December 13, 2015

The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale Fight Fixin' - Winners Edition

By Adam Martin

Fight Fixin’ is a fantasy matchmaking article that comes out after every major event and features possible matchups for main card winners and/or losers from the previous event.
Frankie Edgar

In the main event of the TUF 22 Finale, Frankie Edgar knocked out Chad Mendes to become the next #1 contender in the UFC featherweight division. Many expected Edgar to win, but most figured it would be by decision, so the knockout shocked many, especially against a guy like Mendes. It’s a huge win for Edgar and it should earn him a title shot.

Some are saying Jose Aldo should fight Conor McGregor in a rematch, but I think Aldo really should have to earn his spot again, and I think Edgar has passed him in the title queue. McGregor vs. Edgar is a fantastic fight on paper and it’s a no-brainer for the UFC to book this as the main event of UFC 200 next summer, or perhaps a bit sooner, since both fighters took no damage in their fights this past weekend.

Fight to make: Frankie Edgar vs. Conor McGregor

Ryan Hall

In the TUF 22 final, Ryan Hall beat Artem Lobov via unanimous decision to win the reality show. Hall showed off his strong BJJ game in the fight, and although it was boring, it was definitely more on Lobov for not stopping Hall’s back takes than on Hall for not finishing.

There’s no point in rushing Hall, so let’s match him up with a lower-ranked lightweight coming off of a win in a winnable fight. I think Kajan Johnson makes sense. The veteran is 2-0 in his last two fights at 155 lbs, and he should have the submission defence to make a fight with Hall more competitive. Put it on the prelims of a Fight Night card next year.

Fight to make: Ryan Hall vs. Kajan Johnson

Tony Ferguson

In a lightweight bout, Tony Ferguson earned a second-round submission win over Edson Barboza to conclude a wild, back-and-forth bout that was one of the best fights of the year. Ferguson keeps looking better and better every time we see him, and at 10-1 in the UFC, he’s clearly one of the best fighters in the lightweight division and closing in on an elusive title shot.

With seven wins in a row in the shark tank that is the UFC lightweight division, I really think Ferguson deserves a title shot against the winner of next week’s Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael dos Anjos rematch. I just really want to see Ferguson fight for the title, and regardless of whether it’s Cerrone or RDA, it has the potential to be an amazing fight for the fans. With none of these fighters being huge PPV draws, make it the main event of a FOX card next year.

Fight to make: Tony Ferguson vs. the winner of Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone

Evan Dunham

In a lightweight contestEvan Dunham had one of his most impressive performances in the UFC to date, as he picked apart Joe Lauzon for a unanimous decision win. Dunham’s striking looked superb in the fight and all of a sudden the veteran 155-pounder is on a three-fight win streak, and he deserves a top-15 opponent in his next fight for sure.

I think the winner of next weekend’s fight between Michael Johnson and Nate Diaz makes sense for Dunham next. All three fighters are known for putting on exciting fights, so I would love to see Dunham take on the winner in what would be a very good fight on paper. It seems like the perfect co-main event for a Fight Night card.

Fight to make: Evan Dunham vs. the winner of Michael Johnson vs. Nate Diaz

Tatsuya Kawajiri

In a featherweight bout, Tatsuya Kawajiri defeated UFC newcomer Jason Knight via unanimous decision in a fairly one-sided fight between a wrestler and a BJJ specialist. Knight tried to use his rubber guard to sub Kawajiri, but the veteran showed how strong his top game is, and he was able to evade all submission attempts and win a clear decision on the cards.

The UFC seems to be keen on putting Kawajiri up against prospects, so let’s see him take on Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez next. Rodriguez, the TUF Latin America winner, is 3-0 in the UFC, and after beating Dan Hooker in his last fight, he deserves a step up. I think Kawajiri vs. Rodriguez would be a very exciting fight that would help determine whether Rodriguez is ready for the elite, or if Kawajiri is still a contender. Put it on the main card of the UFC’s next card in Mexico.

Fight to make: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Yair Rodriguez

Gabriel Gonzaga

In the heavyweight bout that headlined the prelims, Gabriel Gonzaga won a lackluster decision over Konstantin Erokhin in a very forgettable fight. This was just a really bad fight all around, but good for Gonzaga for getting the win, because if he had lost four straight fights, the UFC would have cut him for sure.

Despite such a poor fight, Gonzaga is still one of the best gatekeepers the UFC has in the heavyweight division. For his next fight, let’s see Gonzaga take on Oleksiy Oliynyk, who is 2-0 in the UFC and deserving of a big name after beating Jared Rosholt in his last fight. Gonzaga vs. Oliynyk would likely be a fun fight between two heavyweights with grappling backgrounds, so it makes sense to book it and put it on the prelims -- or possibly the main card -- of a Brazil Fight Night card.

Fight to make: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk


The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale: Edgar vs. Mendes took place on December 11, 2015 at Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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