Posted by Budgellism Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:00 AM
The UFC held its’ second event on FOX on Saturday night. The main event and the co-main event of the evening both featured number one contender fights.
Rashad Evans and Phil Davis squared off in the main event for a chance at Jon Jones’ Light Heavyweight title. There was a lot of trash talk leading up to the fight that caused many to believe they were in for a war. That wasn’t the case though.
Right from the opening bell it was clear who the better man in the cage was. Evans was able to best Davis in every aspect of the game. He was able to pick him apart striking, stuff his All-American takedowns, land some of his own, and completely dominate him with his grappling abilities. The only thing Rashad wasn’t able to do was finish the fight. Davis found himself stuck in some precarious positions throughout the fight, including being stuck in a crucifix two different times. When the fight finally concluded Evans was announced the winner by unanimous decision (50-45 on all scorecards).
The co-main event featured two of MMA’s largest villains, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping. The fight was made after Sonnen’s original opponent, Mark Munoz, suffered an injury and was forced to pull out of the fight. Bisping was scheduled to fight Maia but jumped at the opportunity to become the next title challenger.
Sonnen started off strong, landing a takedown early in the fight. He was unable to hold Bisping down though and spent the majority of the round battling back and forth with him up against the cage. When the two exchanged on the feet Bisping was able to land much more than Sonnen. The 2nd round saw much more offense from Bisping. He was able to fend off the majority of Sonnen’s takedowns and land more consistently with his punches. The 3rd round was all Sonnen’s. He was able to take Bisping down and hold him there for the majority of the round. He was also about to take his back and work for a choke. Bisping was able to work his way back to the feet and even take Sonnen down himself, but it was a case of too little too late as the fight came to a close. Sonnen was declared the winner by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
I am now going to go through my thoughts on where each fighter on the main card broadcast should go from here.
Rashad Evans – Evans appeared to be too much for the inexperienced Davis. He showed how much his wrestling and his striking has come along since beginning his journey in the sport. He was able to dominate a four-time All-American, proving that credentials don’t mean everything when you’re in a fight. Evans’ next fight has already been booked. He will be fighting Jon Jones at UFC 145 for the Light Heavyweight championship. He’s going to have his hands full in that match up to say the least.
Chael Sonnen – Sonnen has been on a tear since losing to Demian Maia nearly three years ago. He has run through Dan Miller, Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt and Brian Stann. He even beat up Anderson Silva for the better part of a 5 round fight before succumbing to a triangle. He was supposed to run through Bisping in this fight but that wasn’t the case. In fact, many fans, including Dana White, believe that Bisping actually won this fight. It was very close but regardless of what people think, Chael Sonnen will be fighting Anderson Silva once again for the Middleweight championship sometime this summer.
Chris Weidman – Although his performance wasn’t exactly stellar, you have to factor in the circumstances surrounding this fight. Weidman came in on 10 days notice and had to cut a total of 31 pounds. This was also hands down the toughest fight of his career over a man with much more MMA experience than himself. He showed an improved stand up game and the ability to outwork Maia on the ground. He has a very bright future in the sport and can only go up from here. Rushing him into a title shot isn’t a good idea. He deserves a full training camp to display his talents against a fellow top contender. I believe Rousimar Palhares fits that bill nicely. They could potentially fight it out to determine who fights for the title next after Sonnen.
Phil Davis – I believe Evans was too much too soon for Davis. He’s still very young in the sport and has quite a bit to learn before he’s ready to be fighting for the title. That’s not to say he won’t reach that point though. This is a great learning experience for him and, like Weidman, I only expect big things from him in his career. For his next fight I think a match up with Forrest Griffin would be intriguing. Griffin is 2-3 in his last five fights, but is still relevant enough for another top 10 opponent. He’ll find that in Davis.
Michael Bisping – Bisping saw his 4 fight win streak come to an end at the hands of Chael Sonnen. He put on an excellent performance in defeat though. Not a lot of people were giving him much of a chance against Sonnen and despite losing he still proved a lot of people wrong. He made it very difficult for Chael to take him down. Even when he did manage to get taken down he was extremely difficult to keep down. It wasn’t until the 3rd round that Sonnen was able to capitalize on his takedowns. Even then Bisping ended the fight by taking Sonnen down. He’ll have to work his way back to the top, but there’s a good chance we’ll see Bisping fight for a title eventually. I’d like to see Bisping in a stand up battle. It’s been a little while since we were treated to one of those from him. I think Alan Belcher would make for the perfect opponent. Those two would only produce fireworks.
Demian Maia – Maia did not look good. He was on the losing end of a fairly dull decision and his cardio gave out rather quickly. He has completely shied away from his jiu-jitsu roots for his newfound love of striking. I believe he needs to work on mixing both parts of his game together. He has shown some of the best ground work in the game in the past and I miss that. Maia is going to have to go back to the drawing board after this fight. Court McGee and Constantinos Philippou are fighting at UFC on FX 2 in March. I think the winner of that fight would be an excellent way for Maia to get back on track or to determine a new Middleweight contender.
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