UFC on Fuel 9: What’s next for the main card fighters?

April 8, 2013

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UFC on Fuel 9: What’s next for the main card fighters?



John Boldrick – Some wondered just how this event would turn out. With a late change to the main event, fans couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. That said, the finished product that was UFC on Fuel 9 was actually pretty decent. Sure, the main event wasn’t a war as originally thought, but from top to bottom the card was solid. Here’s what could be next for the main card fighters of UFC on Fuel 9.

Akira Corassani vs. Eddie Yagin – Corassani looked impressive against a dangerous opponent in his win. He used great foot work along with some nice kicks and smothering ground game to take home the win. Corassani’s recovery was also impressive, as he looked to be in bad shape after getting tagged in the 2nd round. Facing Yagin would be a great next fight. Yagin was last scheduled to face Dennis Siver in November but had to pull out of the booking because of swelling around the brain. Obviously this one may not take place right away, but it would be nice to see Corassani face another fighter with heavy hands.

Diego Brandao vs. Rani Yahya – Brandao looked impressive in all facets of the game on Saturday. He looked cold and calculating on the feet while also using his BJJ black belt to get the first round submission win. Its two wins in a row for Brandao, who won his first UFC fight but then dropped his second fight to veteran fighter Darren Elkins. Since the loss, Brandao has fought fighters with less big show experience. It’s time for Brandao to take another step up in competition. Pair him up with Rani Yahya. Yahya is also 3-1 in the UFC and on a two fight win streak.

Pablo Garza vs. Jason Young- Other than a few leg kicks, Garza didn’t get to show us much in his fight. Still, Garza has proved to be an exciting fighter and deserves another UFC fight. Next up, have Garza face off with English fighter Jason Young. Both are exciting fighters, but currently have less than stellar UFC records. Put this fight on Facebook and watch the fireworks fly. One could expect this to be a loser gets cut fight, as you have to figure both of these fighters are in jeopardy.

Brad Pickett vs. Raphael Assuncao- Even if fans can never call Brad Pickett a world champion, they can call him exciting. Pickett came out swinging and exchanged with his opponent for a full 15 minutes, picking up the split decision win. The Brit mixed his attack well, landing his usual overhands and uppercuts but also mixing in takedowns and some beautiful ground transitions. His takedown defense was also particularly impressive.

What lies ahead is a bit of a question mark for Pickett, as he has already faced so many fighters in the division. One he hasn’t tangled with yet is Raphael Assuncao. The fight makes sense, as it pits the number five bantamweight in the UFC against the number 6 contender. Another interesting angle is that Pickett and Assuncao are the last two fighters to defeat Mike Easton.

Mike Easton vs. Takeya Mizugaki- A loss here gives Easton two in a row and could possibly bounce him from the top ten. The loss is definitely a step backwards; however all is not lost for The Hulk. Easton showed a ton of heart (and chin) while also mixing in some technical ability. Much like his opponent, Easton displayed some really nice ground transitions while also getting a few perfectly timed takedowns.

Even though the UFC isn’t a huge fan of pitting fighters coming off a loss against one coming off a win, but in this case, it’s justified. Mizugaki recently picked up his second win in a row with a split decision over Brian Caraway. A fight between the two could easily make the main card of a future Fuel event.

Ross Pearson vs. Rafael dos Anjos- It looks like Pearson has returned to form. In his last two fights, Pearson has looked like his old self, picking up two knockouts. It appears that his brief run in the featherweight division is over, as Pearson has returned to the division in which he won The Ultimate Fighter. In this one, Pearson looked sharp, even if it took him a round to get going. He looked fine on the ground, never looking to be in much trouble. On the feet, Pearson was his normal self, eventually landing a number of big shots that forced the stoppage. Pearson should fight another high energy lightweight next. Someone who can bring out the absolute best in him. Why not dos Anjos? He’s on a multiple fight win streak like Pearson (dos Anjos has three in a row) and both are battling to sneak into the top ten.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Gustafsson- This one took a look of thinking (or maybe not). Mousasi looked pretty much how everyone expected him to look and even though he didn’t finish his opponent, was still impressive. He landed the jab at will, carving up his opponents face. Mousasi never appeared in any real trouble. Next time out, we should finally get to see this card’s original main event.

Ilir Latifi vs. Anthony Perosh- While he may not have won a round in his UFC debut, he deserves another fight. Anyone who steps up on a few days notice to fight, effectively saving a whole card, deserves a second shot. Let’s see what Latifi can do with a full training camp. His next fight should be against veteran Anthony Perosh. Perosh himself has some history when it comes to stepping in as an injury replacement. The fight would be a battle between good grapplers, as both fighters prefer the ground game. Expect to see this one on an international card, possibly the next time the promotion travels to Australia.

Follow John Boldrick on Twitter @JohnBJournalism

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