One of the handful of Aussies in the UFC, Sotiropoulos fought for the first time in ten months last weekend and didn’t necessarily look bad. However, he didn’t look good either and came close to being knocked out in the effort. The defeat he suffered was his fourth straight and, at age 36, there’s no real reason to keep him around on the roster. Expect Sotiropoulos to get cut and subsequently scooped up by WSOF. Fans were fairly excited when Marquardt originally announced his intent to drop down to welterweight after a solid run at 185 pounds. He even looked good in his divisional debut, flattening Tyron Woodley in a Strikeforce title-fight. Unfortunately, he’s dropped three in a row since the instance of success including first-frame knockouts in his last two tilts. Chances are good Marquardt’s time in the UFC is over, but there’s no doubt a company like WSOF or Bellator (the more likely option) would love to have a guy with Marquardt’s name on the roster. Jordan is in a tough position as a small heavyweight. While he’s got the talent to beat guys with similar dimensions or lacking ground-based ability, Jordan won’t ever put together the kind of winning streak required to compete for a title based on the size/skill of the division’s top dogs. Until cruiserweight comes along Jordan is going to be stuck in the middle of the pack. As such, a fight with Brendan Schaub or Matt Mitrione would make sense, as they are in a position similar to Jordan’s where contendership is concerned. It’s hard to call Sanchez a loser after the gutsy performance he turned in on Saturday night but, alas, he did actually exit the Octagon with a defeat in tow. Rather than another opponent, the next thing up for Sanchez should be a visit to the doctor’s office. The scar tissue on his face splits too easily and a procedure to address it, thereby making him less susceptible to cuts, would be a real benefit to Sanchez’s future. As far as opponents go, Sanchez’s stock didn’t take a significant hit over the weekend so there are still a ton of options. He seems to make magic with aggressive strikers so the winner of Donald Cerrone-Evan Dunham (UFC 167) would definitely work, as would K.J. Noons simply from a stand-up perspective. Or, if Sanchez needs a half-year off to heal properly, lightweights like Jamie Varner, Pat Healy, Joe Lauzon, and Edson Barboza are all on tap for December action and could be looking for foes a few months thereafter. Sadly, it seems as though Nelson’s time as a UFC fighter is likely at an end. He’s an entertaining personality and obviously has some skill but he’s lost back-to-back bouts and is far from UFC President Dana White’s favorite fighter. Also, consider the biggest wins of Nelson’s run in the organization came against Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, and Brendan Schaub rather than elite adversaries. Truly, every time he’s been put up against a top foe he’s fallen short. Nelson could cling to the roster and land a “must win” match-up with someone like Shawn Jordan, but it seems like Bellator is probably a bit more realistic given his icy relationship with White. The company would benefit from having Nelson on board and it would also give “Big Country” a legitimate chance at becoming champion. Dos Santos is a solid #2 in the division but it’s clear he can’t beat Velasquez unless it involves a singular, spectacular strike. The heavyweight champion picked JDS apart for the second straight time, leaving the Brazilian’s face a bloody mess by bout’s end. “Cigano” should bounce back nicely as he did after the first stumble to Velasquez, taking out his frustration on some unlucky individual. However, he’ll need to wait awhile for a satisfactory foe to become available. If Alistair Overeem beats Frank Mir in February the UFC should finally match Dos Santos with “The Demolition Man” and satisfy the rivalry that developed when the former held gold and the latter was a top contender. Josh Barnett and Travis Browne are also set for a showdown, albeit in late December, and each would also make for an interesting challenge.
Based on the number of knockouts and the amount of blood shed there were obviously some serious losers last weekend when it came to the lineup for
. Though the show was highly memorable for fans, it should ultimately stand out for a couple of fighters as well whose heads are now on the chopping block as a result of their in-ring stumbles. That being said, a few of the less fortunate competitors are sure to be back in the Octagon come 2014 and ready to show their recent stumbles were simply speed-bumps rather than indicative of their future prospects. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC 166