Gabe Killian's Recent UFC Matchmaking Predictions: The WinnersAfter being spoiled with three solid UFC events over the course of eight days, I am left with some possible match-ups to think about, some of which excite me. Here are my matchmaking predictions for some of our recent winners… Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov vs Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone - Within seconds after Cerrone got his hand raised last Saturday night, MMA fans were already asking for this fight. After being hurt by Edson Barboza early in the first round, Cerrone caught him with a jab towards the end of the frame that dropped the Brazilian, and “Cowboy” immediately took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke to earn the tap. It was an impressive victory, as was Nurmagomedov’s three round domination of Rafael Dos Anjos earlier in the evening. I think this would be a fantastic match-up, and pitting them against each other obviously makes a world of sense. This could potentially be a number one contender match-up that would see the winner take on the winner of Pettis vs Melendez. Though, if Cerrone wins, he would likely want another fight before then, as Pettis/Melendez won’t be until December, and “Cowboy” likes to fight often. I think this would be a great bout, but not the easiest to predict. Cerrone will no doubt be the best striker “The Eagle” has ever faced. With his rudimentary striking and the holes in his striking defense, it would not surprise me to see “Cowboy” knock him out. I could see this fight serving as the co-main event for June 28th’s UFC Fight Night in San Antonio. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier vs Clay “The Carpenter” Guida “The Diamond” takes on “The Carpenter” – man, oh man what a sick fight that’d be! These are two featherweights who are getting close to title contention. Guida recently earned a unanimous decision over Tatsuya Kawajiri in Abu Dhabi, while Poirier scored a second round TKO win over Akira Corassani just days after. This would undoubtedly be a fun fight, and the winner would likely be in a number one contendership match-up for their next outing. This is a bout I could see headlining a UFC Fight Night card, and I would favor it going all five rounds, as both featherweights are very durable. This fight makes so much sense that it would be somewhat unjust if it does not get put together. Ryan LaFlare vs Mike “Quicksand” Pyle - I think this would make for a great welterweight match-up and could possibly be the first time LaFlare enters the Octagon as an underdog. Pyle would certainly be the toughest test of LaFlare’s career, and it wouldn't be a walk in the park for Pyle, either. LaFlare is coming off a unanimous decision victory over John Howard in Abu Dhabu, while Pyle is riding hot off a third round TKO of TJ Waldburger at UFC 170. I think this would be a good next move for LaFlare, and a proper step up in competition. Pyle would be playing his usual “gatekeeper” role in this bout, and a win over him would be big for the Long Islander. A win over LaFlare would also mean a great deal for Pyle, as he would be defeating a hot, undefeated prospect. Pyle would also be happier with this pairing than with his usual match-ups against prospects, because while still a rising prospect in the welterweight division, LaFlare is older than the average up-and-comer. Patrick “The Predator” Cote vs Thiago “Pitbull” Alves - This would make for a welterweight bout between two long-time Octagon veterans that I could really look forward to seeing. I would expect it to be a battle that takes place on the feet, with both men exchanging bombs. I feel like this would be a really fun fight, whether it lasts one round, or an action packed 15 minutes. Cote is coming off his impressive unanimous decision win over Kyle Noke at the TUF Nations finale last week, while Alves notched a unanimous decision nod of his own, in a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus-winning performance against Seth Baczynski. It was great to see “Pitbull” back in action, and he looked incredible. His leg kicks looked as devastating as ever, and I cannot wait to see him back inside the cage. I believe a bout with Cote would make for a great next move for him. Alves would be a step up in competition for Cote, and certainly a bigger name than his last opponent, so I think he would jump at the opportunity to face the Brazilian. This would be a fight between former UFC middleweight title challenger and former UFC welterweight title challenger. With the Canadian now down at 170 pounds, this is a welterweight scrap you could sign me up for. Caio Magalhaes vs Elias “Spartan” Theodorou - I think Magalhaes is a good next step for our recent Canadian middleweight TUF winner Theodorou. He won the show with a second round TKO win over Sheldon Westcott at the TUF Nations finale, while Magalhaes just notched his third straight win with a first round TKO over Luck Zachrich this past weekend at UFC on FOX 11. I think this is a pairing that both 185-pounders would be happy with. For Theodorou, taking out someone on a hot winning streak would mean something, and for the Brazilian, it would mean a great deal to defeat a TUF winner. While I am by no stretch of the imagination a Caio Magalhaes fan, this is a match-up I would very much be interested in seeing. This would be a rare Caio Magalhaes fight I would actually look forward to. It would be a good fight to put on during the UFC’s upcoming trips to either Toronto or Nova Scotia. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal vs Joe Lauzon - I would love to see Masvidal take on either Myles Jury or Michael Johnson, but they have earned higher ranked opponents. So a match-up with Joe Lauzon is the only other pairing I could think of that I would be interested in seeing. Masvidal would have the edge on the feet, so the question is would it be a repeat of Lauzon vs Johnson? Perhaps not, since that seemed to be an off night for the Massachusetts native; and he bounced back strongly with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Mac Danzig. Masvidal is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory of his own, against fellow Strikeforce veteran Pat Healy this past weekend on the UFC on FOX 11 undercard. If both lightweights show up focused and on top of their game, this could prove to be a competitive, ‘Fight of the Night’ award-winning match-up. Jordan “Young Gun” Mein vs Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson - Mein is coming off a split decision win over Hernani Perpetuo at UFC on FOX 11 this past weekend, while "Wonderboy" last saw action at UFC 170, scoring a first round knockout over TUF winner Robert Whitaker. This is a match-up between two rising stars in the UFC’s welterweight division that I think fight fans would be happy to see. I think pitting them against each other would prove to be a great, exciting fight because of how talented they both are on the feet. I would love to see their striking styles collide to see who's proves superior. They both have a thing in common; that their lone Octagon defeat has come at the hands of Matt Brown. I could see this fight going all three rounds or ending in the first, but regardless of how long it lasts, I can’t imagine it being anything but entertaining. This pairing makes a ton of sense, and I could easily see it being a lead-in fight on a future Pay Per View card.
About the Author
Gabe Killian is a mixed martial arts journalist and handicapper, as well as a stand-up comedian and writer.