Roger Gracie vs. winner of Ronny Markes vs. Andrew Craig
Gracie is still a bit of an unknown commodity, and through seven professional bouts, it is unsure what will come of his foray into mixed martial arts. He has beaten some tough veterans, but the only time he fought someone of worth – Muhammed Lawal – he was promptly knocked out . Markes and Craig are both legitimate fighters who have been slowly making a name for themselves in the Octagon. The winner of their bout could welcome Gracie to the cage and test how good he really is.
Pat Healy vs. Joe Lauzon
Healy really has been given the hard road to the Octagon, but part of that is due to his style and record. While his total record stands at a mediocre 29-16, his lightweight record is much better at 8-1. He deserves a shot in the UFC, and his grinding style should be tested. Lauzon just lost a tough fight, and even though Healy’s usual modus operandi can lead to some boring fights, against Lauzon it will be highly entertaining.
Tim Kennedy vs. Jake Shields
Kennedy had strong words for the fighters who all the sudden were too injured to compete at Strikeforce’s final show. He showed up, however, and put on a vintage performance, earning a tap out via guillotine in the third round. He will arrive in the UFC to little fanfare due to other, bigger names, but Shields would give him a great challenge in his first Octagon fight. Shields will test his wrestling and grappling acumen, and Kennedy can do the same to Shields.
KJ Noons vs. Melvin Guillard
Both of these fighters’ futures are uncertain based on their last fights. White was unsure if he would cut Guillard, while many people believe that Noons should have won his fight against Ryan Couture. Joe Silva is always keen to match two people up who are close to being cut, so why not give Noons a match-up against Guillard to see who really deserves their spot in the Octagon?
Ryan Couture vs. Mark Bocek
You know Zuffa has to want another Couture in the UFC, especially since Ryan showed a lot of his father’s grit and determination in his bout against Noons. At 30, he has entered the MMA game a bit late, and he should be eased into his UFC career. Bocek has fought some of the best fighters in the world, but he always seems to come up short. He can give Couture fits on the ground, but should not outclass him on the feet. This seems to be a good match-up for the second generation Couture in his debut.