It’s over, fans and friends… my “Perfect Storm” weekend is now no more. For three straight days we were lucky enough to get three shows by three different promotions, and only one of them (Strikeforce’s “Challengers 16” event) didn’t measure up. Bellator 46 was amazing, and “UFC on Versus 4” was almost equally as exciting. Now once again it’s time to ask: what’s next? What does the future hold after we witnessed one of the greatest comebacks in UFC and MMA history? Here’s my answer to just that: a new edition of my “What’s Next for the Winners and Losers” series of articles, now featuring “UFC on Versus 4”.
Next for Nik Lentz/Charles Oliveira: Each other, which is why I’m grouping them together. If you believe some rumors, this fight may have already been changed to a No Contest. I think that’s great, but I also think Oliveira deserves a rematch so he can clear his name and prove that he can beat Lentz. Plus, Oliveira seems to bring out the best in Lentz. The Nik Lentz I saw at “UFC on Versus 4” was not the fighter I had grown to dislike, it was a new fighter that was exciting, willing to engage, and had a really awesome ground game. So I think an immediate rematch is definitely called for.
Next for Matt Mitrione: Give him Cheick Kongo, or even Shane Carwin. Why not Roy Nelson too? Whoever it is, Matt Mitrione deserves a top Heavyweight. People are very high on Mitrione now, although some point out that he’s only looked good against low-level Heavyweights. My answer to that is simple: beating low-level Heavyweights in dramatic fashion is one of the ways you get to face high-level Heavyweights. Mitrione is ready for a high-level Heavyweight.
Next for Matt Brown: If Matt Brown loses his next fight, he’s going to be cut. Even though he won at “UFC on Versus 4”, that’d make it four losses in five fights. I honestly wasn’t impressed with Brown’s performance, I actually considered his fight one of the most-boring of the broadcast. Brown staved off the executioner momentarily… but not for long.
Next for Rick Story: Story will take some time off to readjust and rethink, and he’ll show up to his next fight a new man. There’s still a very bright future in the UFC for Rick Story, he’ll just have to wait a while to fully realize his potential. No matter what the future holds for Rick Story, I wish him the best.
Next for Pat Barry: My heart went out to Barry when I saw the look on his face as the referee raised Cheick Kongo’s hand and not his. Barry looked utterly devastated, which is heartbreaking considering how much of a genuine good person he is, and how he continues to improve and looked great at “UFC on Versus 4” before getting clipped. Unfortunately for Barry, this loss means that he’ll continue to have to fight lower-tier Heavyweights until he gets another shot at a gatekeeper.
Next for Cheick Kongo: With this dramatic win, Kongo’s career will go one of two ways. The first option is to have Kongo face another upstart Heavyweight (like Matt Mitrione) and see if he can put together a two-fight win-streak as one of the UFC’s premiere gatekeepers. The other option is to have Kongo face a top-division Heavyweight right off the bat and give him another chance to get into title contention. Kongo staged a fantastic comeback, but his future is still very uncertain. Nevertheless, never let it be said that Cheick Kongo doesn’t know how to finish a fight.
And that’s what I think, fans and friends.