Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on UFC Fight Night 36, which took place on Feb. 15 from the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.

Lyoto Machida vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

The race is on to determine the next No. 1 contender in the middleweight division.

Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza inched one step closer with decision wins on Saturday. They could find themselves fighting each other to determine who’s next for Chris Weidman, who battles Vitor Belfort at UFC 173 on May 24.

In the “Fight of the Night,” Machida defeated Gegard Mousasi via unanimous decision in a five-round main event contest. Meanwhile, Jacare topped Francis Carmont by unanimous decision in the co-headliner. The timing is clearly perfect to pit Machida against Jacare, but there remains one question mark. Machida injured his foot on Saturday. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could bring a halt to the potential match-up.

If the injury turns out to be a non-factor, then the fight makes perfect sense. Once Weidman and Belfort scrap for the belt, the emerging champion won’t probably fight again until the latter part of the year. That leaves plenty of time for Machida and Jacare to meet and determine a true top contender.

The UFC should seek to put this fight together, hopefully with no significant injuries getting in the way. The winner would be guaranteed a title shot.

Erick Silva vs. Mike Pyle-TJ Waldburger winner

Erick Silva knocked out Takenori Sato in the first round on Saturday. The win gives the Brazilian a bounce-back victory following a loss to Dong Hyun Kim.

Silva has been able to tackle each opponent put in front of him, with the exception of the upper echelon of the division. At 29 years old, he should be allowed to continue to progress within the UFC, but not at too quick of a rate. That is why a fight between Silva and the winner of the upcoming contest between Mike Pyle and TJ Waldburger makes sense.

The two welterweights clash on Feb. 22 at UFC 170. Both are trying to bounce back from a loss, just as Silva did, so that aspect increases the probability of the winner drawing Silva next.

Silva needs to step up and beat veteran names at the mid-tier level, and Pyle or Waldburger provide exactly that type of opponent. If the Brazilian can get by someone of that caliber, it could bring about big things for him.

Nicholas Musoke vs. Igor Araujo

With a unanimous decision over Viscardi Andrade, Nicholas Musoke picked up his second UFC win on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has the overall skill set, but still has some work to do to make an impact on the welterweight division. He needs another fight soon, and it should come against Igor Araujo, assuming the Brazilian is able to defeat Danny Mitchell on March 8.

A win over Mitchell will put Araujo at 2-0 inside the Octagon under the tutelage of Greg Jackson’s camp.

Both men are at similar points in their career, only Araujo is six years older. The winner emerges as a fighter not to be overlooked, and the loser falls to the bottom and faces a must-win situation.

Charles Oliveira vs. Hatsu Hioki-Ivan Menjivar winner

Following a hard-fought decision loss to Frankie Edgar in his last bout, Charles Oliveira rebounded with a submission win in Brazil over Andy Ogle. The triangle-choke finish also gave Oliveira “Performance of the Night” honors, the first since the UFC instituted the new reward system.

Up next for Oliveira should be a match-up against the winner of the fight between Hatsu Hioki and Ivan Menjivar, who are set to face off on March 1 at The Ultimate Fighter: China Finale.

Hioki and Menjivar are both in must-win situations, with the loser likely to be released. However, the winner will place himself back in the mix of a stacked 145-pound division. Oliveira, eager to reach the top of the ladder, could capitalize on that type of opponent to make his own statement to the division.

At age 24, “Do Bronx” is still young, but he has fought the likes of Edgar and Cub Swanson before, so he deserves to fight quality competition. Hioki or Menjivar will provide that, and, regardless of who Oliveira faces, it should make for an entertaining fight between a talented pair of grapplers.

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.