Ranking the UFC title fights to end 2013

The UFC has made a lot of noise about its schedule to end 2013.

I can’t argue with the organization, because the year is ending (barring injuries) with a tremendous series of title fights. Here is how I rank which title fights I am most looking forward to:

7. Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland at UFC 165 (for UFC Interim Bantamweight title) – Barao is really a fighter that deserves more pound-for-pound credit. The guy has been a wrecking machine for quite some time. No disrespect to Eddie Wineland, who is a gritty fighter, but I don’t think he is in the same class as the champion. Wineland has a puncher’s chance, but this should be an easy defense for Barao.

6. Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate at UFC 168 (for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title) – I have a great deal of respect for Rousey and her skills. She has already established herself as a dominant champion in this division. I just don’t see Tate being able to win this fight. Rousey made quick work of her the first time and I don’t think that will change the second time. Tate would have to overpower Rousey with striking, and that is not her game. I think a fight with Cat Zingano would have been much more entertaining and had a greater possibility for an upset.

5. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 (for the UFC Heavyweight title) – This is the trilogy fight for these two, but both fights have been decisive loses for each man. I think the second fight told more about the matchup than the first. Velasquez was able to tire dos Santos in the first round with his aggressive pace. As long as Velasquez can avoid the big punch from the challenger, he should be able to dominate this fight again with his wrestling and ground control.

4. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 (for the UFC Light Heavyweight title) – Jones has been absolutely dominant in this division, but Gustafsson appears to be a new challenge for Jones. Like the champion, Gustaffson has the ability to use his length to gain a striking advantage. The length edge that Jones always has on his opponents won’t quite be as much of an advantage in this bout. The question coming into this fight is can the challenger handle Jones’ wrestling, and can he go 25 minutes if need be?

3. Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 (for the UFC Welterweight title) – GSP has been the kingpin of this division for a long time, but Hendricks seems to have the right style to finally dethrone the champion. Hendricks has the wrestling background to contend with St. Pierre, but has the powerful hands to knock him out. The question will be if Hendricks can deal with St. Pierre’s jab and technical striking, and if he can go 25 minutes. If the fight ends quickly, Hendricks will be the champ. If the fight goes into the later rounds, you would have to think GSP will retain his title.

2. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 168 (for the UFC Middleweight title) – Was it a fluke when Weidman beat Silva? I think so, but the champion will have a chance to prove me wrong at UFC 168. I am looking forward to see how Silva approaches this fight. I truly believe if he is focused on winning and not putting on a show, he can’t be beat. I feel he could have beaten Weidman whenever he wanted to in the first fight, but was trying to embarrass the opponent instead, and got caught. This time around, will Silva take the fight seriously? Will he try to prove a point again? Weidman will probably have to have the fight of his life to win.

1. Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 (for the UFC Lightweight title) – Of them all, this fight has me the most excited. The first fight between these two was tremendous and non-stop action. Now, both fighters are greatly improved. Henderson has evolved as a powerful striker with great wrestling and scrambling ability. Pettis is one of the most skilled and dynamic strikers in all of MMA and he is tremendous at fighting off his back. Both men can go 25 minutes and have plenty of motivation to win this fight. I expect this fight to live up to the hype.

Anderson Silva deals with fallout from epic loss

As expected, the fallout following Anderson Silva’s epic loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 continues, particularly in Brazil where Silva has achieved God-like status. The loss was embarrassing for Silva, particularly the manner in which he lost. The fact that many are even questioning whether he threw the fight makes matters even worse for Silva.

“Nobody likes to lose,” Silva told “Fantastico” from his academy in Los Angeles.”I trained four months to win, [and] I lost in the worst way. I have never lost by knockout, and of course it will be marked on my history. After everything passed, I felt that I needed to answer many questions to myself. I don’t want to take anything from Chris Weidman, but I lost to myself, and that’s the worst loss that can happen.”

Arrogance was always a part of his game, but he definitely paid the price of believing his own hype and fighting recklessly. It will be fascinating to see if he can come back focused the next time around. We’ve seen this pattern in many sports including boxing, and talent tends to bounce back when coupled with the motivation of a humiliating defeat. It’s hard to imagine Silva not using this as the springboard to even more impressive wins in the future. That’s what great champions do, and now he will be put to the test. Weidman will have his work cut out for him.

Of course this has shaken up the world of MMA betting. Controversial fights always helped boxing, and it will help the UFC as well as it just draws even more interest in big fights and MMA betting odds. With a rematch set, we can only imagine how much hype will be there for this next fight and how much action there will be in places like Las Vegas. Silva’s potential redemption will be the story of the year.

Weidman the clear underdog in rematch with Silva

It didn’t take long for Anderson Silva to change his mind about his fighting future.

Just moments after being knocked out by Chris Weidman in the main event of UF 162, the long-time middleweight champion said he no longer wanted to fight for the title, and a rematch with Weidman wouldn’t be happening.

A week later, the rematch has already been booked.

Weidman will make his first title defense against Silva as the main event of UFC 168 on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas.

The champion, Weidman, is the clear underdog in the rematch, as many feel Silva can beat Weidman as long as he doesn’t clown around.

It is not often that a champion comes into a fight, especially a rematch against an opponent he already beat, as the clear underdog.

Only a few come to mind when it comes to title fights.

Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 83: Serra shocked the world by winning the UFC Middlweight Championship, beating GSP at UFC 69, but most looked at the win as a fluke. Serra did little to fight off those opinions in the rematch, as St. Pierre dominated the bout and finished him off with body shots in under 10 minutes.

Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn at UFC 118: Edgar won a controversial decision over Penn at UFC 112 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and shocked the MMA world just by lasting 25 minutes with Penn. Many expected a motivated Penn to come out and run through Edgar in the rematch, but the opposite happened. Edgar fought a nearly flawless 25 minutes and earned the decisive decision over Penn. It was a fight that put Edgar on the map and forever dethroned Penn as the king of the lightweights.

Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski at UFC 61: It was at UFC 59 that Arlovski looked to be set to successfully defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Syliva. He had rocked the challenger with a big hand that sent Sylvia crashing to the mat. However, Sylvia got up, and as Arlovski was in a flurry trying to finish the fight, Sylvia caught Arlovski right on the button and finished him for the shocking comeback win. Months later, the two had the immediate rematch and many expected Arlovski to get the best of Sylvia, but that didn’t happen. In a rather tame fight, Sylvia won a 25-minute decision. Arlovski was too timid and seemed to be afraid of getting knocked out. The former champion never seemed to be the same fighter after losing to Sylvia.

Anderson Silva embarrasses himself in historic loss

Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter in UFC history.

Nothing that happened Saturday night can change that.

But, there is no denying that the way in which he lost the title to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 tarnishes his career, if even just a little bit.

We all think of great champions in any sport and we want to see them going out as a champion, giving a heroic effort, but being bested by someone who is just better than them.

With all due respect to Chris Weidman, Silva lost Saturday’s fight more than Weidman won it.

We have seen it before, Silva with his hands down, challenging his opponent to knock him out. But, unlike some previous times, Silva was making no attempt to actually win the fight.

He did his usual dodges and taunts, but instead of throwing his usual pin-point punches, he preferred to go with some open-hand slaps. He was disrespecting Weidman, as if to say “you are the guy that is supposed to destroy me?” The fight was shaping up to be more like bouts Silva had with Thales Leites or Demian Maia, where he wanted to embarrass them for 25 minutes as opposed to do his job and finish his opponent.

I have no doubt in my mind that Silva could have won that fight. I am not saying he didn’t want to, but he clearly wanted to do it with a message. We have seen fighters pay before for taunting, and Silva finally paid for his taunting.

It would be hard to imagine someone putting on a 16-fight UFC win streak like the one Silva just had. During the run, there were so many impressive knockouts and finishes. His talents are truly once-in-a-lifetime. Unfortunately for Silva, he didn’t go out as a champion. He went out as a clown, and that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

UFC 149 Results & Recap: Barao outclasses Faber

nullUFC 149 saw a new champion crowned, an interim champ that is.

Renan Barao pushed his winning streak to 29 fights by beating Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to win the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship on Saturday night.

Barao made not have gotten the finish, but he decisively beat Faber thanks to his reach and his kicks. Each round he managed to out-point Faber and stay out of danger, leaving “The California Kid” puzzled throughout.

Barao certainly beat Faber in easier fashion than the actual champ, Dominick Cruz. It will be interesting to see if Cruz can find a way to stop the runaway train that is Barao. Barao may very well be the best 135-pounder in the world.

Faber has now lost his last five championship bouts, dating back to his time as a featherweight in the WEC. Though he is still highly competitive, he will likely not get another title fight anytime soon.

In the co-main event, Hector Lombard had a very unimpressive UFC debut.

The man considered to be a potential threat to Anderson Silva proved to be more of a threat to himself, as he was very tentative against Tim Boetsch. Neither man did much to impress, but two of the three judges believed that Boetsch did a little bit more, which earned him a split decision.

The poor showing from both men may open the door for Chris Weidman to earn the next middleweight title shot following his brutal KO win over Mark Munoz last week.

For complete results from UFC 149, check out the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »