This weekend, and into this week, has been a pretty busy one for the MMA world, and with this being the first week in the last couple weeks with no card to look forward to on Saturday, let's take a look at what's happened.
First, from last Saturday's UFC London card, the two main stories were Jimi Manuwa (top left) and Gunnar Nelson (top right), who both picked up huge wins and have established themselves as ready for a big fight next.
For Jimi, he took Corey Anderson's head off, picking up another knockout win, and continuing his success since his last loss, when Rumble knocked him out cold. Manuwa called for a title shot next, looking for the winner of DC vs. Rumble 2, while also throwing jabs at Jon Jones for his speculated steroid use, and stated that he has no desire to fight Jon upon his return in July. Does Manuwa deserve a title shot? No, not at all, but in a division that is one of the weakest in the organization, the request may not be as far fetched as one would think. There's no way Jon Jones comes back and doesn't get an immediate title shot, but Jimi could perhaps be next in line after that if he waits or picks up another big win.
Gunnar Nelson on the other hand, picked up a big win over a tough opponent in Alan Jouban, once again by submission. Gunnar is one of the most elite submission artists on the UFC's roster, and has worked tirelessly on his striking and the improvements have been clear. Before submitting Jouban with a guillotine, he had him rocked from a big punch-headkick combo. Gunnar's coach, John Kavanagh (Conor's coach), called for Gunnar vs. Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson this summer, to prove who the "real karate kid" is in the Welterweight division. I love this idea, because Wonderboy is coming off another failed title challenge, and Gunnar is in need of a top tier fight. That would be a good one and would prove how strong Gunnar's striking has become, and if he gets Wonderboy down to the mat, it could be another strangulation.
Next, the UFC is targeting Mark Hunt (bottom left) vs. Derrick Lewis (bottom right) at UFC Fight Night 110 in New Zealand. This is a huge heavyweight matchup, with Mark Hunt coming off another tough loss, and Lewis coming off another huge win. A win over Mark Hunt could assert Derrick Lewis at the top of the challengers list for the Heavyweight belt, and rightfully so. Lewis has been on a tear, and is looking for top opponents so he can truly earn the right to be part of the title picture, and I think it's a very real possibility.
In Bellator news, they have finally rescheduled Fedor vs. Matt Mitrione, targeted for Bellator 180, June 24th at MSG. The fight will co-headline the card with another huge Bellator fight that was just announced, Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva, a fighter years in the making. These two were supposed to fight years ago after coaching against one-another on the Ultimate Fighter, where they actually brawled during the show's filming, but after Silva pulled from the fight for skipping a drug test and Chael failed one, subsequently ending both of their UFC careers. Now, years later, with blood just as bad as it was in 2013, the two will finally square off in June, and it should hopefully be a good one.
Additionally, Bellator signed UFC-Veteran and former Light Heavyweight title challenger, Ryan Bader, and it's expected that he will take on a top LHW opponent, such as Phil Davis, within the next few months.