So the UFC’s Superbowl Saturday mega show has come and gone and even though it was an entertaining card, in many fans minds it didn’t quite live up to the hype action wise (which is usually the case for the cards that look amazing on paper). But now after the smoke has cleared, there are definitely huge implications for the future landscape of the UFC, including some huge title fights.
Heres a rundown of the card.
Joseph Benavidez v Ian Mccall was an entertaining scrap. The fight was pretty close and as usual the Flyweights put on an MMA clinic with their lighting speed and technical mastery. I have to admit though, I’m still not fully sold on the division. In my opinion the Bantamweight division is small enough. My problem with the division is no one ever gets finished. I probably sound like a dick when I say this but when I know the whole time that no ones gonna get finished I’m just not that entertained. So even though the fight was what we like to call a “clinic”, it never had me on the edge of my seat. The whole time I watch these fights I make sure I pay close attention to the score, because I know that the chances of a K.O are slim to none. In the end Benavidez did what he had to do to clearly take the victory, and in this brand new division with an extremely thin roster, this win should be enough to earn Benavidez a title shot. The only other guy who has a case for a title shot is John Moraga who is 2-0 in the UFC but is relatively unheard of. Since Benavidez and champion Demetrius Johnson already fought once for the title, in a razor thin decision, it makes sense. So expect Benavidez to take on Johnson in the near future for the title. For Mccall, the only scenarios I see for him is fighting John Dodson, or the UFC throwing him a bone and feeding him someone he should kill, Mccall deserves an easy fight considering he’s fought Benavidez and Johnson twice (the consensus 1 and 2 ranked guys in the division)
Demian Maia v Jon Fitch
This fight was awesome to MMA purists. The retarded blood thirsty Affliction shirt, tattoo, mohawk fans, and all the fair weather fans around the world probably thought the fight sucked, but anyone who knows their shit recognized they were witnessing something special. Maia looked absolutely amazing in this bout. What he did to Fitch was insane. The only time I’ve ever seen Fitch dominated (in almost 20 UFC fights) was against GSP. Maia took Fitch down in 1 second and had his back the entire 5 minutes of the first round, and that beginning was exactly how the entire fight panned out. It’s a shame Maia couldn’t get the finish but against Jon Fitch it’s totally understandable why he didn’t. This fight knocked Fitch (who’s age and miles are probably catching up to him) way far back in the pack (Fitch will almost surely never be in title contention again and will play the role of gatekeeper for now on). Maia on the other hand is now 3-0 against very solid opponents at Welterweight, and may just be a fight or 2 out of a title shot. With Nick Diaz fighting for the title in March, Rory MacDonald v Carlos Condit and Johnny Hendricks v Jake Ellenberger squaring off on the same card, it’s tough to say whats next in this stacked division. If GSP beats Diaz then you can probably count both Condit and MacDonald out for a title shot (GSP just dominated Condit, and MacDonald will probably decline the title shot because him and GSP are training partners and friends). So with a GSP victory (which is most likely), expect the winner of Hendricks and Ellenberger to get the next shot. So if this is the case I would put Maia in there against any one of the others. There’s also the potential scenario where GSP leaves the division altogether to move up to Middleweight and if that’s the case the UFC could put together a little 4-8 man bracket to determine a new champ (how fun would that be). Lastly if Maia and the UFC don’t wanna wait that long then perhaps he can fight Martin Kampmann or even Tyron Woodley (coming off a huge and impressive win at 156 with a knockout over Jay Heiron). Bottom line is the Welterweight division is stacked!
Alistair Overeem v Antonio Silva
All I can say about this one, is WOW was it satisfying to see Overeem get knocked the fuck out. Let’s face it, the dude is an MMA villain. When the steroid allegations turn into cold hard facts, then you’re automatically a villain. But add also the way Reem talked all his shit before the fight (to the very likeable gentle giant), and then during the fight had a cocky smirk on his face the whole time and kept his hands down. UGH did he come off like a douche bag. So watching him get knocked out in such brutal fashion was pretty fun. You can clearly tell Reem got under Bigfoots skin too, cause Silva did not wanna stop pounding him after the ref jumped in, and Silva could not stop talking shit all the way up until the day after the fight. In the end Overeem losing was definitely a big blow to Dana White, Joe Silva and the UFC. You know they were banking on Reem winning and challenging Cain Velasquez for the Heavyweight title. Now they need to figure something else out. Do they give Dos Santos an immediate shot, and play up the trilogy storyline? Is this win enough to give Bigfoot a title shot? (which would be a tough sell considering Cain brutalized Bigfoot not even a year ago). And then there’s Daniel Cormier who is completely deserving of a title shot but unfortunately him and Cain won’t fight each other since they’re buddies and training partners. My prediction is Cain v JDS III, and then they can book Reem and Bigfoot in fights against the likes of Nelson, Struve, and Barnett. But let me reiterate something that I know for a fact. Reem’s loss really screwed up the UFC’s plans
Rashad Evans v Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
No need to spend too much time talking about this one. The fight was awful. It was so awful that it made an otherwise entertaining card seem lackluster. It was so bad that both the fighters involved have been knocked several rungs down the ladder of contendership. In the end Lil Nog won, but I even have a problem calling him a winner. He was just less boring and lethargic then Rashad was. Rashad seemed to be playing patty cake with him, pawing at him for 15 minutes straight while Nog was able to throw an occasional kick or jab to steal the rounds and the win. I’m not really sure whats next for these guys. Lil Nog has kinda found himself as a big name in the middle of the pack, who can play gatekeeper to upcoming prospects, or fight fading stars in nostalgia based fights. Rashad on the other hand should re-examine his entire career. I think it’s definitely fair to say that ever since his move to the “Blackzilians” his career (both in the win-loss, and the excitement departments) have gone south. There’s also nothing really left for him at 205 since Jones already beat him, and now after this loss it would take him at least 3 impressive stoppages to get back in the picture. There’s been rumors of Rashad going to 185, so for his careers sake that would probably be the best idea.
Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar
In an exciting back and forth fight that lived up to the hype, Frankie Edgar (The Rocky Balboa of the UFC) once again has come up just short on the judges scorecards. In a fight that played out exactly how knowledgeable fans could have predicted. Aldo comes out hot in rounds 1 and 2 and pretty much dominates and makes it look like Edgar has no shot. But then in the 3rd Edgar starts to come back with his ridiculous stamina, speed, and heart and steal rounds 3 and 4 in convincing fashion. So on my card I had Aldo take 1 and 2 and Edgar win 3 and 4. I thought Frankie was gonna come out and steamroll Aldo in round 5 but to the champions credit he dug deep, kept his wits, and was able to win the round against a guy with more stamina and experience in the championship rounds . My scoring (or anyone who knows anything) doesn’t matter though, because once again the incompetence of the judges showed it’s ugly face once again, when 2 of them scored the fight 4-1 in favor of Aldo (how? why? you people suck!). In the end I’m sure there’s plenty of angry Frankie fans out there who thought he should of won the fight. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I will say the fight was close enough where I wouldn’t be up in arms either way. This was a HUGE win for Aldo. I finally now give him that Top P4P status. The Hominick fight has always stuck in the back of my mind, but a win against Frankie Edgar totally heals that blemish. Hopefully we get to see these guys fight again in the near future. I hope Edgar stays at 145 because there’s lot’s of exciting potential fights for him there, and like I mentioned I’d love to see him earn a rematch. And in what was the best news of the entire night, it looks like Aldo’s next opponent will be Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. This fight on paper is a dream match up and I’m so happy Pettis decided he wanted to drop to Featherweight. A fight between these 2 will be ridiculous. Both are probably the most feared strikers in the lighter divisions. Aldo’s striking is just so crisp and powerful, Pettis’s so flashy, and speedy, with pin point accuracy. This is without a doubt my most anticipated fight of 2013.
Anderson Silva v Chris Weidman has basically been made official. Many people were saying that Silva is ducking Weidman but I don’t see it that way. Silva gets a PPV cut, and I simply believe he’s looking for the major fights that will sell. Weidman isn’t a huge name yet, and any fair weather fan will simply write this one off as Silva being fed someone with no shot. However we all know that isn’t the case and Weidman is an extremely dangerous opponent to The Spider. I believe the UFC wanted to give Bisping the title shot, simply because that one would sell, and Bisping would undoubtedly do a great job of taking on the role of the “heel” and selling the fight. But when Bisping lost, that pretty much opened the door for Weidman.
The bonuses for the card were 50k each.
Fight of the Night: Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar
K.O of the Night: Antonio Silva
Submission of the Night: Bobby Green