michael-bisping-30.jpgJoe Silva’s Shoes: What’s next for the UFC Fight Night 30 winners? “UFC Fight Night 30: Machida vs. Munoz” was a night filled with up-and-comers, UFC veterans and potential title contenders.

Lyoto Machida (20-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) stole the show in the main event with a first-round knockout of Mark Munoz (13-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in his middleweight debut, and with a few more impressive performances, the former light-heavyweight champion will be well on his way to a title shot in the middleweight champion.

In the co-main event of the night, Melvin Guillard (31-12-2 MMA, 12-8 UFC) and Ross Pearson (15-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) fought to an unfortunate no-contest plagued by controversy while Jimi Manuwa (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) also earned a somewhat unsatisfying win against Ryan Jimmo (18-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in a featured bout.

Rounding out the card, “TUF” winner Norman Parke (19-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) remained undefeated in the octagon, Nicholas Musoke (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) submitted a tough veteran in his UFC debut, and John Lineker (23-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) put his punching power on display once again in the main-card opener.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Joe Silva’s (and Sean Shelby’s) shoes, and play UFC matchmaker.

JOHN LINEKER
Should fight: John Dodson
Why they should fight: Lineker’s days as a flyweight should be over, but it seems he may give it one more shot despite being just the second fighter in UFC history to miss weight on three separate occasions.

Despite the fact Lineker completely dominated and knocked out an overmatched Phil Harris (22-11 MMA, 1-2 UFC), his performance has been overshadowed by his consistent inability to make the flyweight weight limit.

Normally it would be three strikes and you’re out for the Brazilian; however, it seems he may opt to put off a speculated move to bantamweight with a switch in camps to American Top Team in his future.

If the UFC brass opts to give the Brazilian one more shot at flyweight, a matchup with fellow power-puncher Dodson (15-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) would be a tremendous fight to determine the next flyweight title contender.

NICHOLAS MUSOKE
Should fight: Tom Watson
Why they should fight: Musoke and Watson (16-6 MMA, 1-2 UFC) aren’t going to be contending for UFC titles anytime soon, but their styles mesh well, and a matchup between them would likely provide a standup war that would bring the fans to their feet.

If this bout were to be booked, look for it to take place on one of the UFC’s many upcoming events in Europe, where both fighters reside.

NORMAN PARKE
Should fight: John Makdessi
Why they should fight: The UFC’s lightweight division is a shark tank loaded with so much talent that there are really few matchups people can disagree with.

Parke has proven he can hang with UFC-level talent by starting his career in the organization 3-0; however, it’s not going to get any easier from here.

To continue working his way up the ladder, Parke needs to test himself against a solid mid-tier fighter who has an established name under the UFC banner. Seven-fight UFC vet Makdessi (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is the perfect opponent.

Parke has earned all of his UFC victories by out-striking his opponents, but the Canadian would give him a handful in that department and perhaps force the “TUF: Smashes” winner to showcase other elements of his game.

JIMI MANUWA
Should fight: Thiago Silva
Why they should fight: A fight between Manuwa and Silva (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is a reward and a punishment for both guys, depending on who you are.

For Manuwa, fighting Silva after his injury TKO of Ryan Jimmo (18-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) would be a solid step up in both quality of opposition and name value. A win over Silva would help take Manuwa to the next level in the light heavyweight division.

As for the Brazilian, despite owning back-to-back wins, it won’t be forgotten that he badly missed weight for his most recent fight and needs to get back in the good graces of the UFC brass.

Facing Manuwa would be a step down in the rankings from his most recent opponents, but before getting any career-changing opportunities, Silva must prove he can make weight and defeat someone like Manuwa, who is rising up the 205-pound pecking order.

MELVIN GUILLARD AND ROSS PEARSON
Should fight: Rematch
Why they should fight: There is tremendous controversy surrounding the result of the UFC Fight Night 30 co-main event, and the UFC made the right call by announcing a rematch between Guillard and Pearson for March of next year.

The legality of Guillard’s knees that led to the no-contest is an irrelevant debate at this point, but the fact of the matter is up until the anticlimactic ending, the two lightweights were putting on an entertaining battle.

The fighters and the fans were left with a bad taste in their mouth, and hopefully the rematch will provide a more definitive ending.

LYOTO MACHIDA
Should fight: Michael Bisping
Why they should fight: Bisping (24-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) originally was scheduled to compete against Mark Munoz in the UFC Fight Night 30 main event before withdrawing from the card due to a serious eye injury.

It is unknown exactly when “The Count” will be ready to get back in the cage, but the UFC has announced another trip to England for early March, and it would make all the sense in the world to have Bisping on the card to make it up to the fans in his home country.

Bisping is still sidelined with an eye injury, but if his ideal recovery scenario plays out without any flaws and he can return for the card in London, who better to face than the man who replaced him at Saturday’s event?

“The Dragon” made an emphatic statement against Munoz in his 185-pound debut and became an immediate contender for Chris Weidman’s title.

There is no shortage of big fights for Machida in his new weight class, but Bisping’s following is as strong as it gets, which would make for a big fight between the two.

Bisping is still searching for that signature win that will get him a title shot, and Machida provides that opportunity. For the former champion, a win over the charismatic Brit could be his path to a belt as well.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 30, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Michael Bisping)

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