Hello, folks. Over the past month or so, there seems to have been a UFC or Strikeforce fight every weekend. So many fights have gone down recently that it’s almost hard to keep track. Now that we finally have a bit of a break before the next major event to catch our collective breath, I thought it might be a good time to play matchmaker. In this instance, I’m going to pick one fight from each division that I’d like to see booked. Let’s get to it.
Shane Carwin vs. Cheick Kongo
Both of these men are long-time veterans of the UFC and it’s somewhat surprising that they haven’t met before. Now is the perfect time. Carwin won two high fights in a row over Gonzaga and Mir before dropping back-to-back fights to Lesnar and dos Santos. He now finds himself in desperate need of a win in order to maintain his spot in the division. Kongo, on the other hand, is experiencing something like a career resurgence after his come-from-behind win over Pat Barry. He’s never had more momentum than he does right now, which means it’s do or die. Carwin has to prove he still belongs at the top of the division and Kongo needs to prove he’s finally ready to compete at the upper levels of the sport. Let’s have them blast each other in the face to prove their respective points.
My pick: Shane Carwin via KO. Kongo’s win over Barry was miraculous, but it also showed deep holes in his striking defense. Then taking into account Carwin’s power and his ability to survive against dos Santos, and I say he takes it.
Lyoto Machida vs. Stephan Bonnar
This is a bit of a strange choice, I know. But I promise it makes sense. After a dissapointing three-fight losing streak, Bonnar has now posted two wins in a row, one of which was in a FOTN performance against the very tough Krzysztof Soszynski. And at 34 years old with 21 fights to his name, Bonnar doesn’t have much more time to make waves at the top levels of the sport. The time is now for him to test himself against the very best his division has to offer. Machida, on the other hand, is coming off of a big victory over Randy Couture that snapped a two-fight losing streak. While that KO was huge, it also came at the expense of a 47 year old man. That means Machida isn’t completely out of the water. He needs another win before he’s back at the top. In light of the fact that all of the other top 205 pounders are currently booked, Bonnar makes sense for Machida’s next fight. Add in the fact that these two have fought before, with Machida winning in controversial fashion after Bonnar was cut, and the time is right for a rematch.
My pick: Machida via decision. Machida has an edge over Bonnar in pretty much every area of the game, but the former TUF finalist is as tough as they come.
More after the jump.
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz
This one is pretty simple. Leben is coming off of the biggest win of his career over Wanderlei Silva while Munoz just dispatched of former title challenger Demian Maia, which is also the biggest win of his career. With Mayhem vs. Bisping, Akiyama vs. Belfort, and Stann vs. Sonnen all booked already, it looks like the other middleweight contenders are all busy. That leaves Munoz and Leben available to punch each other in the face and see who falls down first.
My pick: Leben via KO. Sure, Munoz has been improving with each fight, but Leben can both take a beating and put people out with one punch. Munoz would likely win if the fight went to the scorecards, but I don’t think Leben would let it get there.
Carlos Condit vs. the winner of Matt Hughes-Diego Sanchez
Let’s face it: Carlos Condit has done enough to earn a title shot. He’s on a four fight win streak while picking up three Fight Night bonuses along the way. And in his past two he’s score HOLY SHIT knockouts over respectable opponents. But the timing is simply off. The welterweight title isn’t set to be defended until October, which means the earliest Condit could conceivably fight for the belt would be January of next year. He doesn’t seem like the type to wait, which means he has to take a fight in the interim. It needs to be against a high profile fighter who is coming off a victory that will help further solidify Condit as the top contender to the crown. The winner of Hughes v. Sanchez will fit that bill perfectly. And, if the winner is Sanchez, the fight with Condit will be declared the FOTY before it even happens.
My pick: Condit via insane stoppage against either man. Hughes is too old and slow to compete against Condit, and Sanchez’s game is a bit more limited than the Natural Born Killer’s.
Clay Guida vs. Sean Sherk
I would’ve said Guida vs. Melvin Guillard, but Guillard isn’t too keen on fighting his training partner unless it’s for a belt. Normally that wouldn’t matter, but in light of the fact that Guillard has other options (Siver, Pettis, or the Cerrone-Oliviera winner) there’s no reason to force him into a fight with Guida. With that in mind, Sean Sherk makes perfect sense to battle the Carpenter. After his win over Pettis, Guida is a fight away from a title shot, and what better way to solidify his status in the division then by beating a former champion. As for Sherk, he wants a top contender for his return that will get him back on the championship track. Guida fits the bill.
My pick: Guida via decision. While both men are wrestlers, Guida is faster, more explosive, and has more tools in his toolbox than Sherk. The Muscle Shark would put up a fight, but I think Guida would walk out with the W.
Mark Hominick vs. Hatsui Hioki
These two have fought twice before, with Hioki coming out with the win both times. Despite that, the circumstances call for a rematch. Hominick is the former top contender to the belt, and based on his performance against Aldo he’s only another win or two away from another shot. To do that, he’ll have to fight a high level opponent. Hioki is currently ranked at #2 in the world. He needs a name opponent for his UFC debut that would allow him to be placed into a championship bout after a single win. Hominick fits the bill. Add in the history between these two and this is, I think, the next logical step for both men.
My pick: Hominick. This is based solely on the fact that the Octagon hasn’t been all that nice to Japanese imports in their UFC debuts.
Urijah Faber vs. Miguel Torres
These two carried the WEC on their backs for a few years and fans were always clamoring to see them fight. Now both men are competing in the same division and both are coming off of losses against highly ranked opponenents. Sure, it’s lost some of it’s luster since the WEC, but better late than never.
My pick: This one is a toss up for me, but I’d lean towards Faber based on his takedown ability and, well, Torres’ lack thereof.