Sorry I could not join you guys Saturday night. I was entertaining some guests and had Mayweather/Marquez on one screen and UFC 103 on the other (of course 103 was on the big screen though). Anyways, I will not complain about this card because after it was over that was my first train of thought. I was pissed I just spent $45 and didn't get a whole bunch of action, however, we did get to see 10 fights, which is kudos to Zuffa and I hope (please, please, please) that showing one or two of the prelims for free before the big event becomes a thing of habit. They really did an awesome job of getting people to want to see the pay-per-view by the backstage interviews and showing the fighters arriving and everything. If done right and done a few more times (especially for cards without a title on the line that may need that extra umph) I think this will really help those lesser cards do better numbers. Anyways, let's talk about what's next for the main fighters as they come away from UFC 103:
Drew McFedries - Did Drew pull a Paulo Filho on his Saturday night? Dude did NOT seem like he was interested in fighting and really looked to be a beaten man only a few minutes into the fight. Maybe he believes his own power and hype but here's a newsflash Drew...if the bulk of your wins come from knockouts and everyone talks about your power, most guys are not going to stand and trade with you. Sure, some will, but most won't. He just looked like a fish out of water and this lose really takes him down on the totem pole and could even mark the end of his UFC run. If I was Joe Silva, I'd match Drew up with Jay Silva next, seeing as how both like to stand and bang it would be good exposure for Jay and maybe a highlight for Drew.
Tomasz Drwal - First off...lol @ him doing the gorilla chest bump after he won...I thought that was hilarious. Drwal takes a step forward in the middleweight division where I think he'll find some minor success. He's strong and has a pretty good ground game and power to match. Drew didn't offer him much of a challenge once the fight hit the canvas, so we didn't get to see how well he'd do against someone a little more skilled down there. A bout against Johny Hendricks would be cool, if not maybe give Kendall Grove one more chance to prove his worth.
More after the jump
Cole Miller - Cole's always going to be a gamer against whoever you put in front of him. He's young, so he'll have time to improve and get better where needed. Against Efrain he looked solid but could not get the fight to the ground and much like how Melvin Guillard was able to do Nate Diaz last week, the smaller more compact fighter was able to explode and negate the bigger, lankier fighter's reach. For Miller, maybe a Fight Night bout with Rafael dos Anjos would be a good little scrap.
Efrain Escudero - Sometimes you have to pick with your heart and not your head. I was sure the layoff and then the tough weight cut would have Efrain one of the first Ultimate Fighter winners to lose their first fight in the UFC. However, his excellent wrestling and explosiveness proved to be too much for Cole Miller and he luckily got it done in devastating and quick fashion. Next for Efrain, I'd also put him on a Fight Night card. If they haven't already cut Mac Danzig I think that would be a solid opponent or their usual go to guy to have a good fight with a TUF winner Josh Neer.
Hermes Franca - Ughhh, he not only missed weight by 4 pounds he looked like a guy that just came off the streets, put on some shorts and got in the cage. Franca pretty much will not see the limelight in the UFC again but I do think they'll keep him around for gatekeeper status and for the younger guys to get a name on their record. A prelim fight with Melvin Guillard in a do or die, sink or swim eliminator in the near future.
Tyson Griffin - This was a good and solid win for Tyson, but I have my fears about it. As we've seen time and time again when guys get labeled boring (they're usually wrestlers) and keep trying for that highlight reel and finally get it...they fall in love with it. We've seen it happen to Sean Sherk (which cost him against Frankie Edgar), we've seen it from Dan Henderson (which has cost him matches before) and we're seeing it from Josh Koscheck (Paulo Thiago!). Finally finishing someone and that someone having not been finished prior to that fight will no doubt put a little chip on Tyson's shoulder. Now let's see if he can put it all together to be a complete fighter. If they don't jump the gun with Gray Maynard into a title shot, I think this would be a solid bout for both. If not Gray, then a Fight Night headliner against Nate Diaz would be a solid scrap as well.
Frank Trigg - When I heard Trigg was coming back and that he was moving back to welterweight, the only reason I could fathom this was to fight Matt Hughes in some nostalgic rematch. Other than that, the 170 division is way too stacked for a guy like Trigg and no better proof of that than Saturday. I would like to see Trigg move back up to middleweight where I think the UFC can really utilize him in a better way than having to pay for hospital visits to check for concussions. A match with someone like Kendall Grove at that weight or Alessio Sakara would give him the type of fights/fighters that he can work with a little better. If not and they want him to stay, sacrifice him to Carlos Condit and then be done with him.
Josh Koscheck - We all knew what was going to happen Saturday, it was a matter of what round and in what fashion. Koscheck dumped Trigg rather quickly, but as 3PA pointed out in his FanPost here Koscheck can not fall in love with his right hand (don't take that the wrong way!). Like I said with Tyson, wrestlers tend to think they're strikers after they put away a foe or two and get too bent on the knockout and end up getting outpointed or knocked out almost every time. Koscheck needs to find a solid median of aggressive striking and grappling if he ever wants to claim the welterweight title. I think Josh did my work for me and a bout with Matt Hughes would be great for him as it will keep him out of the title picture but still keep him very relevant in the hunt.
Martin Kampmann - I'm a Kampmann fan and had high aspirations for him to do well and finally get the title shot he's been so close to his whole career. Unfortunately, pride is a mofo and for whatever reason Martin decided to stand with the debuting Paul Daley only to get KTFO on his feet. In my opinion this was a lose-lose situation for Kampmann because a win didn't really get him any closer to the title shot since Mike Swick was still out there and losing well...puts him at the back of the line for a while. Kampmann will hopefully learn from this mistake and move forward in the welterweight division where I still think he can make a big splash. Maybe put him in there with the winner of the Dan Hardy/Don Hyun Kim bout to keep him near the top of the title picture or possibly a scrap with Jon Fitch if he were to get past Ricardo Almeida at UFC 106.
Paul Daley - I wanted to slap myself Saturday night. ALL WEEK LONG I had Daley winning the upset on my MMA Playground picks and at the very LAST second switched to Kampmann. I won't dwell on that though because it hurts but Daley made a statement on Saturday. How big of one, we'll see as there's talks of him taking on Mike Swick in the near future. The question now is, could that possibly be a number one contender qualifier? He certainly knocked down one of the top welterweights so his name should definitely be tossed around in those talks. I like Daley and think he'll bring a lot of smack talk AND excitement to the already stacked UFC welterweight division.
Mirko Cro Cop - Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, even Wanderlei Silva...all these guys have looked like shells of their former selves and each time they get in the cage we hold on to a little hope that they still have something left. Add Cro Cop to that list, at least for me. Even after I saw how huge Junior dos Santos looked compared to Cro Cop, all I could say was how Cro Cop beat guys much larger than him in Pride in devastating fashion. Then the fight started and I quickly realized what I already knew. Mirko Cro Cop is done. Does he ever have a strategy? Maybe he thought that by allowing dos Santos so much offense, he'd get tired and then he could move in for the kill. I don't know, but a few well placed lefts did do damage but you could tell by Cro Cop becoming less Terminator and more Teddy Ruxpin as time went on that he pretty much knew that's all he had for the Brazilian and he was more settled on surviving than winning. I would say a trip back to Croatia and some rest and relaxation should be his next opponent.
Junior dos Santos - I honestly did not realize this guy was so huge until I watched the weigh ins. Man, the heavyweight division seems to be getting bigger and better! Junior proved he can take a few stiff shots and keep his composure and stalk his opponent reminiscent of another Brazillian standout Luiz Cane. This is of course a big win for dos Santos, though it was against a much slower, much more tentative Cro Cop than the one we're used to seeing. A bout with the winner of Cain Velasquez/Ben Rothwell or Cheick Kongo/Frank Mir would be smart as it would line up the list of contenders for Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, seeing as how I feel that Minotauro Nougeira will most likely be next up for the champion.
Rich Franklin - I've never been a huge Franklin fan but you have to give this guy props for his 2009 thus far. He's taken on three legends of the sport back to back and other than this outing, looked impressive and competitive in all of them. As someone said, it looked as though Franklin was waiting for Belfort to make a move and time it right for a counter. Unfortunately, Belfort was patient as well and waited for just the right time to swarm in on Franklin. This loss should not bring Franklin down far on the LHW ladder seeing as how in most people's mind he wasn't that high up it anyways. Rich should take some time off just to heal and conditioned for a run in his rightful division come next year. A mid-tier light heavyweight like Keith Jardine would be the smart move for Franklin, who I do not think is ready for the upper-tier guys in his division.
Vitor Belfort - I doubted him before the fight and doubted him even more after the weigh-ins but you can not deny that Vitor will really profit from this win. This will be a huge boost of confidence for the former UFC champ and should get him mentally where he needs to be as he firmly plants himself atop of the middleweight division. The only scary thing is how he struggled to make the 195 weight limit, though he's fought at 185 before. I'm assuming maybe a minor injury or something along the way to his UFC 103 bout prevented him from completing that task but he will definitely need to be better prepared if he is to get a shot at 'The Spider'. Thus I think Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson need to duke it out to find the true number one contender of guys that Anderson's already beat and Vitor steps up to his biggest bout in years and challenges to dethrone Anderson Silva. Seeing as how it's rumored Silva will need surgery soon and will probably be out until the new year, this gives Vitor time to get the 185 cut down to a science and be truly prepared for a war.
Well, there you have it, I'm not Joe Silva but in a perfect world, this is where I see the top fighters from UFC 103 going. What say you?