Matches to Make After UFC 156

By: Brian Knapp
Feb 3, 2013
Frankie Edgar had no answer for Jose Aldo at UFC 156. | Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Not even Frankie Edgar could answer the Jose Aldo riddle.

Edgar drew the featherweight champion into the deepest waters to no avail, as he lost a unanimous decision to Aldo in the UFC 156 main event on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All three Nevada Athletic Commission judges -- Adelaide Byrd, Jeff Collins and Junichiro Kamijo -- ruled in the Brazilian’s favor, casting 49-46, 48-47 and 49-46 nods in his direction.

Aldo was measured in spots, utterly spectacular in others. His leg kicks and jab were his most effective weapons as he posted his 15th consecutive victory. However, the triumph was not without its trials. Aldo, who has made no secret about his difficultly in cutting to the 145-pound limit, slowed noticeably in the late rounds and allowed Edgar to re-establish himself in the fight.

Edgar enjoyed his greatest success in the fourth round, where he hoisted and slammed the Brazilian and found a home for his punching combinations. Undeterred, Aldo responded with more jabs, right crosses and the most dynamic strike of the match: a springing Superman punch off the cage in the waning moments of round five.

Aldo has no shortage of potential suitors -- even top lightweight contender Anthony Pettis threw his name into the hat following UFC 156 -- but Ricardo Lamas appears to be next in line. The rugged Chicago-based featherweight brutalized Roufusport prospect Erik Koch with a violent volley of ground-and-pound elbows at UFC on Fox 6 on Jan. 26. Lamas has won all four of his bouts since joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship as part of the World Extreme Cagefighting merger, finishing three of them.

In the wake of UFC 156 “Aldo vs. Edgar,” here are seven other matchups that ought to be made:

Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson-Dustin Poirier loser: Edgar has dropped three difficult-to-stomach decisions in succession, but remains entrenched as one of the Top 10 pound-for-pound mixed martial artists. According to FightMetric figures, “The Answer” actually outlanded Aldo in terms of total strikes and significant strikes in rounds three, four and five. However, the considerable damage the champion inflicted seemed to carry far more weight on the scorecards. Statistics aside, Edgar provides an instant boost to the featherweight division and becomes a difficult proposition for anyone at 145 pounds. Swanson and Poirier will throw leather at UFC on Fuel TV 7 on Feb. 16 in London.

File Photo:

Nogueira slipped by Evans.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua: Nogueira notched arguably the most significant win of his 12-year career, as he outpointed former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in the co-headliner. Crisp boxing and stellar takedown defense carried the Pride Fighting Championships veteran in his first Octagon appearance in more than a year. Rua defeated Nogueira in one of the more memorable encounters in Pride history back in 2005, but finds himself in no man’s land at 205 pounds, having lost a unanimous decision to surging Swede Alexander Gustafsson in December.

Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson-Lyoto Machida loser: Evans’ stock took a significant hit in his loss to Nogueira. He entered the cage as a strong favorite, elected to box with a superior boxer and walked out saddled by a second consecutive defeat. Evans turns 34 in September and one has to at least consider whether or not the former champion has made the turn towards the backside of his career. Henderson will lock horns with Machida in the UFC 157 co-main event on Feb. 23.

Antonio Silva vs. Josh Barnett: Silva made one-time Strikeforce and Dream champion Alistair Overeem pay an embarrassing price for his overconfidence in their heavyweight showcase, as he handed the Dutchman his first defeat in more than five years. “Bigfoot” went berserk early in the third round, burying Overeem under an avalanche of power punches en route to shocking knockout. Silva and Barnett have traded their share of verbal barbs over the years. Perhaps the time has come to let them settle their differences with their fists.

Alistair Overeem vs. Daniel Cormier-Frank Mir loser: With two rounds in the bank, Overeem flipped the autopilot switch and sank under the weight of “Bigfoot” Silva’s heavy hands. The defeat, his first since September 2007, cost Overeem a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, along with a massive payday. Instead, the Dutchman returns to a pool of contenders that includes Cormier and Mir. Those two will iron out their differences at UFC on Fox 7 on April 20 in San Jose, Calif.

Demian Maia vs. Rory MacDonald-Carlos Condit winner: It was far from pleasing to the eye, but it was effective. A gold medalist at the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships, Maia put his grappling expertise to use against grizzled American Kickboxing Academy veteran Jon Fitch. Unable to tie down the submission, Maia instead grounded, nullified and smothered the onetime welterweight title contender, improving to 3-0 at 170 pounds. MacDonald and Condit will toe the line against one another for the second time at UFC 158 next month.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson: Benavidez survived a second-round scare to outpoint Ian McCall in a pivotal battle between two Top 5 flyweights. The Team Alpha Male standout landed with more volume and authority, wobbling “Uncle Creepy” with a crisp left hook in the first round and a clubbing right in the third. Was it enough to earn him a rematch with “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who retained his flyweight championship with a unanimous decision over John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6? Time will tell.

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