Thiago Alves laid it into John Howard at UFC 124. What's next for Alves and the rest of the UFC 124 main card winners following their victories? Photo by Ken Pishna/MMAWeekly.com
"UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck" is in the books and fans were treated to a largely entertaining night of fights from Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
All five main card winners came out of the night with impressive victories and it will be interesting to see what the UFC has lined up for them in the future. Here is one man's projection of where Dana White and Joe Silva should head with these five fighters in the future:
Georges St. Pierre — St. Pierre retained his UFC welterweight championship with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Josh Koscheck. With the win, St. Pierre defended his title for the fifth time. White already told the assembled press following Saturday's show that former EliteXC welterweight and Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields is up next for GSP. That fight, if sanity prevails, should happen April 30 from Toronto's Rogers Centre at UFC 131. St. Pierre in Toronto would be huge for the sport.
Stefan Struve — This is an interesting case. White said as much that the UFC was looking to showcase the 6-foot-11 Struve in this fight and he responded, stopping Sean McCorkle with punches from mount in the first round. Struve has been stopped in his two toughest UFC fights (against Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson), but now has won two in a row, so it's probably time to see what the 22-year old has again. A fight with Brendan Schaub would be a prudent fight at this point, or a fight with Cheick Kongo. Either would be appropriate.
Jim Miller — At 7-1 in the UFC, Miller deserves an opportunity to fight a contender in the division after beating upstart Charles Oliveira by first-round submission. As impressive as Miller's run has ben, he has yet to beat someone in the upper tier of the division. He has some nice wins over the likes of Mark Bocek, Gleison Tibau and Duane Ludwig, but the UFC has to match him with someone in the division's top tier to see what they have with him. Because of how close a lot of the talent is in the lightweight division, they could go a variety of ways here. Here are a few options: the Takanori Gomi/Clay Guida winner, Evan Dunham should he beat Melvin Guillard or Sean Sherk. Or if they don't want to bump Miller up to that level quite yet, they could always use him to face Nik Lentz, who the company would love to cut but they need him to lose before that can happen.
Mac Danzig — Danzig saved his job with his quick knockout of Joe Stevenson and is an interesting case going forward. It's tough to get a gauge on how the UFC feels about Danzig. He is an "Ultimate Fighter" winner, but given his lack of success prior to this fight, you have to wonder how much they have invested in him. Still, he had a big knockout on the main card of a big show, so that definitely helps his stock going forward. The WEC merger clouds the lightweight situation, so picking an opponent for Danzig is tough. Of all the options, I think I like a fight with the Donald Cerrone/Chris Horodecki winner the most.
Thiago Alves — Alves picked up his first win in more than two years when he knocked off John Howard by unanimous decision. With much of the division's upper tier booked for fights in the distant future, Alves might be forced to fight another second-tier opponent or wait. Even though Alves made weight in this fight, I'd like to see him be successful in doing so one more time before giving him a high-profile fight. Thus, fights with the Nate Diaz/Dong Hyun Kim winner from UFC 125 or UFC 120 winner Mike Pyle would both be suitable at this moment for the former No. 1 welterweight contender.