From Belcher to Lombard, who should face the winner of Silva vs. Sonnen 2?Posted on May 7, 2012, 12:03 PM by Anton Gurevich
Not so long ago, UFC Middleweight division was widely considered as the weakest division in the UFC. Today, I'm not afraid to say that 185 is a stacked weight class, with Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping, Mark Munoz, Brian Stann and Hector Lombard all in the mix for a shot at the title.
The long-anticipated rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen will take place on July 7th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner of this fight will have his hands full defending the title, not speaking about "cleaning out the division".
Here's a quick look at the current top contenders in the UFC Middleweight division, and what's next for them inside the Octagon.
Belcher was “left behind” due to an eye injury that put him out of fighting for over a year. But when he returned to action, The Talent proved his worth as one of the top contenders in the UFC Middleweight division, with two consecutive victories over Rousimar Palhares and Jason MacDonald. Belcher is currently on a four-fight winning streak, holding a record of 9-4 in the UFC. Victory over Paul Harris (oops, it’s Palhares) is the biggest achievement of Alan Belcher’s MMA career, and it definitely catapulted him into a top contender status. Yet, it looks like Alan Belcher is still at least one fight away from challenging the UFC Middleweight title. I would love to see Belcher fighting a legend, Rich Franklin would be a perfect opponent.
Who’s next? Rich Franklin (if victorious against Cung Le at UFC 148)
“The Count” was very close to defeat Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2. But unfortunately for the Brit, judges’ scored the bout in favor of the Oregonian. Michael Bisping meets Tim Boetsch at UFC 148 (Silva vs. Sonnen), with sights on cementing his status as Top 5 Middleweight contender. Stylistically, Boetsch is a good test for Michael Bisping, but this is clearly not a title shot eliminator. Bisping will have to fight again to prove a point, most likely against Vitor Belfort, who faces Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147. There’s no love lost between Bisping and Belfort, which would make a great number one contender bout. I think Belfort is a clear favorite to beat Wanderlei Silva, so it looks like there’s a good chance to see a strong #1 contender bout between Belfort and Bisping.
Who’s next? Vitor Belfort.
Only three years ago, Mark Munoz was viciously knocked out by Matt Hamill in his Octagon debut at UFC 96. Munoz dropped to Middleweight, and went on an amazing 7-1 run inside the Octagon, losing only to Yushin Okami via Split Decision. The Philippino Wrecking Machine will now face the undefeated Chris Weidman, looking to extend his current winning streak to 5. In fact, if victorious against Weidman, Mark Munoz could easily find himself facing the winner of UFC 148 fight between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva. Despite Dana White’s recent statements, I find it hard to believe that the UFC would give Hector Lombard a title shot after just one victory inside the Octagon, and since Brian Stann was choked out by Chael Sonnen, he’s no less than two fights away from a title shot. Mark Munoz has a good chance to get that title shot, unless Chris Weidman delivers another upset.
Who’s next? Title shot, or the winner of Stann vs. Lombard.
Brian Stann’s impressive performance against Alessio Sakara put him back into “the mix” for a shot at the title. Stann will now face the newcomer Hector Lombard, who is well-known for knocking out his opponents senseless. Victory over Hector Lombard would be a huge statement for Brian Stann, but I find it hard to believe that he will get a title so soon after getting submitted by Chael Sonnen. Stann is a force to be reckoned with, and I would pick him to win against Hector Lombard, but his biggest fights are still ahead.
Who’s next? With a “W” over Hector Lombard, Brian Stann could find himself in the cage with Alan Belcher, Rich Franklin, or anyone else with intentions of becoming a top UFC Middleweight.
Former Bellator Middleweight champion will look to prove a point in the UFC, facing Brian Stann at UFC on FOX 4. Lombard is 31-2 in his career, with 17 KO/TKO and 7 Submission victories. Lombard is an extremely dangerous striker, but I’m very skeptical about his abilities to defeat Brian Stann on August 4th. Brian Stann’s style is a bad match-up for Lombard, who tends to struggle against technical strikers. UFC President Dana White recently stated that in case of victory over Brian Stann, giving a title shot to Hector Lombard “would make sense”, however, I think most of you would agree that Mark Munoz, and even Alan Belcher deserve it more.
Who’s next? If Hector Lombard beats Brian Stann, I would love to see him against Alan Belcher. If he loses to Stann, Jason “Mayhem” Miller (fights C.B. Dollaway at UFC 146) would be a great opponent.