Apologies for the lateness of this wrap up everyone. Some plans from this weekend got in the way of me viewing UFC 163 live, so I was a day and a half behind before I was finally able to catch a replay of the event. Despite me taking the card to task a little bit beforehand for lack of big name recognition, the card mostly delivered. Although the main event failed to live up to the expected fireworks, it still provided a relatively entertaining scrap, there was also a Light Heavyweight robbery, a return to form from a Brazilian Middleweight as well as an exciting Flyweight scrap. Let’s take a look at what happened and what’s next in the fallout from UFC 163 from Rio de Janeiro.
Flyweight Bout: John Lineker defeated Jose Maria Tome via TKO (Punches) at 1:03 of Round Two
What’s next for Lineker? He’s looked impressive in his Flyweight career, unfortunately he keeps missing weight. Still he’s an exciting fighter in a thin division talent-wise, so I think the UFC will give him a fair amount of rope on the weight issue. For his next contest he definitely deserves a step up in competition, and the proper opponent for him also fought on this card. “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall earned his first UFC win on the undercard and would prove an interesting challenge for the heavy-handed Lineker.
What’s next for Tome? He looked impressive during the first round and he’s surely not going to get cut after a loss where his opponent missed weight and he fought anyways. He’s also in the UFC’s thinnest division. If Lineker gets Ian McCall, then it would make sense to match Tome with the man who McCall defeated Iliarde Santos. Santos proved to be a handful for McCall and put on an entertaining scrap, so pair these two off and let’s have another exciting Flyweight tilt.
Middleweight Bout: Thales Leites defeated Tom Watson via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Leites is best remembered by most fans for the stinker he put on in his title shot against Anderson Silva. Clearly he has made some improvements since leaving the UFC. His striking looked more crisp than it ever has and his takedowns were on point throughout the fight. Leites also showed improved ground and pound, as his shots looked like they actually had a good amount of force behind them as opposed to weak punches that we’ve seen in the past. He looked pretty fatigued by the end of the bout, so cardio might still be an issue, but he definitely dominated Watson from bell to bell and it was an impressive return to the world’s largest MMA promotion.
What’s next for Leites? It was an impressive return yes, but he’s still far from earning himself another shot at the UFC title. He’s going to have to take his career in baby steps this time, I think the next logical opponent for him is Tim Kennedy. Kennedy recently beat up Roger Gracie in a less than impressive showing by both men, but he’s a popular fighter who is a tough match up for anyone. A bout against Kennedy would be a solid measuring stick for where Leites stands in the division.
What’s next for Watson? It’s hard to say, because he didn’t look overly impressive in this fight and he hasn’t looked at all impressive during his stint in the UFC. Still he’s a Brit, and the UFC likes to keep them around for shows in the UK. I think that’s a smart plan for the UFC. One of the struggling Strikeforce imports would make sense Trevor Smith or Lorenz Larkin maybe.
Middleweight Bout: Cezar Ferreira defeated Thiago Santos via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:47 of Round One
Thiago Santos was moving up in weight for the first time and it proved to be a horrible idea. Ferreira stalked forward from the opening bell and his first flurry of punches had bad intentions. A high kick followed that wobbled Santos. Sensing opportunity he quickly latched on to the choke and rolled to the ground, earning a quick and impressive submission victory.
What’s next for Ferreira? It has to be Daniel Sarafian. Ferreira won the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but Sarafian was forced to withdraw from the tournament and that title of Brazil’s first Ultimate Fighter seems to have a permanent asterisk next to it. A bout between these two could settle the score and crown a true winner from the first season of TUF: Brazil.
What’s next for Santos? He definitely shouldn’t be staying at Middleweight as he definitely doesn’t have the size to hang with even the mid-tier fighters in that division. So what prospects are there at Welterweight for him? Yuri Villefort on a Brazilian card? Maybe Neil Magny or Colton Smith in a battle of TUF champions.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis defeated Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision
Robbery? Shenanigans? Incompetence? It’s hard to say exactly what the reason is that all three judges inexplicably awarded this fight to Phil Davis. It’s hard to complain too much, as the bout was a mostly action light affair. In the first round Machida controlled the distance for much of the round, and countered effectively. He also landed a nice flurry that sent Davis reeling towards the cage. A meaningless takedown at the end of the round was apparently enough to steal it. In the second Machida again controlled the pacing of the fight with his awkward striking style, and apparently once again Davis’ late takedown after a number of failed attempts stole him the round. The third round was Davis’ worst as he missed on a number of takedowns and was actually reversed by Machida and taken down. Still, one judge gave him the round. In the end Phil Davis took a Unanimous Decision that almost no one thought he deserved.
What’s next for Davis? A win is a win and it’s still going to move him up the Light Heavyweight rankings. He was a highly touted prospect expected to challenge Jon Jones when he first entered the UFC, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations quite yet. Still, he’ll likely be getting a top 5 opponent next, with a chance to springboard into the title conversation. Glover Teixeira is likely getting a title shot if he beats Ryan Bader in the next month, so that fight won’t produce an opponent unless Bader pulls off the upset. Another option could be Vitor Belfort who has openly campaigned that he won’t fight at Middleweight until he gets a title shot, but was willing to entertain bouts at 205 or even 265 pounds.
What’s next for Machida? Back to the drawing boards I guess? Machida does what he usually does and this time he wasn’t rewarded for his efforts. Despite the controversial decision, it’s still going to knock him a few pegs down the rankings. He could face the loser of the upcoming title bout between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Another option might be to consider a cut to Middleweight if friend and training partner Anderson Silva comes up short in his second bout with Chris Weidman.
Featherweight Bout: Jose Aldo defeated Chan Sung Jung via TKO (Punches) at 2:00 of Round Four
This fight certainly didn’t end up with the fireworks and wild brawling that everyone suspected it may include, but it was a pretty entertaining scrap anyways. The best way I’ve heard the bout described so far was that Aldo was highly effective, yet wildly unspectacular when compared to his previous bodies of work (see demolitions of Cub Swanson or Urijah Faber’s leg.) During the first round of the bout, Aldo threw a kick to the legs, only for Jung to check it, the result ended up being a broken foot for Aldo and left him largely unable to throw kicks for the rest of the contest.
What’s next for Aldo? He’s teased moving up in weight to challenge in the Lightweight division, but after the bout Dana White seemed convinced that Aldo would stay at Featherweight. He’s run through many of the top contenders, but one name that has earned a shot is definitely Ricardo Lamas. Lamas has beaten a slew of top contenders including Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. Lamas has also been calling for the title shot publicly and with no other suitable challengers waiting in the wings, it’s time for him to get a shot.
What’s next for Jung? This probably depends on how long he’s on the shelf from that nasty shoulder injury. It’s a similar injury that caused him to need surgery and miss over a year of action. At the press conference he said the shoulder popped back in and he feels fine. If he can return to action quickly a bout against Dennis Siver would make the most sense. Siver recently lost a top contender bout to Cub Swanson at the UFC’s last Pay Per View.
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