Ronda Rousey certainly lived up to all the hype and expectations on Saturday night. Surviving an early scare, the bantamweight champ took control late in the first round and succeeded in yet another first round arm-bar submission. While the historic main event may have been the selling point of UFC 157, there were several other notable performances worth mentioning.
Here are the fights to make after UFC 157:
1. Ronda Rousey vs. Zingano/Tate winner
Ronda Rousey lived up to all expectations on Saturday night and will forever be remembered for her historic contributions to the UFC. Now with all that behind us, it is time to look at what is next for the champ. UFC President Dana White revealed that 10 women have been signed to the 135lbs division and that will certainly leave Ronda with quite a few potential opponents. Next for the champ should be the winner between Cat Zingao and Miesha Tate. Tate gave Ronda her toughest test under the Strikeforce banner and considering their resentment for one another, a rematch would arguably be a money draw. Training at the Nogueira brothers’ own ‘Black House’, Zingao is no slouch and would also make a tough opponent for the champ.
2. Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans
Dan Henderson suffered a disappointing split decision loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157, halting a 4-fight win streak dating back to December 2010. With no title shot on the horizon, the only logical match-up left for Hendo is Rashad Evans. Evans is coming off a disappointing loss to Rogerio Nogueira and will likely need a big win to remain relevant in the division whilst Hendo needs a big win to convince others that it is not yet time to retire.
3.Robbie Lawler vs. Marquardt/Ellenberger winner
After over nine years away from the octagon, Robbie Lawler made an empathic statement on his first night back, finishing Josh Koscheck in the first round. Lawler struggled against many of the bigger competitors at middleweight but certainly looked comfortable at 170lbs and was able to neutralize Koscheck’s top-notch wrestling. Next for Robbie should be a top 10 ranked fighter and the winner between Nate Marquardt and Jake Ellenberger would be a great option.
4. Brendan Schaub vs. Todd Duffee
Although it was not impressive, Brendan Schaub managed to pick up a unanimous decision victory over the heavy-handed Lavar Johnson to cap off the preliminary portion of the card. After two straight KO losses, no one can blame Schaub for his gameplan during the fight yet there is something to be said about his lack of offense on the ground. Next for Schaub should be Todd Duffee, who recently returned to the octagon with a KO win over Phil De Fries. Duffe has a marginally better ground game that Johnson and will likely be able to keep this fight standing.
5. Michael Chiesa vs. Means/Masvidal winner
TUF winner Michael Chiesa continues to build momentum with another submission win, this time against Finish fighter Anton Kuivanen. The win extended his winning streak to 9-0 and certainly raises his stock in the division. In a stacked lightweight division, it is best not to rush a prospect like Chiesa, instead allowing him to gradually develop. Next should be a match-up against the winner between Tim Means and Jorge Masvidal.