Fantasy Matchmaker: UFC Sweden - NBC Sports

Fantasy Matchmaker: UFC Sweden
What's next for the fighters after last week's event?
April 18, 2012, 12:04 pm

Alexander Gustafsson beating Thiago Silva via unanimous decision highlighted the UFC's first event in six weeks. It was an impressive performance, despite some hoping to see a little more killer instinct from the Swede in the decisive third round.

But the best news about the UFC holding its first event in six weeks last Saturday in Sweden has to be the return of the Fantasy Matchmaker, right? OK, don't answer that question. To the fights we go ...

Alexander Gustafsson: Ryan Bader.
"The Mauler" continues to show off improved striking, but I think it's time we see how far his wrestling has come. That's why I think the Bader match-up makes most sense. A win for either man in this fight would without a doubt propel them into the top-5 of the light heavyweight division.

Brian Stann: Winner of Belcher vs. Palhares.
We all know Stann can punch with the best of them, but I think a fight against the winner of the May 5th Belcher vs. Palhares fight would tell us how far his jiu-jitsu has come since his loss to Chael Sonnen last October. Plus, a win over Belcher or Palhares would put Stann, as UFC president Dana White loves to say, right back "in the mix" at 185 pounds.

Siyar Bahadurzada: Winner of Silva vs. Brenneman.
I'm tempted to pick someone like Nick Diaz here, but the truth is we don't know when Diaz is coming back and I don't think the UFC will push Bahadurzada up the ladder that quickly. So I would like to see him against the supremely talented Erick Silva, who Bahadurzada was originally supposed to fight in his UFC debut before breaking his hand, or the gritty wrestler Charlie Brenneman, who would surely test the Afghan's ground game. The Silva-Brenneman tilt takes place on June 8.

Dennis Siver: TBA.
The UFC could go in many directions with Siver after his win over Diego Nunes on Saturday. My top three choices would be 1) Ricardo Lamas, 2) Erik Koch, 3) Ross Pearson. Siver and Pearson have already fought at 155 pounds, so I would rather see them fight someone else, however, my top two choices have been banged up lately, so the timing may not work out.

John Maguire: Winner of Brown vs. Thompson.
The "Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu" player has won seven in a row, including two straight in the UFC, which means it's time to take a small step up in a competition. A fight against either the hard-hitting Matt Brown or the dynamic Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson would be the right kind of test.

Brad Pickett: Winner of Torres vs. McDonald.
Pickett's loss to Renan Barao shouldn't move him too far down the ladder, especially after looking so good in his win over Damacio Page on Saturday, so a fight against top contenders Miguel Torres or Michael McDonald, who meet at UFC 145, would help create another top contender at 135 pounds.

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