A few weeks ago the UFC returned to the birthplace of mixed martial arts, Brazil. The card was rife with up-and-coming Brazilian talent, and was headlined by Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin. Let’s discuss whose stock has risen and what’s next for some of the winners from the card.
Hacran Dias had a very successful UFC debut. Against Yuri Alcantara, Dias was considered the underdog. Alcantara was riding a formidable thirteen fight winning streak and held notable victories over Michihiro Omigawa and Ricardo Lamas. However, Dias was able to control his fellow countryman for near enough the whole fight en route to winning a unanimous decision.
Dias hasn’t lost a fight since 2009 and he has an impressive record of 21-1-1. With the lack of viable contenders at featherweight, it would be wise of the UFC to get behind Dias and match him up with a decent opponent. Darren Elkins is a good matchup for him. Elkins has won his past three fights and is also looking for a step up in competition.
Fabricio Werdum is starting to get some serious momentum behind him and is now likely two good wins away from a title shot. His opponent, Mike Russow, is a very durable fighter but it took less than three minutes for Werdum to defeat him.
With a world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game and ever improving striking, Werdum has the skillset to give a lot of heavyweights trouble. I would like to see Werdum fight Travis Browne (should he win against Rothwell), or the winner of Stefan Struve vs Stipe Miocic next.
Wanderlei Silva might not have won but he did show he still has some fight left in him in UFC 147. Silva’s chin has been questioned in the past, but it served him well in this fight as he ate several hard shots from Rich Franklin and continued fighting undeterred.
I don’t see Wanderlei making another run for the title but he still has the ability to put onentertaining fights. The fans love him and he’s a big draw for the UFC. I would like to see him matched up with opponents like: Luiz Cane, Jared Hamman, and Alessio Sakara. They don’t have name value like Wanderlei does but they are exciting middle-of-the-road fighters.
Rich Franklin turned in a very impressive MMA performance against Wanderlei Silva. In round two he was close to being finished but he gutted it out ‘til the bell rang. Throughout the fight Franklin demonstrated excellent footwork and crisp boxing. He flashed quick jabs, threw excellent body kicks, and was clearly very well prepared for Wanderlei’s counter attacks.
Franklin, in my opinion, is an underrated fighter. He’s shared the octagon with the best fighters in the world and has beaten a fair few of them, too. He has stated he is interested in making another run for the title, and that’s not an entirely unrealistic goal. Despite being 37 years old, Franklin showed he can go five rounds without gassing, and he has the tools to give up-and-comers a lot of trouble.
If the UFC decide to give him another high profile fight, I can see him being matched up with either Brian Stann or Michael Bisping. And if they decide to match him up with a rising prospect, Ronny Markes would be a good opponent for him.