Stefan Struve vs. Fabricio Werdum

At only 24 years old, Stefan Struve is now flirting with the top-10 heavyweight rankings after a knockout win over Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 5.

“Skyscraper” has all the tools to become a champion one day, with a seven-foot frame, solid striking, and an excellent ground game. The question is, can Struve put it all together to make his way up to get a title shot?

According to him, he thinks so. In fact, in the post-fight press conference, Struve called out one of the top heavyweights, Fabricio Werdum. Struve says he’d like to fight him, and in the UFC, when a guy calls someone out, it usually ends up becoming a future match-up.

So, why not match the two up in a major heavyweight bout?

Werdum is a true veteran of the sport and, like Struve, is comfortable wherever the fight goes. It will be interesting to see if “Skyscraper” can get past a tough guy like Werdum to move just one fight away from a possible title shot.

Dan Hardy vs. Josh Neer

A new, improved Dan Hardy is climbing back up the rankings, ladies and gentlemen.

Hardy earned an impressive unanimous decision over Amir Sadollah in his hometown of Nottingham on Saturday, as he used his striking and improved wrestling to get his hand raised. This is something fans aren’t used to seeing from “The Outlaw,” but it appears he is a better overall fighter now.

A fight I’d like to see, and I’m sure fans feel the same way, is Hardy versus Josh Neer. If Neer gets past Justin Edwards this Saturday at UFC on FX 5, he should fight Hardy next.

You could make a case for the Brit to move up into the top 15 of the division, but I feel differently. Sure, he’s won two straight, but they were over two guys who have been inconsistent lately (Duane Ludwig and Sadollah).

Neer lost to Mike Pyle in his last fight and is trying to get back in rhythm. But the main reason I like this fight is the styles of both men. Neer has finished 29 of his 33 opponents beaten, and is solid both standing and on the mat. I’d like to see how Hardy fares against a guy with striking much like his own, and how he’ll handle the grappling ability of Neer.

Brad Pickett vs. Michael McDonald

Earning “Knockout of the Night” honors on Saturday was Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who used one punch—an uppercut—to rock Yves Jabouin in their bout.

After a loss to Renan Barao in Nov. 2011, Pickett has won his last two fights and is once again in the mix of 135-pound fighters.

With Barao set to fight bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz sometime in 2013 possibly, and Urijah Faber out of the mix, the door is open for a new contender to emerge once the score is settled between Cruz and Barao. This is where Pickett comes in.

Another contender who is making a name for himself is Michael McDonald, who is 4-0 in the UFC. In fact, “Mayday” hasn’t lost since 2009, when he suffered his lone loss, and would give Pickett a very tough fight.

Pickett vs. McDonald would without a doubt be a war. The two have a combined for 30 finishes, so expect fireworks if the two are matched up in the future. This is a fight that could go five rounds, which would determine a new No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division.

Matt Wiman vs. Mark Bocek/Rafael dos Anjos winner

A new lightweight is quietly working his way up the ranks in the UFC.

His name is Matt Wiman, and he is 5-1 in his last six fights, including an armbar submission over Paul Sass on Saturday. Wiman used Sass’ strength against him by submitting the grappling ace in the first round.

Wiman is now ready for an even larger step up in competition to solidify his status as a true contender.

Canadian Mark Bocek will take on Rafael dos Anjos on Nov. 17 at UFC 154, where the winner will move up to roughly where Wiman is in the rankings. Whoever comes out on top in that bout makes perfect sense to fight “Handsome” next.

It wouldn’t be a fight to determine a No. 1 contender, but another win from Wiman could put him near the top.

John Hathaway vs. Mike Pierce/Aaron Simpson winner

Two of England’s top welterweights went face to face on Saturday, with John Hathaway defeating John Maguire by decision in Nottingham.

Hathaway is on a three-fight winning streak now, but he is still young at only 25 years old. Meaning, the UFC shouldn’t put him inside the cage against a top-10 welterweight just yet.

To build him up, matchmakers should give Hathaway the winner of Mike Pierce vs. Aaron Simpson, who will meet Saturday at UFC on FX 5.

Both Pierce and Simpson are big, strong wrestlers that will give Hathaway a big test. However, “The Hitman” appears to be a future star, so be aware of this Englishman in the future.

Che Mills vs. Kyle Noke

His win may have been the result of an injury suffered by Duane Ludwig, but a win is a win as Che Mills got his hand raised on Saturday. Ludwig verbally submitted after landing awkwardly, giving Mills the TKO.

Up next for Mills should be a guy like Kyle Noke.

“KO” Noke won impressively in his fight on Sept. 22 by putting away Charlie Brenneman via TKO in just 45 seconds, so Mills would be given a test.

Mills is also a very good striker, so this would be the same type of a fight fans were expecting out of Mills vs. Ludwig.

Photo: Stefan Struve (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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.