake claim to a top ten position and open up some more captivating fights against the upper echelon of the weight class. Romero and Tavares both have some momentum going into a bout that would best serve as a preliminary bout for a UFC PPV event or a main card opener for a UFC Fight Night.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Takeya Mizugaki

T.J. Dillashaw is in a very peculiar position in the bantamweight division. The Team Alpha Male standout has proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with at 135. However, he may be a step behind the “elite” fighters in the weight class. His loss to Raphael Assuncaocontroversial or not – really took a lot of the wind out of his sails. Coupled with the fact that his teammate, Urijah Faber, has another shot at becoming the champion of his weight class at UFC 169, Dillashaw could find himself the odd man out.

Takeya Mizugaki is a fringe top ten fighter who would pose an interesting challenge to Dillashaw. He’s experienced and aggressive enough to keep the fight captivating, and he’s also in a position where a win would create an immediate contender in the weight class.

Mizugaki vs. Dillashaw could be used to open up a UFC PPV event.

John Moraga vs. Zach Makovsky 

John Moraga and Dustin Ortiz looked very much alike in their opening bout. While some felt that Ortiz did enough to win the fight, Moraga was active enough to get back on the winning track. The former title challenger is a far ways off from returning to a title bout, but he’s still an interesting fighter at 125. Zach Makovsky is a new face in the UFC that could use the strong challenge in being matched against Moraga in the near future.

A former Bellator champion, Makovsky shocked many people when he was able to defeat Scott Jorgensen in his UFC debut. His mix of wrestling and ground work has looked very clean since dropping down from bantamweight. Ortiz showed that Moraga can be frustrated by a fighter with such a skill set, so this is the type of fight that would either create a new challenger in Makovsky or keep Moraga among the elite in the division.

Moraga vs. Makovsky is best served as a main card bout on a Fox UFC card.

UFC Fight Night 35 was all about the middleweight division but featured some good fights across the UFC’s roster. These individuals did more than enough to get their hands raised, and their next challenges in 2014 will help each of them inch further up the rankings ladder.


UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou took place on January 15, 2014 at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.

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