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 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw, which took place on May 24 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao

Since a loss in his MMA debut, Renan Barao has not lost. With the exception of a no-contest, he had beaten every man who stood in his path en route to solidifying his position as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Then T.J. Dillashaw showed up.

Dillashaw entered Saturday night as an 8-to-1 underdog, but he put on a dominant display to dethrone the champion with a fifth-round TKO victory. It was an incredible performance that should be considered among the best of the year.

But if it wasn’t for an injury to Raphael Assuncao, Dillashaw wouldn’t have even had the opportunity. Lingering injuries forced the UFC to turn to Dillashaw over the Brazilian. Now, the obvious move to make is to have Assuncao challenge the new champ.

The two men fought on Oct. 9, with Assuncao earning a very close split decision. The Brazilian added another win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 170, and with six straight victories, he’s more than deserving of a title shot.

As for Barao, he can’t count on an immediate rematch. His camp can bargin for it, but the likes of Alexander Gustafsson and Robbie Lawler didn’t get immediate rematches after very close fights. Barao was dominated, meaning he’ll have to win at least one non-title fight to get a second chance.

Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson winner

If Daniel Cormier’s massive throw of Dan Henderson didn’t wake up current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, maybe Cormier’s rear-naked choke finish did.

Cormier hasn’t lost anything since moving down to 205 pounds, and his dominant performance over “Hendo” certainly puts him in a position to fight the winner of Jones and Alexander Gustafsson next. Those two are expected to rematch at UFC 177 on Aug. 30.

The only thing keeping Cormier away from a title shot next is the timing. With Jones-Gustafsson not taking place until late summer, Cormier won’t get the winner until probably 2015. UFC President Dana White said he’d like “DC” to stay active, and there is a good chance Cormier will fight one more time.

But in terms of who should be next, it’s a five-round battle with UFC gold on the line.

Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown

If it wasn’t for the main and co-main events, Robbie Lawler’s dominant display against Jake Ellenberger would be the talk of the town.

Lawler completely outclassed Ellenberger en route to a third-round TKO win, giving him his first victory since losing to champion Johny Hendricks in March.

Up next for “Ruthless” should be a fight against Matt Brown, who is coming off an impressive performance over Erick Silva on May 10. I wrote about this match-up in the UFC Fight Night 40 edition of Fight Destiny, and it is a fight that needs to happen sooner than later.

It’s a fight that has barroom brawl written all over it.

The winner would emerge as the favorite for a title shot, but we have to remember how stacked the division is. You still have Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley and Hector Lombard vs. Dong Hyun Kim coming up, so there is no clear front-runner to face Hendricks at 170 pounds just yet.

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Johnny Eduardo

After years of battling the best fighters in the WEC, Takeya Mizugaki is getting the credit he deserves. The Japanese fighter received a spot on the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 173 card, and he capitalized by earning his fifth straight victory with a unanimous decision nod over Francisco Rivera.

Mizugaki currently sits at No. 6 in the division, and he is knocking on the door in a now wide-open bantamweight division. Don’t count him out. He could be fighting for the belt soon.

However, before he makes a bid for the title, he should go up against Johnny Eduardo, who is coming off a stunning knockout over top-five fighter Eddie Wineland.

Eduardo has exploded onto the bantamweight scene with back-to-back wins, and considering he beat a guy like Wineland, the Nova Uniao product could see a No. 1 contender fight come his way if he is able to top Mizugaki.

James Krause vs. Tony Ferguson

James Krause and Tony Ferguson, two lightweights, were victorious on Saturday. Their victories allow them to climb another notch in the deep division.

To kick off the pay-per-view, Krause met Jamie Varner in a promising clash. However, Varner suffered a broken ankle during the fight and the bout was stopped at the end of round one. Yet, it’s a positive for Krause, who lost in controversial fashion in his last fight against Bobby Green.

Meanwhile, Ferguson added another win on the preliminary card, where he defeated Katsunori Kikuno by TKO in the first round. “El Cucuy” is coming on strong since dropping a fight to Michael Johnson, and he has the ability to challenge several names at 155 pounds.

Krause vs.Ferguson shapes up to be a great match-up in terms of styles, with both men being well rounded. Big things could come for the victor.

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.