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UFC 200: What’s Next For The Event’s Biggest Stars

UFC 200 was a landmark event for the UFC, but it is still just another spoke in the wheel. The UFC is going to keep chugging along, and with that in mind, we play booker and predict whom the biggest stars from UFC 200 will face off with next.

I'm also going to make a projection as to roughly where the lines for these potential matches could close near. I'm far from a bookmaker, so these are my personal estimations based on my knowledge of the subject matter. To reiterate - these are hypothetical lines for hypothetical fights. 

We are going to avoid talking about obvious fights to make like Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor – this will strictly be for fighters whose next fight is a complete question mark.

Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes did things to Miesha Tate’s face in three minutes that Holly Holm couldn’t in five rounds. Nunes is an incredibly fast starter and has the skills to put away the most durable competitors in her division.

Nunes’ first attempted defense of the UFC Bantamweight Championship should be against Julianna Pena. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ also put on an impressive showing at UFC 200 by defeating Cat Zingano. Pena is on a four-fight winning streak with victories over Zingano, Jessica Eye, Milana Dudieva and Jessica Rakoczy.

Both Nunes and Pena sport aggressive fighting styles that could make for an entertaining – though possibly short – title match.

Fight To Make: Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Pena

Hypothetical Betting Lines: Nunes -175, Pena +150

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar beat Mark Hunt by decision at UFC 200 – something I never dreamed I would type. ‘The Beast’ didn’t seem to miss a beat despite not fighting for over four years and spent much of the fight in top control.

We all know that Brock is headed back to the WWE – and a date with Randy Orton at SummerSlam – but there is no way he is not going to fight in the UFC again. He is a massive draw for both the WWE and UFC and that stock will only grow with more MMA bouts. 

Hunt was a top-10 heavyweight in the UFC and Brock should likely fight someone in a similar position. Since the UFC likes pitting fighters coming off wins against one another, Lesnar should face the winner of Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. Both guys are beatable and will be a top-10 guy.

Fight To Make: Winner of Andrei Arlovski vs Josh Barnett

Hypothetical Betting Lines: Lesnar -125, Arlovski/Barnett +115

Cain Velasquez

The Cain Velasquez of old showed up to the T-Mobile Arena. Cain beat up on Travis Browne for a while before finally putting him away with just three seconds remaining in the first round.

Cain’s two losses have come in championship bouts – one to Fabricio Werdum and another to Junior dos Santos. The heavyweight division is extremely light and even though Cain has just one win since October 2013, he should get a title shot.

Stipe Miocic is set to defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Alistair Overeem at UFC 203. The only other contender for a title shot would be the winner of Werdum vs Ben Rothwell on the same card. Velasquez is arguably the best heavyweight in the world – when at sea level – so he should be trying to regain the gold.

Fight To Make: Winner of Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem

Hypothetical Betting Lines: Velasquez +110, Miocic/Overeem -120

Miesha Tate

UFC 200 was tough for Miesha Tate. ‘Cupcake’ won the belt after doggedly pursuing the gold for years only to lose it in the first round of her first defense. Tate’s deficiencies in her striking defense were exposed and she paid the price dearly.

She clearly doesn’t deserve an immediate rematch after being decimated that way, but she could go searching for something almost as good: vengeance.

Since entering the Octagon, Tate has lost to three women. A Nunes bout is off the table for now and Ronda Rousey is making movies or something, so that leaves just Cat Zingano. Cat looked good in the first round of her UFC 200 bout, but gassed and handily lost the final two rounds against Pena.

Both Tate and Zingano are - possibly was in the case of Cat - top five-ranked fighters and both are coming off a loss. Seems to make a world of sense.

Fight To Make: Cat Zingano

Hypothetical Betting Lines: Tate -250, Zingano +200

Sage Northcutt

Now this is a challenge. To be blunt, Sage Northcutt barely beat Enrique Marin – a guy who should not be employed by the UFC. Sage has all the potential in the world, but he needs to be slowly brought along and kind of cradled.

The lightweight division has tons of tomato cans for Sage to potentially beat up on, but he can draw a decent reaction – and money – with his first ‘big name’ opponent. In order to get this 'big name,' the UFC will need to book Northcutt at welterweight – where he has fought before – to take on the winner of Mickey Gall and CM Punk.

Normally I’m not high on something resembling a prospect vs prospect match, but this makes too much sense. If Gall wins he is 3-0, but with a win over Punk his plan will be fulfilled with the company and he won’t be as valuable as Northcutt. If Punk wins, we get two inexperienced fighters at completely different ends of the spectrum.

Fight To Make: Winner of Mickey Gall vs CM Punk

Hypothetical Betting Lines: Northcutt -300, Gall/Punk +250

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