Sadly, it appears Edwards’ career is winding down to the end. He’s 37 years old and fallen in three straight showdowns. Though two were Split Decisions, neither came to particularly notable opposition and his knockout loss to Medeiros occurred less than three minutes into their match-up. Odds are high he’ll be released in the coming weeks and land a deal with either WSOF or Legacy FC (based on his Texas roots) shortly thereafter. De Randamie’s reputation in kickboxing may be near flawless but she’s failed to find that same success in MMA. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been a matter of being out-classed on the mat either, as a few of her losses can be directly attributed to stand-up. She will get another shot in the Octagon after beating Julie Kedzie in her debut but is on thin ice. Given the division’s lack of relative depth, look for De Randamie to end up facing Liz Carmouche or Sarah Kaufman in early 2014. Roop is an entertaining fighter but can’t seem to string together consistent success and has a questionable jaw in terms of durability. He’s finished the likes of Chan Sung Jung and Brian Bowles, so there’s no reason to send Roop into free agency, but 2014 will serve as a crucial year in the 31-year old’s career based on his knockout to Rivera. If Brad Pickett says at 135 instead of dropping to flyweight as teased, he would be an excellent option as a veteran with similar divisional status and name value who is also in need of a win. Additionally, each man employs an exciting style in the cage and would no doubt entertain fans if paired together. Smith is one of the most disappointing TUF winners to come along in some time. He’s a good guy and represents a great cause but his skill level is simply not where it needs to be to compete in the UFC’s lightweight division. He’s shown little improvement since his stint on the reality franchise and is now on a two-fight skid with stoppages in each defeat. On the bright side, Smith is only 26 so he has time to improve. If he is able to eventually focus completely on MMA instead of splitting time with a job in the military, the future could be bright. If not, and his chin continues to fail, Smith will fizzle out. He’s got one more fight’s worth of wiggle room before being released, but don’t expect the UFC to do him any favors where matchmaking is concerned. Opponents like K.J. Noons and Jon Tuck are realistic possibilities based on availability/standing. Markes should have no problem bouncing back from his TKO loss to Romero. The bout was closely contested for the most part and Romero looked to be in the best shape of his MMA career. Plus, the 25-year old Markes had won seven in a row prior to the stumble. Tim Boetsch could come into play if the UFC still has faith in Markes’ abilities, though a slightly less-established foe like C.B. Dollaway or Chris Camozzi seems more likely. It’s hard to call Carmouche a loser after giving such a spirited performance but there was no doubt Davis was the better woman on Wednesday night. “Girl-Rilla” is a good wrestler with solid power, so she’ll always be a tough draw, but she’s still fairly raw with only thirteen fights under her belt. Her stand-up can be a bit too bouncy at times and she leaves herself open for damage. With only thirteen other women on the UFC roster including champ Ronda Rousey, there aren’t a lot of directions Carmouche can head. As mentioned earlier, Germaine de Randamie makes sense. One of the Ultimate Fighter 18 contestants could work as well a la Shayna Baszler who Carmouche has yet to face in her career. Natal’s hope of making a run at the title in 2014 ended this week with a resounding thud when Tim Kennedy KO’d him in the opening round of the evening’s main event. Prior to the defeat, he’d won a trio of tilts, so there’s no reason to think Natal can’t get back on track with the right opponent. Since he’ll need some time off to recover from the effects of being blasted into orbit, Natal is likely to receive one of the many middleweights slated for competition in the coming months rather than a 185er currently twiddling his thumbs. Candidates include Thales Leites, Ed Herman, Uriah Hall, and Chris Leben.
With no Draws on display,
produced two clearly defined groups of fighters based on success in the Octagon or lack thereof. The show featured eight finishes including five of the first-frame variety in addition to some well-scored decisions. While the event wasn’t necessarily the end of the road for every individual who came up short, few jobs are guaranteed when it comes to defeat on the sport’s biggest stage. Here’s a look at what might be next for some of the card’s less-fortunate folks… (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 31