UFC Fight Night 62 went down last night (March 21, 2015) from Brazil, with veteran Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard Demian Maia battling rising contender Ryan LaFlare in the main event. Maia used his decorated grappling pedagree to essentially dominate the fight, controlling his opponent for four rounds.
Maia started to lose some steam in the final round as LaFlare picked up speed, but he was able to hang on and secure a unanimous decision win. Although the Blackzilians-trained LaFlare was only ranked No. 14, it was a very impressive win for the hometown hero.
So who’s next for Maia? Check out this list of five potential opponents for the Brazilian below:
Although the UFC usually stays away from booking a fighter coming off a loss up against a fighter coming off a win, this fight makes a lot of sense. Despite recently losing to former division king Johny Hendricks a weeks ago, Brown is clearly still one of the best 170-pounders around and would undoubtedly be a step up in competition for Maia.
Brown currently sits at No. 5 in the welterweight rankings, and this fight would be a chance for him to get back on track, while for Maia, it would be a chance to prove that he’s still a legitimate contender in the talented 170-pound division.
The young and dangerous Erick Silva is currently unranked due to the fact that he has split wins and losses in his last four bouts until last night, when he picked up his second-straight first round stoppage over the aging Josh Koscheck.
Silva is very well-rounded, with lethal striking and strong submissions. This bout would give each man a chance to prove their worth in the division. Do we have a future headliner for a Fight Night card in Brazil here?
Jake Ellenberger is only 1-3 in his last four bouts and currently ranked No. 11 in the division, but he’s in quite a similar spot to Maia, as they are both trying to remain relevant. Always possessing strong wrestling and solid striking skills, Ellenberger is a veteran of the sport.
This fight makes a lot of sense, as both men are coming off wins, and would give each fighter a chance to establish themselves near the top of the ladder.
Tarec Saffiedine has only fought twice in the UFC since making the jump over from Strikeforce in 2013, and has not looked all that impressive in splitting wins and losses. He was then scheduled to take on Matt Brown last month, but was forced out of the bout due to injury. However, he is a former Strikeforce champion and is currently ranked No. 8 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
When he returns from injury, he may be able to pose some interesting threats to Maia. For Maia, a win here would be a solid win over a top 10-ranked fighter.
This is kind of a difficult situation as Hector Lombard recently popped for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) after his UFC 182 win over Josh Burkman and will be facing a suspension. However, “Showeather” has been on a tear through the welterweight division, and possesses both brutal striking and strong judo-style takedowns.
If Lombard returns sometime soon, this bout would give Maia, just like the Brown fight, a chance to prove he can hang with the division’s elite.
Stay tuned to LowKickMMA to see whom the UFC matchmakers put Maia up against next.
Photo Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports