Due in part to Tim Boetsch's possible broken foot, and his sheer disappointment with the main card of UFC 149, Dana White put off any announcements on his big plans to sort out who fits where in the UFC middleweight title hunt until the "next couple of days." Boetsch's split-decision victory over a lackluster Hector Lombard eliminated the former Bellator middleweight king from immediate contention. (White even went as far to suggest that Lombard may be better off dropping to 170 pounds.)
If any light was shed on who's next for champion Anderson Silva, White told reporters in Calgary that if he had to make a quick decision, unbeaten Long Islander Chris Weidman would get the call. While Boetsch and Lombard failed to impress Saturday night, Weidman looked awesome in destroying Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC on FUEL 4.
It's one thing to win in the UFC. You open eyes wide and mouths in awe, you earn serious points with the UFC president and championship committee.
"An impressive win's going to give somebody a title shot," White said. "I'm looking for a guy who goes out and performs like Weidman. You go in and you're ranked low in the Top 10 and you take out No. 2 or 3 the way you did – that's what I'm excited about."
It's always fun playing matchmaker, yet to mimic Joe Silva or Sean Shelby and stand in their respective shoes are completely different animals. Still, if I was matchmaker, this is how I'd map out the top contenders at 185:
Silva vs. Weidman
Weidman has the wrestling base, tools and mettle to provide the Spider a serious challenge -- similar to what Chael Sonnen did for four-and-a-half rounds of his first title shot and the first round of his rematch. To slow down Silva, you don't defend him, you attack him. It worked for Sonnen and Weidman's camp is supremely confident in their protege's ability to neutralize Silva's vertical base and grind the fight out on the ground. The G.O.A.T. versus the popular native of Baldwin, N.Y., will create major buzz on both a local and national level.
Belcher vs. Vitor Belfort
Two fighters who live up to their respective monikers when at the top of their games. Alan "The Talent" Belcher is peaking since an 18-month layoff due to eye surgery. Victor "The Phenom" Belfort -- when healthy -- is one of the most exciting fighters in the world and is waiting to hopefully fight someone in his native Brazil. Belcher recently decreed he'd step up and take that challenge. These two are perfect for one another at this time.
The Barbarian's broken foot will sideline him indefinitely, which leaves time for Stann and Bisping to eliminate the another from contention and then take on this bruiser who in his last two bouts owns victories over Lombard and Yushin Okami.
Lombard vs. Munoz
Lombard's UFC future -- at 185 -- is still very good. One must not dismiss a fighter as accomplished as Lombard after a bad night. Sonnen would be ideal if not for his apparent move up to light-heavyweight. But since Lombard has an axe to grind with Munoz, it makes perfect sense to place both in a position where a dominant performance vaults them right back into title contention.
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