Following every UFC and Strikeforce event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, we will focus on two events that occurred on back-to-back nights: UFC on FX 6: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson, which took place on Dec. 14 from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland, Australia, and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Dec. 15.

Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Roy “Big Country” Nelson was expected to face rival coach of The Ultimate Fighter 16 Shane Carwin on Saturday, but Carwin was forced out due to injury. Nelson instead took on replacement Matt Mitrione and defeated his former castmate of season ten by TKO in the first round.

Nelson now has two knockout wins under his belt and is making his case to be considered a top-10 heavyweight.

“Big Country” may not be there yet, but he is on the borderline. A win over a guy like Cheick Kongo could boost him in the rankings.

Kongo has been with the UFC since 2006 and has compiled a solid record while competing inside the Octagon. After losing to Mark Hunt, the French fighter came back to defeat Shawn Jordan by decision in July.

A fight between Nelson and Kongo would be a great fight between two of the most experienced heavyweights in the UFC. With both men in their upper thirties, they will need to keep winning if they want to be considered a legitimate threat.

Ross Pearson vs. Yves Edwards

In the main event of UFC on FX 6, Ross Pearson defeated his rival The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes coach George Sotiropoulos by TKO in round three.

The bout was the return to 155 pounds for Pearson after a short stint at featherweight. “The Real Deal” feels much more comfortable at lightweight, and the impressive performance on Friday puts him back in the mix.

A fight for Pearson that makes a lot of sense is against veteran Yves Edwards, who is coming off a knockout victory over Jeremy Stephens at UFC on Fox 5 last weekend.

Both men are very experienced and present a good stylistic match-up. The lightweights have demonstrated that they have power in their hands lately, and if matched up, they would deliver a “Fight of the Night” type of bout to entertain fans.

Hector Lombard vs. Chris Weidman

After a disappointing Octagon debut at UFC 149 against Tim Boetsch, former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard impressed in his sophomore outing against Rousimar Palhares. Lombard knocked out the Brazilian in the opening round to show that his debut was just a fluke.

With a win under his belt, the Cuban-born fighter is ready to go after the top middleweights in the world. Lombard called out Michael Bisping after the fight, but that is unlikely to happen. If Bisping defeats Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7, the Brit will more than likely be next in line for a title shot. Lombard will have to look elsewhere for his next bout.

Instead, Lombard should have called out Chris Weidman, who is at the top of the heap at 185 pounds. Weidman was expected to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155, but was forced out due to injury. After having successful surgery on his shoulder, Weidman is eying an early 2013 return.

If all goes well in his recovery, Weidman will be back with good timing to fight Lombard. This is a fight fans want to see, and it would be huge for both men. Whoever comes out on top will without a doubt be the next top contender for Anderson Silva.

Pat Barry vs. Gabriel Gonzaga/Ben Rothwell winner

Even while being doubted once again, Pat Barry delivered on Saturday by coming back in the second round to knock out Shane Del Rosario.

The win was huge for “HD” after he went just 1-3 in his previous four fights. Barry certainly isn’t a contender yet, but he is entertaining, well liked, and delivers with “Knockout of the Night” performances.

Up next for Barry should be the winner of Gabriel Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell, who are set to meet at UFC on FX 7 on Jan. 19.

Gonzaga and Rothwell are two tough heavyweights, and whichever one Barry gets will test him without a doubt. It would also be another fun match-up as all three men are known for their knockout ability.

Dustin Poirier vs. Clay Guida/Hatsu Hioki winner

After a “Fight of the Year”-worthy bout with Chan Sung Jung in his last outing, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier returned to the Octagon on Saturday by defeating Jonathan Brookins by submission in the opening round.

Poirier lost his No. 1 contender status in his loss the Jung, but with a couple more wins can earn it back.

The featherweight division has become of the most stacked divisions in the UFC. Smaller lightweights have been dropping down to 145 to get a size advantage over their opponent.

One such fighter is Clay Guida, who had a long stint at 155 pounds before dropping down to featherweight. Guida takes on Hatsu Hioki on Jan. 26 at UFC on Fox 6, where the winner could be up next to fight Poirier.

Poirier is back on track, but will have to fight at least one more time before earning a title shot as new contenders are emerging. But fighting the winner of Guida and Hioki will be another test for him to prove he still is the biggest threat to champion Jose Aldo.

Chad Mendes vs. Erik Koch/Ricardo Lamas winner

Chad Mendes has had some quick finishes lately, his last being on Friday when he took out late replacement Yaotzin Meza by knockout in the first round.

While putting away guys early is impressive, Mendes needs to fight someone in the top 10 next. No offense to Cody McKenzie or Meza, but “Money” needs to defeat a quality opponent if he wants to get a rematch against Aldo.

When looking at the stacked featherweight division, an upcoming match-up Mendes should keep an eye on is Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas at UFC on Fox 6 on Jan. 26.

Koch was expected to fight Aldo in the summer, but “New Breed” was injured and replaced by Frankie Edgar. Lamas is currently on a three-fight winning streak, including victories over contenders Cub Swanson and Hatsu Hioki.

This is a big fight for the division, and the winner could be next for Mendes. Koch and Mendes have fought before in 2010 at WEC 47, but Koch would be willing to fight him again to avenge the lone loss of his career.

Whether it’s Koch or Lamas, either would be a great fight for “Money” in his quest to have another crack at the belt.

Photo: Hector Lombard (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.