When Vinny Magalhaes reached the finals of "The Ultimate Fighter 8" against Ryan Bader, many felt he was ready to move onto greatness. Instead, Bader caught him with a right hand behind his ear and delivered several unanswered blows before the referee could stop the fight.
Despite the loss, Magalhaes got another fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but lost to Eliot Marshall and saw his release from the promotion. He then won his first two fights outside the UFC via submission before losing to Pedro Galiza at Shark Fights 9. That was the last time Magalhaes left a cage without a victory.
Magalhaes won five straight, including an M-1 Global light heavyweight title victory. In his first title defense, he beat Mikhail Zayats but has since gone five months without a fight. The most recent news about Magalhaes was that he has fulfilled his obligation with the company and is now a free agent.
In a sport that doesn't have many blockbuster free agents currently available, how hard will Zuffa work to land the former TUF finalist? If they make the move to bring him back, will he be placed in the UFC or Strikeforce?
I think Magalhaes would be a perfect fit in both promotions, but right now, Strikeforce seems like the best option. Strikeforce doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon and the promotion needs as many talented fighters as they can sign if they want to stay relevant in the sport. They haven't had a champion since Dan Henderson left for the UFC and their biggest name, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, is suspended because of a failed drug test. The addition of a world class fighter like Magalhaes would only boost the credibility of the division.
If Magalhaes were to join the UFC, there is a good chance that he would get lost in their talent-rich division. At least with Strikeforce, he can work his way to the title and move to the UFC when he's ready to compete for the title of being the best. It's not to say he can't compete with Jon Jones right now, but there is no point in rushing things. He rushed things once in his career and it nearly cost him his fighting future. Now a wiser person and fighter, Magalhaes won't let the success get to his head as he hopes to reach the top of the light heavyweight division.
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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