What's next for UFC 121 fighters?
October, 25, 2010
By Andrew Plante | ESPNDallas.com
Ed Mulholland for ESPN.comBrock Lesnar was dominated at UFC 121, but you can expect him in the ring again soon.Now that UFC 121 is officially in the books, what’s in store for the winners and losers of this historic event?
Cain Velasquez: Now that he’s earned the title of baddest man on the planet, the UFC has already lined up an opponent for the new champ. Although no date or event has been set, Velasquez will take on Brazilian fighter, Junior Dos Santos. Dos Santos is undefeated in six UFC fights.
Brock Lesnar: With Velasquez officially ended ‘Brocktoberfest’, what’s in store for the lighting-rod and former champion? Despite being dominated by a more technical Velasquez, Lesnar isn’t going anywhere. He’s a money maker for the organization and puts butts in seats. The additional pay-per-views that are purchased when he’s on a card is significant to say the least. Frank Mir in a rubber match will likely be his first stop. After that, I’d like to see him take on the winner of Carwin – Nelson, with that winner getting a crack at the belt.
Jake Shields: Despite the lackluster win by Shields over Martin Kampmann, the UFC brass has indicated that he’ll still get the next shot at the welterweight belt. Let’s hope he works on his cardio before his five-round battle against Koscheck or St. Pierre.
Martin Kampmann: Kampmann will definitely have to regroup before entering the Octagon again. Although he did an excellent job defending against a proficient jiu-jitsu guy like Shields, his ability to deal with some of more skilled wrestlers in the UFC leaves much to be desired. If he’s going to compete against the likes of Fitch, Koscheck, or St. Pierre, he’ll need a solve quick.
Diego Sanchez: Sanchez wants to compete in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, so who know where he’ll head next. But now that he’s back in Greg Jackson’s camp, expect him to be more successful than in his previous tries in either weight class.
Matt Hammill: Now on a five-fight win streak after defeating Tito Ortiz, Hammill deserves a fight against a Top-Ten opponent. Nogueira or Griffin would be interesting match-ups for the surging light heavyweight.
Tito Ortiz: Although Tito Ortiz is a legend in the UFC, it’s about time for ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ to ride off into the sunset. Ortiz hasn’t won a meaningful light heavyweight bout in almost five years. The UFC typically has a quick trigger finger when disposing of underperforming fighters, so it is somewhat surprising that Ortiz is still on the payroll. Although he’s still a pay-per-view draw, he’s got to go.
Brendan Schaub: Schaub ventured into deep heavyweight waters and came away with the win against Gabriel Gonzaga in dominating fashion. The Colorado native will likely face a top-five heavyweight in his next bout. He’s called out Frank Mir, but Lesnar has got first dibs. If Nelson loses to Carwin, perhaps a rematch between “The Hybrid” and “Big Country” is in order.
Tom Lawlor: Now that Lawlor has gotten that career-saving win out of the way, he can start climbing back up the middleweight ladder. Lawlor vs. Akiyama would be an interesting match-up stylistically for both opponents.
Court McGee: It seems that TUF winners have had a ton of back luck as of late. Efrain Escudero and Ross Pearson, champs of TUF 8 and 9 respectively, have both been served with upsets. That was not the case for TUF 11 winner, McGee, as he came back to defeat Ryan Jensen in convincing fashion. Although he’s shown he can hang in the middleweight division, don’t expect him to start facing ranked talent just yet. He’s a few more fights away from threatening 185 pound contender’s list.
Jon Madsen: Madsen has quietly gone to 4-0 in the UFC’s heavyweight division by making quick work of Gilbert Yvel. He deserves a shot at a top-ten heavyweight.
Sam Stout: I can’t even guess how the UFC will match Stout in his next fight, but expect him to go to a close decision regardless. Although Stout has been in some pretty tough Octagon wars over the years, he’s yet to be able to finish an opponent in his 10-fight UFC career. Fans are beginning to question his killer instincts.
On The Bubble? Paul Taylor, Mike Guymon, Ryan Jensen, Paulo Thiago, and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Out The Door? Patrick Cote, Tito Ortiz, and Gilbert Yvel