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.

Top 10 Light Heavyweight Rankings

nullI waited a week to release my latest light heavyweight rankings as I wanted to see how the UFC 133 main event turned out.

Rashad Evans did as I expected and beat Tito Ortiz, but his performance was very impressive and it made me consider putting him on top of the list.

You have to consider the quality of opponents that Evans has over Jones. Granted, Jones has been unphased in any fight. But, he also hasn’t fought the best of the best throughout his career.

Still, I left Jones on top for now, but No. 2 is a lot closer than he was a few months ago.

1. Jon Jones (13-1): Jones will defend his UFC championship next month against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in his biggest fight to date. Jones has yet to face any adversity, but a win over Jackson would prove that he can handle almost anyone in MMA. Wrestling will likely be the key in this one, as I don’t think Jones will want to slug it out with Rampage.

2. Rashad Evans (16-1-1): Evans bulked up in his time away from fighting and he looks like a determined fighter. He seems angry based on what happened with Greg Jackson and Jones, and it seems to have improved his skills as opposed to hurt them. Evans is next in line for a title shot. Only time will tell if he and Jones will finally square off.

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8): Rampage has had some issues away from the cage, having his trainer decided to leave camp over “creative differences.” Still, Rampage says he is ready to go. He will face a fighter unlike anything he has really seen. It will be interesting to see how Rampage plans to attack Jones at UFC 135.

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Ortiz vs. Evans II set as UFC 133 main event

nullOn second thought, why not?

Tito Ortiz (AP Photo) had a change of heart, and has elected to fill in for Phil Davis at UFC 133 and face Rashad Evans in the main event, according to MMAFighting.com.

It was the fight that Tito Ortiz simply couldn’t be talked into…until he was. Less than 24 hours after explaining via Twitter that he had turned down the fight because he had “a life and things to take care of,” Ortiz was in against Rashad Evans at UFC 133 according to a tweet from UFC president Dana White.

“Get ready philly for Rashad Evans vs Tito Ortiz!!! Aug 6th LIVE on PPV at the Wells Fargo Center!!!!!!” White wrote at around 7:30 pm ET.

Ortiz’s Twitter response was a more muted one some fifteen minutes before, as he wrote simply, “Only for the UFC!”

The move ended a furious day’s worth of speculation about who would fill in for the injured Phil Davis on short notice, with both Ortiz and former UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida reportedly turning down the fight.

This will be a rematch of a draw that took place back at UFC 73. Ortiz was penalized a point for holding on to the cage during one of the rounds, otherwise he might have scored a win over Evans.

Davis injured, UFC working toward Evans vs. Machida II for UFC 133

nullWell, another main event has bit the dust for the UFC.

According to MMAFighting.com, Davis suffered a knee injury and he will have to pull out of the planned fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 133 on Aug. 6.

The UFC has been scurrying to find a replacement with Tito Ortiz apparently turning down an offer to take the fight.

MMAFighting.com originally reported that Lyoto Machida was taking the fight, but that has not been made official and the site has since retracted its story.

Still, the UFC is hoping it can land Machida for this fight, which would be an upgrade from the Evans-Davis fight. The real question will be if Machida can, and is willing, to take the fight on short notice.

Machida dominated Evans in their first meeting at UFC 98, as he took the light heavyweight title from Evans.

MMA Game Changers: Rashad Evans

nullIt’s easy to bring up the word game changer and think of one man in the light heavyweight division.

The obvious answer is current champion, Jon Jones.

But, while Jones still has a few questions to answer, one man that truly changed the landscape of the division is Rashad Evans.

The winner of Season 2 of the Ultimate Fighter, Evans is a fighter that puts together a unique combination of elite-level wrestling and devastating striking.

Evans more represents today’s growing crop of MMA stars than any other in the UFC, especially in the light heavyweight division.

Evans started as a wrestler, coming off a successful collegiate career at Michigan State University, but as he evolved in the UFC, he became one of the top knockout artists in the organization.

His head kick KO of Sean Salmon put Evans on the map, but his brutal right hand KO of Chuck Liddell back at UFC 88 is what truly signified a new time in the UFC.

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Top 10 Light-Heavyweight Rankings

nullThe Light Heavyweight Division is currently led by a young phenom with a bunch of hungry sharks ready to take a bite out of him.

Here is a look at how I see the top 10 in the 205-pound division in MMA. (Click here to see other weight class rankings)

1. Jon Jones (13-1): Jones is still the leader of the pack but now seems to finally have his next opponent finalized. It looks to be Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in what will be a very tough fight. Jones may struggle to move the large Jackson and in punch-for-punch power, he probably doesn’t have the edge against his veteran opponent.

2. Rashad Evans (15-1-1): Rashad Evans is still the No. 1 contender in my eyes as he disposed of Jackson in his last fight and was set to challenge for the title before suffering a minor knee injury. Now set to face rising star, Phil Davis, Evans will have to prove that he can still hang with the best after more than a year away form action.

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8): Rampage looked good but not great in his decision win over Matt Hamill. He landed some good punches on Hamill and stuffed each of his takedown attempts. While Hamill has a good wrestling background, he lacked the explosive takedown attempts that Jackson will see against the likes of Evans, Jones, or even a Ryan Bader.

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Five fighters that might survive the Apocalypse

nullIn case some of you haven’t been paying attention, the Apocalypse is set to take place tomorrow.

If there are any athletes who might survive on the post-apocalyptic planet, it would be mixed-martial artists.

Here are the five guys I would like to be around tomorrow, once The Rapture saves those who will be saved.

1. Matt Hughes – As his walk-out song goes “A Country Boy Can Survive”. Hughes is a farm boy that can probably do anything and everything as long as he has a pair of boots and a piece of John Deere equipment that he can break down into parts. He can certainly kill any other living animal and will likely know how to build a fire and refine liquid into water. The question is, will he spend too much time making smart-ass remarks about how much of a girl you are for trying to get your IPhone to work? You also would have to put up with his stories about how boring a fighter Georges St. Pierre is.

2. Lyoto Machida – Machida is almost like an animal more than a human when you consider his cat-like speed and reflexes. I would think no zombies stand a chance against him. Also, the man drinks his own urine, so a lack of water won’t be a big issue for him. Let’s just hope if we can’t find food that he thinks your bodily releases will also make for a good replacement.

3. Forrest Griffin – The man wrote a book about it, so I have a sense he is prepared. He doesn’t seem too concerned with bathing or looking good, so he wouldn’t waste time with that. He also is a scrapper, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try and take down a cougar or a lion for food. Problem with Forrest is, he might kill you, and not just for necessity.

4. Chael Sonnen – As a man in an apocalyptic world, you are going to need to tap into your survival instincts and really draw on adrenaline and testosterone. Well, Chael has plenty of that. In fact, he has some by the bottle full. So, you may have to put up with a lot of idiotic statements that he will later claim he never said, but at least your motor should always be on high.

5. Roy Nelson – Sure, he doesn’t look like much of an athlete, but the guy can hit hard and he can choke out any zombies or animals that might attack. He has a big appetite, so food will always be a priority in your survival group, which means you should eat well. Also, his belly should make a nice pillow during the down times

Best non-finishers in MMA

AP ImageGeorges St. Pierre is quickly losing favor with MMA fans.

Saturday’s UFC 129 bout with Jake Shields brought St. Pierre brought another decision victory for the welterweight champion, which was his fourth straight decision win.

St. Pierre has not won by stoppage since Jan. 31, 2009 when B.J. Penn failed to answer the bell for the fifth round.

Fans are growing tired of St. Pierre’s decision wins and his lack of “killer instinct,” and want to see him be more aggressive and finish his opponents like he did on his first run to the UFC title.

Now with 22 career wins, St. Pierre has had 9 decision victories and 13 wins by knockout or submission.

With that in mind, here are some of the other top fighters in MMA that have a few too many decisions to their credit.

Jon Fitch (23-3-1, 13 Decision victories) – Fitch has pretty much become the measuring stick of this category. He is one of the best in the world, but he just can’t seem to finish fights. Fitch is now on a run of 9-straight fights that have went to the judges. His last finish came back in June of 2007.

Randy Couture (19-11, 8 Decision victories) – Though a Hall of Famer and a legend, finishing opponents wasn’t necessarily Couture’s forte either. Actually, some of “The Natural’s” biggest wins were decisions including his victories over Tito Ortiz and Tim Sylvia.

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Despite poor showing, St. Pierre still one of the best in MMA

nullLet me start by once again stating that I am a Georges St. Pierre fan (pictured, AP Photo).

I know this article may come off as fandom, but I am merely sticking up for a great fighter.

While I will even admit that St. Pierre’s performance at UFC 129 was anything but impressive against Jake Shields, I don’t think that the long-reigning UFC Welterweight Champion deserves to be as criticized as he has been.

Finishing fights is a big aspect of MMA and a big part of the reason why fans love fighters like Anderson Silva. However, everyone has their flaws or even their bad fights.

I would compare GSP’s performance on Saturday night to the likes of Silva’s performances against Demian Maia or Thales Leites.

Clearly St. Pierre was the better fighter on Saturday, but he didn’t go for the kill when it was there. And after his eye was damaged, he balled up into somewhat of a shell.

But, I don’t think that his performance at UFC 129 was typical of his other performances.

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UFC 129 Recap: St. Pierre underwhelms in victory

AP ImageGeorges St. Pierre (AP Photograph) successfully defended his UFC Welterweight Championship once again on Saturday, beating Jake Shields by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 129.

However, despite the win, St. Pierre was less than impressive in his victory.

St. Pierre managed to keep the fighting standing for 25 minutes, even avoiding takedowns while on one leg, but St. Pierre never had Shields in any real danger of finishing the fight.

GSP used his jab and overhand right hand to easily control the first two rounds and used a head kick in round three to drop Shields. Late in the third round, Shields bum rushed GSP for a takedown and got a finger in the eye of St. Pierre that caused him to have blurred vision. Shields then followed with a few jabs that made GSP’s vision event worse.

The concerns over his eye kept St. Pierre from really attacking over the last 10 minutes and two judges awarded Shields the final two rounds of the fight.

Nonetheless, it was a unanimous decision win for St. Pierre, who has defended his title six times successfully and improves to 22-2 in his career. The question now will be whether he will still fight at welterweight, or move up to middleweight.

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