Monday, December 30, 2013

UFC 168 Recap

Legs are NOT supposed to do that.
When the greatest fighter of all time finally loses for the first time, the rematch will obviously be one of the biggest fights to schedule.  Little did the UFC know that it was the less anticipated rematch between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate that would steal the show.  These two women stole the show on one of the most stacked and anticipated UFC cards of all time.  Also, if you had told me the second Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman fight would be more shocking than the first I would call you an idiot.  However, it was.  Anderson Silva lost the rematch in one of the strangest, most disgusting, and tragic endings to a fight (and maybe a career) that I have ever seen.  Here is my quick recap of the night and what I think is on deck for some of this card's fighters:

Facebook prelims:

  • Robbie Peralta was controlled for 2 rounds by Estevan Payan's wrestling, but pulled off a 3rd round comeback by finishing Payan via KO.
  • William Macario looked outstanding winning a decision against Bobby Voelker with precision and power in his standup.  Voelker is going nowhere despite his 0-3 UFC record since Dana White loves his fighting spirit.
FS1 prelims:
  • John Howard won a decision over Siyar Bahadurzada largely due to Siyar having nothing in his gas tank.
  • Dennis Siver bounced back from a loss to Cub Swanson with a hard-fought victory over Manny Gamburyan.  Siver upset me by throwing no spinning kicks, but he still looked great.
  • Michael Johnson looks better and better ever fight.  The only way to follow up a decision win over Joe Lauzon is to knock out a very durable Gleison Tibau.  Right when Tibau is looking like a contender he gets knocked back to earth.  Johnson has nothing but big fights on the horizon after 2 very impressive wins in a row.  Maybe Gray Maynard is on deck for him, since he has fallen from title contention to gatekeeping.  I think it would be a great test for both Maynard and Johnson.
  • Uriah Hall may have retired Chris "the Crippler" Leben on Saturday.  He stunned him late in the first round and did not get the finish only because Chris was "saved by the bell."  (or so we thought)  In between rounds Chris said he was done and he was clearly out of it.  Leben has got to call it retirement because he doesn't have anything left in his fight game.  Thanks for the KO of Wanderlei and the Fight of the Night against Akiyama.  That is how I will remember your great career.
Pay-per view:
  • Dustin Poirier beat Diego Brandao quickly with his fast pace, aggressive style, and perfect technique.  This dude is a real stud at 145 despite losing to the Korean Zombie and Cub Swanson.  Give him a rematch with the Zombie and I guarantee it will be Poirier who gets the win.  As for Brandao, get your life together and then we will talk about your next fight.
  • Jim Miller submitted a blackbelt in the first round, no big deal.  Fabricio Camoes was a nobody before this fight and stays that way after.  I do think Miller was snubbed of Submission of the Night honors though.  Next for Jim should be a rematch with Nate Diaz or Gray Maynard.  If not a rematch, then give him TJ Grant or Edson Barboza.  There are a lot of options for Jim Millers who is a borderline top 10 fighter right now.
  • Travis Browne is for real.  I have always loved this kid at heavyweight to be a contender.  Stop doubting me, stop doubting him.  Beating Josh Barnett is no small feat.  Neither is beating Overeem or Gonzaga.  He has beat all three of them in a row and will likely be facing Fabricio Werdum for a shot at Cain Velasquez.  His takedown defense and devastating striking is enough to strike fear in everyone in the division.  Not to mention he is the perfect style of fighter to beat the seemingly unbeatable Cain Velasquez.  Mark my words, Travis Browne will be a UFC champion in 2014 so long as Cain comes back from injury.  Browne is legit.  As for Barnett, he has nothing but huge fights for himself despite the setback.  Maybe Barnett vs Bigfoot or Barnett vs Hunt?  He beat Hunt in 2006 before Hunt knew what a submission was.  The rematch could generate some interest and test if Hunt is truly ready to be a contender.
  • As I mentioned in my introduction, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey stole the show winning Fight of the Night on a stacked card.  Oh and Ronda took home Submission of the Night too.  These two girls hate each other and sportsmanship still did not exist after their war.   Tate looked outstanding on the feet compared to previous fights and her submission defense was on point.  Her flaw was that she kept shooting for takedowns and Rousey would simply use that judo experience to flip her over and take a dominant position.  Surviving her way to round 3 is a victory in itself for Tate, but Rousey still reigns supreme over the women's bantamweight division.  She is already scheduled to fight Sara McMann is February which should be an outstanding fight.  Rousey will actually have a wrestling disadvantage against McMann but I am sure she has some tricks up her sleeve.  Both women are Olympic medalists so it should be a fantastic fight.  I love McMann and think she has the potential to beat Rousey, but I would prefer to see her have another fight for more experience prior to fighting for the belt.  I do think Alexis Davis was snubbed of a title shot since Davis has 2 UFC wins and has beat more stern competition in Liz Carmouche. Look for Davis vs Jessica Eye in a top contender fight in the near future.  As for Miesha Tate, anyone is a potential opponent for her next fight.  Having lost 2 in a row I think they give her a break and have her fight an easier opponent such as Bethe Correia or Amanda Nunes.  As a consolation, Tate has won 2 Fight of the Night bonuses despite her 2 losses.
  • In the most anticipated rematch in MMA, Anderson Silva broke his leg over Chris Weidman's knee.  There really isn't anything more to say.  He lost twice to Weidman and yet everyone thinks both fights are flukes.  I have to say that even if both endings were flukes, Weidman has been dominant in every minute of both fights and easily has won every round he has completed with Silva.  Were the endings strange?  Sure.  But I think the Weidman era of the middleweight division has begun.  With Vitor, Jacare, Lyoto, and other monsters waiting for their shot at the title, the UFC has plenty of awesome options for title fights in Weidman's future.  Don't be sad that Silva is done as champion and maybe done forever, be happy that the next wave of contenders has a new guy to gun for.  The middleweight division is more talented than ever before, even without Anderson on top.
My final note is that I predicted the entire pay-per view results correct!

Picks entering event: 184/315
Picks during event: 8/11
Pick totals for 2013: 192/326=59%
For my first year I am content with this percentage but I am looking to be between 65-75% in 2014.

Brutal Sports Awards:
Beatdown of the Night: William Macario
Sketchies Decision of the Night: None (GOOD JOB VEGAS!)
Upset of the Night: Travis Browne (not in my opinion but in Vegas's opinion)

Three Stars:
  1. Travis Browne
  2. William Macario
  3. Dustin Poirier

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