UFC on Fox 11: Werdum vs. Browne went down this past Saturday from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. While the event featured plenty of fights that went the distance, the event, as a whole, received critical acclaim. As we have seen in the past, events lacking in major star power, such as this one, are the events that perform beyond expectations. The major story coming out of this event is the emergence of Fabricio Werdum as a legitimate title challenger. Werdum put a prolonged beating on Travis Browne, and in the process, booked a future date with Cain Velasquez. While not as dramatic a win as Werdum’s, Khabib Nurmagomedov also established his dominance at 155 by shutting down and shutting out Rafael dos Anjos. Miesha Tate also picked up a much needed win, albeit in less than exciting fashion. That fan excitement was soaked up by Donald Cerrone, who got hurt by Barboza, the proceeded to drop Barboza with a jab, and choke him out. The event also featured Yoel Romero rag dolling Brad Tavares and the return of “Pitbull.” All in all, it was a great event. But the past is the past. It is now time to look into my crystal ball and figure out what’s next for the winners at UFC on Fox 11.
Yoel Romero vs. Tim Kennedy
Look, I understand that in my last match-ups to make article, I wanted Kennedy to fight Jacare. While I’m still cool with that fight, I do reserve the right to change my mind, no? Upon really thinking about it, I still give credit to Kennedy for defeating Bisping, but haven’t we seen Bisping fold under pressure in the past? The 185 pound division is certainly NOT hurting for challengers. Machida is up next. Followed by Belfort. We then have Jacare and Rockhold in the mix. That leaves us with Romero vs. Kennedy, which is not a consolation prize, by the way. This fight would feature two fighters with exceptional wrestling and heavy hands. Kennedy is a strong fighter. Would Romero be able to toss him around like he did to Tavares? There’s only one way to find out.
Donald Cerrone vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Donald Cerrone certainly has a flair for the dramatics. In three Fox fights, Cerrone has been involved in three highlight reel finishes. He was stopped by Pettis at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson. He headkicked his way to victory over Adriano Martins at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson. Then he submitted Barboza this past Saturday. Whether he is winning or losing, one thing is certain: Cerrone will always put on a show. The same can be said about Khabib Nurmagomedov. “The Eagle,” who completed outclassed dos Anjos on the ground, is now a perfect 22-0, which includes a 6-0 mark inside the octagon. What makes Nurmagomedov scary is the fact that he hasn’t even peeked. His striking is still developing, but his ground game completely nullified dos Anjos’ ground game, which by the way, is world class. This fight needs to happen, because yeah, I hear that Cerrone has a wicked ground game, as well.
Miesha Tate vs. Sarah Kaufmann
Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but Tate got the job done against Liz Carmouche. The most important thing going into that fight was how Tate would respond to breaking her two-fight losing streak. While the situation looked bad in the first, Tate responded by edging Carmouche out in the second round and dominating her in the third. Kaufmann, on the other hand, has been on quite the roll since her own loss to Ronda Rousey. She is now 2-0 with one no-contest since that loss, with both wins coming against Leslie Smith. A rematch between Tate and Kaufmann would be five years in the making. The last time they fought, which took place on May 15, 2009 at Strikeforce Challengers: Evangelista vs. Aina, Kaufmann took home the win via unanimous decision. It is safe to assume that Tate would love to have that one back. This one pretty much writes itself. Joe Silva and Sean Shelby have an easy job with this one.
Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum
If you’d had told me last year that this fight would happen in 2014, I would have said “great, another easy win for Velasquez.” Fast-forward to the present and while I still expect Cain to win, I don’t believe it’ll be an easy fight. In the past, the way to beat Werdum was to keep the fight standing. As a BJJ superstar, Werdum always wanted to take the fight to the ground (see the fight vs. Overeem). When he wasn’t able to, he would get completely outclassed (see the fight vs. Dos Santos). Now, not only is “Vai Cavalo” adept at striking, he is besting people that, you know, are supposed to be better strikers than him. His victory over Browne this past Saturday showed us how brilliant he can be at striking. He is now as complete a fighter as there is in the UFC. With crisp striking to go along with his ridiculous BJJ game, Werdum represents the stiffest challenge to Velasquez. I’m not foolish enough to choose Werdum to win, at this point. However, the time will come when I will no longer be able to justify picking against him. This fight will be amazing!
Other fights to make:
Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein
Jorge Masvidal vs. K.J. Noons
Alex White vs. Mirsad Bektic
Caio Magalhaes vs. Nick Catone
Dustin Ortiz vs. Justin Scoggins
Derrick Lewis vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
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