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.

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UFC 147 Results & Recap: Franklin Decisions Silva Again

nullThe sequel looked a lot like the original, only a little bit longer.

Rich Franklin once again defeated Wanderlei Silva by decision in another exciting fight to headline UFC 147 in Brazil on Saturday, but this fight went five rounds instead of three.

Each fighter had their moment in the contest, with Silva nearly finishing Franklin to end the second round following a flurry, but “Ace” survived and went on to dictate the rest of the fight with his crisp, technical striking.

The win was impressive for the former middleweight champion, as he took this bout on short notice and fought in Silva’s raucous home country.

Now, the question is, what is next for both men?

Franklin is still one of the best, but he isn’t quite enough any more to challenge for a title. Silva is clearly far from what he was in the PRIDE days, but still entertaining. He has become somewhat of a gate keeper in the middleweight division.

In the co-main event of Saturday’s card, Fabricio Werdum improved to 2-0 in his return to the octagon, as he ran through Mike Russow.

Werdum continued to show his improved striking, as he quickly overwhelmed the inexperienced Russow with an array of strikes. Once Werdum rocked Russow, he quickly finished up on the ground and earned the TKO stoppage midway through the first.

Werdum is making a strong case to be considered a top 5 UFC heavyweight with his two impressive showings since coming back to the UFC. Perhaps a battle with the likes of Frank Mir could be next in the cards.

For complete results from UFC 147, check out the jump

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UFC 147 Main Event: Worst Ever?

nullIf you weren’t paying attention, you may not realize that UFC 147 is taking place this Saturday.

Part of the reason you may not realize this is because the UFC isn’t really going overboard trying to promote it.

The injury bug played a role in this card as the original main event was set to be Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva. The event is taking place in Brazil and these two coached the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil.”

While that fight lacks star power in the U.S., it was still a major fight in Brazil and had some meaning as Belfort was working his way back to a title shot.

However, Belfort broke his hand, and now the main event is Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva 2, a rematch of their UFC 99 main event back in June of 2009.

While the fight itself could be very entertaining, it could be one of the worst main events in UFC history in regards to what the fight actually means.

Neither fighter is anywhere near a title shot and both are on the tail end of their careers. Their UFC 99 main event was somewhat of a stretch as it was, and it has even less meaning now.

Again, I want to state that when I say “worst main event” I am not referring to the actual entertainment value of the fight. To me, main events should be left for title fights or elite top contender matchups. This main event at UFC 147 is neither.

Sure, there have been some shaky main events before like Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz or Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marquardt, but those took place in events that aired on live television. This is actually a PPV that costs $45 to watch ($55 if you want HD).

You could even compare it to the likes of UFC 119, which had Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop as the main event, but Frank Mir was much closer to a title fight then than Franklin or Silva are now.

Really the closest fight by comparison is the main event at UFC 115 when Franklin faced Chuck Liddell. But, even that featured Liddell in a “retirement fight” that garnered some extra interest.

Hopefully the fight is explosive and gives people a reason to watch that pay their money. But, given the talented roster the UFC has these days, these types of main events should be closer and closer to extinction.

What did we learn this week? For May 6, 2012

nullIt has been a while since I have posted on here, but I am back with weekly looks at MMA, mainly the UFC.

So, here is a look at what we learned this week.

- Nate Diaz may be an unsolvable problem for 155 pounders – Nate Diaz looked more than impressive against Jim Miller in the UFC on FOX 3 main event on Saturday. Miller had the kind of style that I expected to give Diaz some trouble, but he ran right through him. Diaz’ long reach has really been a problem for his opponents and he seems to be a vastly improved fighter since moving back from welterweight to lightweight. Miller was one of the top fighters in the division and Diaz made him look like a first timer. Diaz could legitimately become the UFC champion as I don’t know that a Benson Henderson or Frankie Edgar will be able to outwork him or deal with his jabs.

- Where does Josh Koscheck go from here? – Certainly it would be hard to say that Josh Koscheck was dominated by Johny Hendricks and you could maybe make the argument that he beat Hendricks on Saturday. Regardless, Koscheck certainly didn’t dominate Hendricks either. Koscheck seems to have become a fighter that refuses to go back to his roots when needed. He is one of the top wrestlers, and perhaps most explosive wrestler, in the 170 pound division. Koscheck is relying on his big swings and limited striking to try and win fights, even when it is clear he is not winning. Koscheck has only been out-wrestled one time in his career, and that was by Georges St. Pierre. In a fight like Saturday’s, I would have liked to see him take Hendricks down and work his ground striking as opposed to hoping for a knockout punch. Now Koscheck is lost in the welterweight division and not capable, in my mind, to make a run at middleweight. He needs to reinvent himself if he hopes to ever win UFC gold.

- Where would Alan Belcher be if he never got injures? – Belcher had about as good of a performance as Diaz, as he stopped Rousimar Palhares in the first round with some vicious ground and pound. Belcher was on a nice run in the UFC prior to an eye injury that nearly ended his career and sidelined him for over a year. Since his return, Belcher has first round finishes of Jason MacDonald and Palhares and he has won four straight overall. The middleweight division has quickly become very competitive with the addition of Hector Lombard. With Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann, Mark Munoz, and Michael Bisping all in the mix, Belcher should be right there with them.

UFC Matchmaking update – UFC 140 gets main event

nullLost in a weekend that saw the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals take place were some big fight announcements from the UFC.

Here is a look at three different UFC events that have added to their cards.

- UFC 140 in Toronto go its main event as heavyweights Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will have their rematch. The two met back at UFC 92 with Mir handing Nogueira his first stoppage loss. Mir KO’d Big Nog in the second round. Nogueira claimed a staph infection hindered his abilities and has been seeking a rematch since. Mir has won his last two fights and looking to get back into the title hunt with a win while Nogueira is coming off his KO win over Brendan Schaub at UFC Rio. UFC 140 also added Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald to the lineup.

- UFC 139 picked up a big fight as middleweight Vitor Belfort will return to action when he takes on former Strikeforce champion, Cung Le. This will be a battle of perhaps the two fastest strikers in all of MMA. Le hasn’t fought since June of 2010, when he KO’d Scott Smith to avenge his only loss. Belfort is coming off a KO win over Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. This fight should come down to which fighter strikes first.

- Jon Fitch will make his long-awaited return to the octagon at UFC 141 when he faces off with Johny Hendricks. Fitch hasn’t competed since February when he had a draw against B.J. Penn. Fitch had shoulder surgery that put him on the shelf for a while. Fitch hasn’t lost since his 2008 title fight with Georges St. Pierre. Hendricks has one loss in his career, to Rick Story back in December of 2010. He has won his last two fights, but is facing the toughest opponent of his career when he squares off with Fitch.

Top 10 Middleweight Rankings

nullThe middleweight division had a big fight this past weekend but the result wasn’t too surprising.

Anderson Silva maintained his top spot in my top 10 middleweight rankings with his win on Saturday and it seems he has only one man that can truly pose a threat to his championship.

Here is a look at the top 10 in the 185-pound division in my eyes.

1. Anderson Silva (31-4) – Silva made Yushin Okami look like an amateur last Saturday and he has cemented himself as the best middleweight in UFC history. Next up for Silva will likely be a rematch of some kind, with either Chael Sonnen or Dan Henderson.

2. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) – Sonnen hasn’t competed since pushing Silva to the limit last fall, but he is scheduled to face Brian Stann at UFC 136 in early October. Sonnen appears to be the lone hope to dethrone Silva someday, but the champion still managed to submit Sonnen despite an injured rib and 20 minutes of pummeling.

3. Vitor Belfort (20-9) – Belfort showed his explosive ability in his quick knockout of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. He still may have the fastest hands in the division, but he missed his opportunity when he faced Silva back in February. A few more wins for Belfort may get him another crack at the title.

4. Yushin Okami (26-6) – Okami also had his chance, but couldn’t find a way to make his fight with Silva a grappling one. He seemed to passive and allowed Silva to get comfortable on his feet, and that is always a losing combination. Okami has to go back to the drawing board, and will likely need a long winning streak to get another title fight.

5. Michael Bisping (21-3) – Bisping is going to face off with Mayhem Miller later this year for a chance to propel himself into title contention. Bisping is still looking for a marquee win in his career and he hasn’t been terribly impressive since his TKO win over Denis Kang back at UFC 105 in 2009. Bisping needs an emphatic victory over Miller to really be considered a title contender.

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (14-2) – The Strikeforce Middleweight Champion is set to return to action next week against Luke Rockhold, who is good competition in the Strikeforce organization, but not a great opponent on the world stage. Someday, with Strikeforce slowly merging into the UFC, I would expect Souza to compete in the elite organization someday.

7. Brian Stann (11-3) – Stann faces his toughest test to date when he squares off with Chael Sonnen at UFC 136. Stann has established himself as a feared striker in the division with respectable grappling skills. In this fight, he will need to have tremendous takedown defense to keep the relentless Sonnen from getting top position.

8. Mark Munoz (11-2) – Munoz will take on Chris Leben at UFC 138 in the highest-profile fight of his career. Munoz is a grinder that has some big punching power without the technique. His strength is his wrestling, but he will mix it up with anyone. He should probably stick to the wrestling in his bout with Leben.

9. Chris Leben (22-7) – Leben breaks into my top 10 list after his impressive KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Leben clearly has the striking power to beat anyone on this list, but lacks the grappling skills and pure boxing technique to really become a top 5 contender. His bout with Munoz will test how far his grappling has come and show if he is ready to make a serious run at the title.

10. Alan Belcher (16-6) – Alan Belcher will make his return to action in a couple weeks after an eye injury sidelined him for more than a year. Belcher was on his way to becoming a title contender before getting hurt. When he returns on Sept. 17, he will face off with Jason MacDonald, another UFC veteran. The long layoff will be something Belcher has to overcome, but a win over the submission specialist will be a nice start for his return.