UFC Singapore is in the books and was a great way to open up the 2014 MMA year. There were plenty of standout performances on the card which create some interesting match-ups going forward. Here are the five matches the UFC has to make after UFC Singapore.
1. Tarec Saffiedine vs. Matt Brown: Even though Matt Brown doesn’t have as sexy of a name as let’s say a Carlos Condit, he’s one of the very few top welterweights coming off a win and not yet booked. Brown’s always move forward and go for the knockout style provides a stark contrast to Saffiedine’s technical striking style. Against Hyun Gyu Lim, we saw Saffiedine nearly get finished by a one legged fighter in the fifth round who was pushing forward with wreckless abandon. Brown wouldn’t save that push for the fifth and if he has recovered from injury would make for a great match-up with the former Strikeforce champ.
2. Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Jordan Mein: Lim was battered but not beaten in his five round decision loss to Tarec Saffiedine. The South Korean proved to the world that he won’t fold when times get tough. A great match-up for him would be fellow striker Jordan Mein. Mein became the first man to finish Dan Miller at UFC 158 with a first round TKO only to fall short against Matt Brown in his next fight. This bout has a knockout finish written all over it and would look great on a Fox Sports One prelim card in the near future.
3. Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Dustin Poirier: Kawajiri had to weather an early storm from young Sean Soriano in his UFC debut but proved to the world that he is as good as advertised. After dominating the second half of round one with ground and pound, Kawajiri went into the second round looking for more of the same. A quick takedown and some transitions later, Kawajiri locked in a rear naked choke submitting Soriano just 50 seconds into round two. Kawajiri is thirty-five years old so time is not on his side and must be put on the fast track to a title shot. Put him in a number one contenders bout with Dustin Poirier to see if he truly is an upper echelon featherweight.
4. Kyung-Ho Kang vs. Dustin Kimura: Both Kyung-Ho Kang and Dustin Kimura had impressive wins at UFC Singapore and should be matched against each other. Kang needed to prove himself in his bout with Shunichi Shimizu to erase his 0-2 start in the UFC. Kang proved that the hype that followed him into the UFC was warranted thrashing Shimizu for two rounds before submitting him with an arm-triangle in the third. Kimura fought through a rough first round against Jon Delos Reyes pulling off a comeback armbar in that very same round. Both Kimura and Kang are at similar places in their UFC careers and a win against the other would boost their respective stocks immensely.
5. Max Holloway vs. Andre Fili: Who doesn’t like a good striker vs. striker matchup? Holloway currently holds a 4-3 record in the UFC and has been struggling with being consistent. A matchup against relative UFC newcomer Fili would both entertain the fans and give each fighter a chance to hone their skills before getting matched up with the division’s elite. Team Alpha Male product Andre Fili impressed in his UFC debut this past October TKOing Jeremy Larsen in the second round. A win over a seven fight UFC veteran like Holloway would skyrocket Fili’s standing exponentially. This match-up is just way too good for the UFC not to make.