Joao:With four wins in a row and tremendous upside, he can only fight a top contender next. What about Fabricio Werdum? This could be an interesting fight for both, with the winner emerging as a top contender for a future title shot.
Struve is young, has tremendous reach and good ground skills; on top of that he puts on exciting fights. The future looks bright for the Skyscraper.
Jim:I think Werdum would be a very good fight, but I think the UFC wants to gradually work him up to better opponents and Werdum might be too high in the pecking order for Struve. If Ben Rothwell is finally healthy I’d love to see that matchup. Rothwell is coming off a big win over Brendan Schaub and was scheduled to fight Travis Browne, the last man to beat Struve. I think Rothwell would be a good step in the progression of Stefan Struve.
Collin: I don’t really think that Werdum is a very good matchup for Struve here. Struve is a solid top 10 guy, but Werdum is solid top 4. Fabricio would smash him up standing and then tap him at will on the ground. Someone who is more on Struve’s end of the top 10 would be better. I like the idea of him scrapping with Ben Rothwell, that would be a great fight that makes a lot of sense. Why not give him Bigfoot? Silva is coming off a big win but is still somewhere around the top 7-9 category. I like that fight a lot.
David: Love the Werdum call, but how about Bigfoot? Just the size oddity would be an awesome matchup second on the card on a FOX card. Both men are HUGE but love the ground game.
2. Did the Fuel Card deliver?
Joao:Very positive. A good mix of KOs and submissions, with Struve going forth in the Heavyweight division, Hardy getting a much needed rebound win, Wiman showing off his submission skills, among others. A solid and entertaining event; not too much glitz on paper before the event, but the action certainly delivered.
Oh, and perhaps now mainstream fans are taking notice of Gunnar Nelson, a veritable ground wiz.
Jim:Pretty much how I expected the card to go. Nice grappling in the Wiman-Sass fight. A nice KO win for Brad Pickett, Dan Hardy showing off some improved wrestling, and we kind of knew the main event would end with someone getting finished. We don’t need every card to have title implications for it to be a very exciting and entertaining night of fights.
Collin: Didn’t get to see it, but from what I understand it was a pretty good card. Sounds like “One Punch” picked up a nice solid KO, and who in the world thought that Matt Wiman would submit Paul Sass? That must have been a crazy grappling exhibition. Looks like Gunnar Nelson rolled pretty easy in his fight. This guy is one of the best grapplers in the world, and one of a handful of true ADCC level BJJ fighters in the UFC.
David: Very much so, only a few fights had me reaching for the FF button, Hardy looked VERY good, and the main event delivered.
3. What do you make of Dan Hardy’s performance?
Joao:I see it as a classic case of a fighter realizing he needs to fight smart if he wants to remain on the UFC roster. Hardy was exciting and had a string of losses which put him on the brink of being unemployed. Now we have seen a different Hardy, one who ignores the crowd and the emotions, fights smart, commits when he sees an opening and mixes it up with takedowns.
Jim:Very solid win for Hardy and much needed. Hardy knows the only way to progress in the division, and the UFC in general, is to improve upon your weaknesses. His weakness was wrestling and after the 1st round he used those improvements in his wrestling game to take the last two rounds and win the fight.
Collin:It sounds like Dan Hardy is finally putting together that just being a gun slinger isn’t enough to get him by consistently at this level anymore. He is a n extremely powerful athlete with devastating hands, and if he is finally sureing up his wrestling he could get quite a few more solid wins in the UFC. I wish they would just let him retire Matt Hughes next.
David: Hardy looked great in his fight. I’m a little disappointed in the lack of a stoppage, but seeing Hardy to be the one to drop and grab a double was just stunning to see.
4. What guys do you like on the UFC post fight show? (Joao can pass if you don’t get that)
Jim: (I actually didn’t see it)
David: Bad quesion I guess. I like Chael and Rashad on the desk, Chael is upfront and honest, and Rashad lets him talk and tends to come with a bit more knowledge than Stann. I don’t like Munoz and Benny was bad this weekend.
5. Hardy mentioned he wanted to bring a UFC belt to the UK. Is the first British UFC champ on the roster, and if so- who?
Joao: Tricky. Because it might not be the best absolute UK fighter but rather the one who fights well in a relatively non crowded weight division.
Hathaway and Bisping are not as good as their respective division champions, so let us look somewhere else.
I will go with Brad Pickett. The Bantamweight division isn’t highly competitive as it is and I expect him to get a title shot on the medium term. He’ll be the first UK fighter to hold a UFC belt, without much fanfare.
Jim: Have to agree with Joao here. If Anderson Silva retired tomorrow I would take Michael Bisping, but I don’t think that’s happening. I can’t see anyone else being close, so Pickett makes the most sense. I know Renan Barao finished Pickett quickly, but anyone who saw that fight knows, Pickett sat in the pocket with Barao and while he was landing shots himself, he was eventually cracked and tapped. I think if he fought a high level guy like Barao again, he would fight a lot smarter. He’s well rounded, hits hard, has good subs, and he has to be the closest to winning a UFC title.
Collin: I like Pickett but he didn’t look very good against Barao, and I can’t see him beating Faber or Cruz either. At FW Ross Pearson could potentially make a go of it, as he is pretty talented and that division is fairly new to the UFC and still developing. Bisping is easily the most talented Brit but he is also faced with the most challenging champion.
David: I’m going with Bisping here. He beat Sonnen, and Silva only has another 1-2 years left. Who beats Bisping? Munoz? Other than Weidman, Bisping can beat every other MW out there, and is the most well rounded fighter at 185. Of all the British fighters out there, Bisping has ONE man stopping him from the title- Anderson F’N Silva
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