Since being knocked out by Shane Carwin, Mir has strung together an impressive 3 fight win streak. In a division with few contenders but a growing number of talent, a 3 fight win streak over formidable opponents has got Mir a fight away from a chance at the belt in my opinion. On the other hand Barnett and Cormier will do battle in what appears to be the end of the Strikeforce Heavyweight division. Win or lose, both these guys will be in the UFC. The winner though will certainly be a top contender. The stakes that should be put on this fight, should be a fight with Mir to decide the next number one contender. The timing would be good considering Barnett/Cormier happens in March. Mir awaits the winner of Barnett/Cormier, then they book a fight around the same time as Dos Santos/Overeem which will go down in the summer.
Cain Velasquez vs Shane Carwin
Although many might object this fight, I think it’s a pretty solid fight. Cain is coming off losing the Heavyweight title to JDS, which I might add has always been a title tossed around. Cain is still a solid fighter despite suffering his first defeat, and although many think he should fight Mir in a number one contender match I disagree. I think a fight before being in a number one contender is ideal in this case due to “timing”. Carwin on the other hand is on a 2 fight losing streak after being undefeated. Despite the skid, Carwin is still a top 10 fighter. Even in a loss to JDS, he showed heart as he withstood a lot of punishment and survived the 3 round beating. This might be a big step up for Carwin following 2 defeats but when your a top 10 fighter, it’s nothing but top fights.
Pat Barry vs Sergei Kharitonov
I fully expect Pat Barry to dispose of Morecraft in what I believe is a rebound fight. After that it’s tough to match Barry up because of his style although Mitrione might be an interesting bout. I just think Kharitonov vs Barry would be a sick slugfest of a fight. Great Strikers going at each other, you know this one wont be a decision. A perfect co-main event for an FX or Fuel card.
Kongo/Hunt winner vs Werdum/Nelson winner
Kongo is starting to get himself back into the mix in the heavyweight division going 3-0-1 since losing to Frank Mir. He faces Mark Hunt who recently has found a way to not only win but string together 2 in a row. Hunt although a record of 7-7, can end anyone’s night with one punch. A win over Kongo would really boost his stock up considering Kongo is within a few spots of cracking the top 10 in MMA. On the other hand Werdum will be making his UFC return and will face a game opponent in Roy Nelson. Werdum although ranked in the Top 10, even Top 5 will have to re-establish himself in the UFC. A good step would be beating Roy Nelson who is by no means an easy task. Nelson in his last outing ended his 2 fight losing streak by defeating and retiring Mirko Cro Cop. I think the winner of each of these fights would make an exciting bout. Although Hunt vs Werdum seems pretty lopsided, I’d still watch.
Struve/Herman winner vs Antonio Silva
Struve and Herman will meet in what appears to be an exciting fight. Struve has built up a nice career in the UFC going 6-3. The one thing he lacks though, is that named fight. Herman is a good name and a very solid fighter. Despite one fight in the UFC, Herman built himself well in several other promotions. The winner of this fight will certainly be looked at to face a bigger name. A name like Antonio Silva would be dynamite. Can you imagine “The Skyskraper” vs “Bigfoot”! That would be a fight for the ages. Even Herman would excite me to face Antonio Silva. He has equal size but a 6 inch reach disadvantage. He makes that up with good wrestling and heavy hands. Either or would be an interesting fight with Antonio Silva who is looking to bounce back after losing to Daniel Cormier. Before that he won the biggest fight of his career when he defeated Fedor Emelianenko.
Russow/Einemo winner vs Shane Del Rosario
Russow facing Einemo is interesting in that Russow hasn’t lost since 2007 and is 3-0 in the UFC. Meanwhile, Einemo is 0-1, coming off a loss to Dave Herman in which he fought for the first time since 2006. An interesting matchup to say the least but I expect it to deliver. Del Rosario an undefeated Strikeforce prospect, recently signed with the UFC and should be ready to go soon. A solid fighter thats on the rise and is coming off a big win over Lavar Johnson. I think no matter who wins between Russow/Einemo, Del Rosario would be a formidable opponent for either.
Matt Mitrione vs Devin Cole
Mitrione is coming off his first loss of his young career to Kongo in which was a rather unexciting fight to say the least. I like how the UFC built him up but with that showing he might need some more time. A good fight would be against a veteran and tough opponent in Devin Cole who I expect to be infused into the UFC.
Oliveira/Gonzaga winner vs Beltran/Johnson winner
Oliveira, an undefeated prospect on the rise will be making his UFC debut against a tough foe in Gabriel Gonzaga who is making his return to the UFC after a 1 fight stint for Reality Fighting. Beltran after being defeated in yet another exciting fight will be welcoming former Strikeforce heavyweight Lavar Johnson. I truly expect this fight to be an absolute battle, 2 heavy handed guys with plenty of knockouts to their name. The reason I match the winners up is because they are around the same ranking wise. Also Oliveira or Gonzaga, whoever wins, shouldn’t be rushed to fight a top fighter. For Oliveira, it’s a building up processing similar to that of Matt Mitrione. For Gonzaga, it’s a re-building process. Beltran and Lavar both need to get back to their winning ways, and try to string together a winning streak.
Miocic/De Fries winner vs Thompson/Jordan winner
Miocic and De Fries will do battle in a solid undefeated clash. Both are recent signees who are touted prospects so a fight like this is appropriate to really boost one of them. Thompson and Jordan will both be making there debut’s and like Miocic and De Fries, they are prospects although Thompson is 32. These new guys need to be built up by starting small so I believe whoever are the winners here would be a smart move to match up.
Browne/Griggs winner vs Schaub/Rothwell winner
Both take place at UFC 145, and the winners would make for an ideal fight
Herschel Walker vs Rob Broughton
I’m actually serious about this fight although it would be considered a “freak show” type fight because it involves the old man Hershel. I’m not insisting Herschel will ever be relevant in the heavyweight division but it certainly be interesting to see him fight in the UFC. Broughton on the other hand, no disrespect, is at the bottom of the UFC heavyweight division. He may be on his way out although I expect him to get one more fight. I just think it be an interesting draw at the bottom of the heavyweight division.