With the dust now settling on last weekend’s UFC 108 card, what comes next for the fighters who emerged victorious in the main card bouts?
No prizes for guessing the next opponent for Rashad Evans. We have known for some time that a showdown with his fellow TUF 10 coach and arch-rival Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson was on the cards if he could get past Thiago Silva, and indeed he did just that.
The fight is now expected to take place on May 1st at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada. The card is already set to feature the light heavyweight title rematch between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, which would lend credence to the idea that that by the end of the event we would not only know who the undisputed LHW champion is, but also who will be the next contender.
Paul Daley’s future after his KO win over Dustin Hazelett is also fairly well mapped out. According to Dana White either Josh Koscheck or Jon Fitch could well be his next opponent. Daley has also mentioned Thiago Alves as another fighter he would be eager to square off against next.
Of the three names in the hat Koscheck is the one Daley is most likely to face next since Alves and Fitch are currently being lined up for a rematch at UFC 111 in March. On his twitter account Koscheck has confirmed his interest in the bout, stating, “PD fight would be great. I would love that fight next.”
The future is less clear for Sam Stout who impressed in his ‘Fight Of The Night’ performance against Joe Lauzon. His fight at UFC 108 was originally scheduled to take place on the undercard, but injuries saw it promoted to the televised portion of the card, and he took full advantage of the situation.
With an octagon record of 4-4 it would perhaps be unwise to throw Stout in against the divisions top talents, but there’s plenty of options for Stout now as he looks to firmly establish himself in the upper half of the lightweight division. Cole Miller, who also claimed a victory at UFC 108, would be a solid opponent. TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson could also be a fun fight, and in reserve there is always a rubber match with Spencer Fisher to consider.
Another solid lightweight prospect Jim Miller shone in the main card spotlight at last weekend’s event. While it would seem logical to pair up Miller with Stout next, I believe that Miller is further up the pecking order with just one loss (to top contender Gray Maynard) in six UFC fights.
Miller was originally scheduled to face Tyson Griffin at UFC 108, and when he was forced to pull out Sean Sherk briefly stepped in before falling victim to the injury curse himself . Either of those opponents would be a fitting opponent for Miller next. Clay Guida is another option that sounds appealing at this stage.
Junior Dos Santos proved beyond doubt that he is the real deal with his first round TKO of dangerous striker Gilbert Yvel, taking his UFC record to 4-0. Under normal circumstances the Brazilian would surely now be facing a top contender next, but unluckily for him they are all otherwise engaged with Nogueira Vs Velasquez and Mir Vs Carwin already scheduled to fight in the coming months.
Emerging relatively unscathed from his encounter at the weekend it’s unlikely that Dos Santos will be kept on the sidelines for long. He was originally slated to fight Gabe Gonzaga at UFC 108 and that’s a fight that still makes sense. Otherwise Paul Buentello or Cheick Kongo could suffice as stopgap opponents. Recent TUF 10 winner Roy Nelson could also be considered as a wildcard choice.