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Don’t forget about Gonzaga

October 14, 2007

The showdown at UFC 77 between Tim Sylvia and Brandon Vera now becomes a semifinal bout for the heavyweight title, which was vacated last week by Randy Couture.

The winner will almost certainly fight for the title against a yet to be determined opponent, though one could assume it would be against the winner of the match between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo, which is supposed to take place early next year.

Of course, this means that the Sylvia-Vera winner wouldn’t be fighting for the title until April or May at the earliest.

Another option, which I think makes sense is to have the Sylvia-Vera winner fight for the belt against Gabriel Gonzaga on the proposed Feb. 2 card.

Why not Gonzaga? He was the number 1 contender until he lost to Couture at UFC 74.

Despite his loss, he’s still an extremely talented fighter and is as worthy of another title shot as anyone else in the division. In fact, the fight might have had a different ending if Gonzaga hadn’t broken his nose early on. The injury completely changed the course of the fight.

There’s some who will argue that Gonzaga had his chance and needs to get back in line behind the four fighters I’ve already mentioned.

I don’t buy it, simply for the fact that Couture’s resignation throws the conventional thinking out the window.

Put the Sylvia-Vera winner against Gonzaga for the title and then the new champ can make his first defense against the winner of the Nogueira-Kongo tilt.

While the heavyweight division lost some of its sparkle with Couture’s resignation, there’s still more talent here than in any other organization out there. Life will go on without Couture.

If Andrei Arlovski, Frank Mir and Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic can all get back on the championship track, and if Brock Lesnar is brought into the fold, there should be plenty of exciting heavyweight action for the next couple of years.

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