UFC 104 Aftermath: What Now?
First and foremost, congratulations to the four fighters that repped WI at UFC 104. Although Patrick Barry was the only one to come away victorious, everyone showed tremendous heart and fortitude. Al-Hassan missed out on a close split decision, Schafer had a fierce battle with "Darth" Bader, and Rothwell was perhaps the victim of an early stoppage.
So now that UFC 104 is officially in the books how do the results affect the divisions within the UFC?
Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Rua
First, anyone that saw this fight would have to agree that it was definitely a close fight, and worthy of a rematch. Well, Dana White agrees and has already gone on record stating that there should be a rematch, and that he thinks it should be right away. So it appears that Machida and Rua are poised to have another battle immediately.
Ben Rothwell vs Cain Velasquez
Velasquez dominated Rothwell in round one, and was controlling the fight early in round two, yet some believe that the ref stopped the fight early. Well, regardless if the fight was stopped early or not, Rothwell will not be getting an immediate rematch.
Velasquez has defeated two very impressive heavyweights in his last two fights, and is now 5-0 in the UFC. He is poised to make a run at the UFC Heavyweight Title and most likely will take on the winner of the Lesnar vs Carwin fight.
Rothwell obviously had a tough debut in the UFC and will take a step backwards after his one sided loss. But not to worry, the Wisconsinite has an outstanding pedigree and could potentially fight the winner of UFC 107's Todd Duffee vs Paul Buentello, or perhaps the loser of UFC 107's Frank Mir vs Cheick Kongo. Either way Rothwell will be back, and no doubt better than ever, however with only about twenty heavyweights on the UFC roster, Rothwell will have to wait a bit before finding out who his next opponent will be.
Eric Schafer vs Ryan Bader
Eric "Red" Schafer may want to think about using the name "Survivor Man" after weathering several storms of heavy hail from Baders fists to prove that he has the heart to be a true UFC fighter.
Bader moves one step closer to contendership with the win, but will have to win several more fights before getting a shot at the title. The light-heavyweight division is so deep; it will be interesting to see who the UFC puts in front of the Arizona Combat Sports fighter next.
Schafer now holds a 3-3 record in the UFC and will still play a "gatekeeper" role in the light-heavyweight division. There are two fighters that stand out as possible opponents for the Fond Du Lac native, both ex-TUF cast members. Kyle Kingsbury who just beat Razak Al-Hassan to move to 1-1 in the UFC, or Eliot Marshall who is 3-0 in the UFC are possible opponents. Neither fighter has faced anyone to the level of "Red" so the fight would be a step up in competition for both fighters, and a lateral one for Schafer.
Pat Barry vs Antoni Hardonk
Many people thought that this fight would determine who the best striker is in the UFC heavyweight division and in knockout fashion Barry reigned supreme. Barry moves to 2-1 in the UFC while Hardonk falls to 4-4.
With limited fighters in a UFC division with their smallest roster, Barry could fight the same people that Rothwell may face. Duffee, Buentello, the loser of Mir vs Kongo and Heath Herring are all people that would be considered a step up in competition for Barry. The UFC could also decide to give Barry one more lateral fight before moving into the next tier of talent; Mustapha Al Turk and Stefan Struve would fit this category. No matter what, Barry has shown that he is one of the most electrifying heavyweight fighters in the division and that he will be making waves in the division for some time.
Razak Al-Hassan vs Kyle Kingsbury
Unfortunately for Al-Hassan this loss really hurts; he's now (0-2 in the UFC) in one of the most competitive divisions in the organization. The possibility that Al-Hassan may have to win a couple of fights outside the UFC before coming back is very real. However, he could get one more fight against a newcomer due to the fact that he was competitive against Kingsbury.
UFC 104 is officially in the books and WI fighters went 1-3, yet it still says a lot about WI and Roufusport that we even had four fighters on one card. Surely the fighters will take this as a learning opportunity and will come back better than ever.