During the UFC’s triumphant return across the pond, which emanated from the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, Stefan Struve pulled out an upset victory, derailing the surging Stipe Miocic in their heavyweight bout with a second round of TKO. The evening’s hometown hero, Dan Hardy, was also victorious, taking a lopsided unanimous decision victory over TUF winner Amir Sadollah.
The time to look at what comes next for the evening’s marquee fighters is now.
Stefan Struve: Although Struve picked up a quality win against Miocic, the nearly seven-foot-tall Dutchman finds himself in the unenviable position of de facto gatekeeper to the heavyweight division. One can’t ignore the fact that every time “The Skyscraper” has faced a higher level off opposition, he has lost and done so convincingly. The fact remains that Struve can’t just sit in the middle of the road and pick off potential prospects and b-level heavyweights. The gargantuan Dutchman is on a four-fight win-streak and should face a step up in competition his next time out. Struve would like to face Fabricio Werdum in his next bout, given that the Brazilian has no current fight in the works, a bout between the two seems ideal.
Next up: Fabricio Werdum
Stipe Miocic: The prospect from Ohio looked solid in his first round against Struve, but the cardio issues of Miocic came back to haunt him in the second stanza. The Strong Style Fight Team product still needs more time to develop in some of the more nuanced areas of the fight game. One promising match-up would be a tilt with Pat Barry that would have fireworks written all over it.
Ideally: Pat Barry
Dan Hardy: After the tough run that was the last two years of his MMA career, Dan Hardy is beginning to put together another winning streak. However, it can not be ignored that “The Outlaw” is 2-4 in his last 6 outings. Hardy still has some work to do if he wants to work his way back to anywhere near the top of the welterweight division. What the UFC wants is obvious, they are going to continue matching the slugger with someone likeminded who will stand and trade with him. Given his recent outings, a match-up with Thiago Alves, who is also on a 2-4 run, seems to be the most promising option.
Hopefully: Thiago Alves
Amir Sadollah: The former TUF winner finds himself in an interesting place as he is 2-2 in his four most recent bouts and has competed against nearly everyone even remotely near his divisional standing. The narrative of Sadollah’s career is simple, as sad as that sounds, once Amir loses, he gets takes a step down in competition. A bout with Yoshihiro Akiyama seems like a good option, but he will more than likely face someone along the lines of Simeon Thoresen or Charlie Brenneman who is also coming off of a recent loss.
Probably: Simeon Thoresen or Charlie Brenneman