Every time an athlete competes in the octagon, the UFC matchmaking team will take detailed notes on what will be next for each of them. For some, it’s a step-up in competition; for others a similar opponent next or a step down. For the unfortunate few, it may mean the figurative pink slip.
For headlines Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos, Dana White stated a title shot will be next. For (my) co-main event participants Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio, no title shot, but matchups with the likes of Colby Covington, Demian Maia, Jorge Mazvidal, Darren Till or Kamaru Usman in 2018.
Looking down the rest of the UFC on FOX card, I’ll try and keep it as laymen as possible or else I could write a full 50 page essay on what could be at stake for each combatant.
For featherweight Ricardo Lamas - it’s safe to say he simply cannot lose to Josh Emmett. Lamas is a contender at 145 lbs, so he needs to stop Emmett in his tracks.
I’m a very interested observer in the light-heavyweight tilt between Glover Teixeira and Misha Cirkunov. A loss by either party could be a huge setback, but not really. Glover is still a bad man and can be used once again as a gatekeeper to prevent would be contenders from fighting the top guys in the division. But if Misha loses, does that mean the UFC matchmaking team will believe he simply can’t cut it with the top dogs at 205 lbs, considering his last bout was a stunning defeat to Volkan Oezdimer?
Then there is the flyweight bout between Timothy Elliott and Pietro Menga. There are no locks in MMA (or any sport for that matter) but if there was one on this card, I would go with Tim. Here’s a guy who gave ‘Mighty Mouse’ all he could handle, yet in his next bout, was choked out real quick. Simply put, I’m looking for Elliott to bring balance back to the force cause if he cannot … oh boy, not good.
How about that lightweight match-up between John Makdessi and Abel Trujillo? The betting favourite is Trujillo in this fight so with Makdessi coming into this bout winning just two of his last seven fights, one in his last four, and losing his last one … do the math. Is this a must-win for him? And if he loses, will he get cut?
The final bout I’m looking very closely at will be the welterweight scrap between Jordan Mein and Erik Silva. These were two lads who were once considered the future at 170 lbs. Why? They are both young and full of tremendous skill. But they both have accrued a massive amount of MMA mileage.
Mein is on a three fight losing streak. Should he incur a fourth, one could assume the UFC will likely part ways with him. As for Silva, he’s 1-3 in his last four. Is he also fighting to not only win, but to keep his job with the big show?
It’s a jam packed show on Saturday night as I have no doubt in my mind that UFC on FOX will deliver. For the fans, a night of exceptional fights. For some fighters, a happy holiday season. For others, perhaps a new future in 2018 that does not include the UFC.