UFC Fight Night 48 and 49 were live this past Saturday (August 23, 2014) from Macau, China and Tulsa, Oklahoma for another UFC double-header featuring a combined 21 fights and 12 finishes. With the event in our rear-view, here are my matchmaking predictions for some of the competitors of the evening… All-Welterweight Edition Tyron Woodley vs Matt Brown I think this would be the match-up to make for both welterweights. It makes perfect sense and is undoubtedly a recipe for fireworks. Brown is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Robbie Lawler just a month ago, while Woodley is coming off a first round TKO of “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim at this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 48 in China. Woodley went into that bout against Kim, who was on an impressive winning streak, while he was coming off a loss; in this bout, he would be the fighter coming off a win taking on the guy coming off a loss. I feel this fight would serve best as a five round main event and think it would be a great fit as the headliner for UFC Fight Night in Austin this November. Regardless of how long this one lasts, rest assured it will keep fight fans on the edge of their seats. I believe this to absolutely be the best possible pairing for both 170-pounders, so I hope Joe Silva books this one pretty soon. Jordan Mein vs Kelvin Gastelum This would be a pairing of two of the youngest, up-and-coming talents in the UFC’s 170-pound division. Mein is only a couple of years older than Gastelum but has a world of cage experience more than The Ultimate Fighter season 18 winner. However, Gastelum is still undefeated and getting better with every fight. I think this would be a phenomenal match-up for Joe Silva to book and would be thrilled if he does. I am a fan of both of these welterweights and wouldn’t like to see either of them lose, but this potential match-up is just too good. I would be excited for this one and wouldn’t dare miss it. This scrap would be the perfect fit as the co-main event for the aforementioned UFC Fight Night in Austin this November. Neil Magny vs Ryan LaFlare Magny has been red hot in 2014, going on a four-fight winning streak, and LaFlare has been impressive in his own right, going 4-0 inside the Octagon and is an undefeated 11-0 as a pro. Both of these welterweights are on fire and tremendously talented and think pitting them against each other inside the Octagon would prove to be a solid move. They are both hungry fighters who are always looking to fight, and more importantly, to win. It is also worth mentioning that they are both native New Yorkers. Both of these 170-pounders are constantly improving; as long as LaFlare has recovered from the injury that sidelined him from his co-main event bout against Gunnar Nelson, I think this would be the right time to book this fight. This is another welterweight scrap that would be a great fit for the aforementioned UFC Fight Night in Austin. Ben Saunders vs Lance Benoist I have no doubt this would be an incredible match-up in the UFC’s welterweight division. Both fighters are coming off wins and stylistically, I feel this bout would have a very high chance of being ‘Fight of the Night’-worthy. I normally would not get too excited for either a Ben Saunders or Lance Benoist fight booking, but a Ben Saunders vs Lance Benoist fight booking against each other has me pumped up. Matchmaking truly is form of art in mixed martial arts and certain match-ups frequently reflect that sentiment. I think this fight would be a decent fit for November’s UFC Fight Night in Australia, likely as a featured bout on the preliminary card. Mike Pyle vs Dong Hyun Kim Both of these welterweights suffered early first round knockouts this past Saturday, with Pyle being finished by Jordan Mein at UFC Fight Night 49 in Oklahoma and Kim getting stopped by Tyron Woodley at UFC Fight Night 48 in China just hours earlier. I think this pairing makes plenty of sense and is a match-up I would enjoy seeing. I would not be surprised if this one ends inside the first round, either; I could envision a vicious finish being delivered by either party. If it goes the distance, I feel like it will be an action-packed 15 minutes, though I would strongly favor this one not going over 2.5 rounds. That means the total would probably be set at 1.5 rounds, which would make it a tougher call, though I would feel more confident with the under, as I would favor it to end in the first frame. The loser of this bout would be on a two-fight skid, with one foot possibly out the door; and the winner would be right back in the mix. I think this 170-pound scrap would work as a good fit for the main card of either UFC 182 or UFC 183, both of which will be live from Las Vegas in January 2015.
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