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Was last night the best card in UFC history? Probably not, was it a brilliant launch to an exciting channel – absolutely. From Matt Brown starching Mike Pyle to Faber’s dominating win, to Travis Browne’s gift of a one-way ticket to Bellator for Overeem and Chael submitting Shogun – it was a pretty special night.
Last night was a big night for the UFC and a bigger one for Chael P. Sonnen. This was Chael’s biggest win in an already storied career and you can tell it was a big win by the number of people who stepped up to fight him. That list last night included Machida, Belfort, Phil Davis, and of course Sonnen calling out Wanderlei again. Here is what I like about this; it plays right into what I think Chael wants. Chael calls himself “the bad guy” and talked about a trilogy with Anderson so before you call me an idiot, hear me out. Chael submits Shogun, calls out Wand before the end of the year, fights Belfort and then Machida, beats them all – would that not make the third Anderson fight very interesting? Because for me, I think his submission over a legend, albeit not in his prime, of the caliber of Shogun puts him in some interesting conversations and screws up an already fragmented division in the light heavyweights. Many fighters have talked about how Chael’s dance to Jon Jones changed the game and the win last night made that match look a bit less crazy. Using MMA Math it took Jones (much earlier in his career) three rounds to put Shogun away and it took Chael less than one. This is not an argument for Chael vs Jones II but it shows that he still has some BIG wins up his sleeve and if his plan is to bully all the Brazilians from 185-205 until Anderson answers I think that is a pretty brilliant plan. And if that is not his plan, we already know last night’s submission of the night winner is one of the best analysts’ that FOX Sports has so Chael, as usual, has a couple back-up plans.
The other big winner was Travis Browne who came back from some scary body shots from the Reem to Anderson Silva Overeem in the face like he was Vitor Belfort. With a win over Overeem I have Browne right behind his only loss so a rematch with Big Foot seems like a great plan to me and it will keep those two men busy with a title eliminator match until either JDS or Cain are available.
I loved the launch, loved the hours of fights, and I loved the way they handled the fights afterwards on their version of Sportscenter. This was a great night for FOX, a better night for the UFC, and a brilliant night for Chael + Travis.
Talk to you on the show this week.
image courtesy of Getty Images
Roger Mayweather once told me “a fight is a fight.” And while losing a title fight due to an injury that the champ capitalizes on certainly is a terrible way to lose, a fight is a fight. If you were wondering where the kicks from Jose Aldo were last night, he also was injured. In the first round he threw one kick that The Korean Zombie blocked with his knee and seemingly broke Aldo’s foot. Enter in Jose wrestling and Jiu Jitsu which he used to handily win the first two rounds. Late in the third and early in the fourth the fight started to get really interesting, that is when the Korean Zombie started to loosen up and connect on some of his combinations, throwing a flying knee that landed vs. the one he threw in round two that missed. In the fourth round Jung threw a combination and at the end of the combo he dislocated his own shoulder. In typical zombie style he tried to put it back in but Aldo smelled blood. "Yes, I did see that he had separated his shoulder," Aldo said through an interpreter at the post-fight press conference. "So I kicked him and I tried to put him down on the ground to get some ground and pound." Jung had been off for 14 months due to rotator cuff surgery after the Dustin Poirier fight and he certainly wasn’t the move forward death machine fans had come to know. Both men fought different, more cautious fights than we are used and Aldo proved that the best can win, even when they are far from their A game. Aldo looked dominate and is simply one of the best in the world and while Ricardo Llamas is probably next in line it would have been nice to see this fight finish in a different fashion. But Aldo has stopped 4 of the top 5 featherweights in the division and a win over Llamas probably sends him up to 155 although Dana White had mixed emotions last night saying that it “was nothing special” and that a move to 155 is not in the cards right now “he is a featherweight.”
The co-main event saw a controversial win by Phil Davis over Lyoto Machida, a decision so lackluster that Glover Texieria is next in line for the title shot if he gets a win over Bader and this fight again calls into question what we call judging in MMA. Here is the scorecard for the fight giving it to Davis.
However here are the fight metric numbers that give it to Machida.
No doubt Machida needed to do something BIG to establish himself as a worthy adversary for Jon Jones. But he didn’t and for that neither he nor Phil get to be next in line. For Davis’ part he looked much better than he did in the Evans fight and that is great because the more he grows as a fighter the better the odds we might see him against Jones before Jon moves up to heavyweight.