Well that was shocking… After a stunning end that still has most members of the MMA world including fans, fighters and media personalities all equally shocked, UFC 162 is now in the books and one of the greatest title reigns in UFC history is over. Chris Weidman shocked the world Saturday night in Las Vegas as he did the unthinkable and knocked Anderson Silva out cold for the first time in “The Spider’s” career. The rest of the main card provided a ton of action and a lot of exciting bouts and the main event just capped a great night of fights, unfortunately for the UFC, many people are tossing around conspiracy theories and making excuses for the main event instead of celebrating a great night of fights. With all of that said, it’s time to look forward at what’s next for all of the main card fighters.
Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson defeated Dennis Siver via TKO (Punches) at 2:24 of Round Three
What’s next for Swanson? He deserves a top contender, but there’s not a whole lot of names available. He needs to move upwards towards a title shot so there is a short list of names that make sense. The first one is Ricardo Lamas, who like Swanson has been continually passed over for a title shot. The other hot name is Frankie Edgar, but I think it’s too quick to throw Frankie back into title contention. My favorite option is the winner of the upcoming bout at UFC 164 between Chad Mendes and Clay Guida, both of whom could test Swanson’s grappling.
What’s next for Siver? He wasn’t dominated at all and heading into the final round of this fight, it was even and extremely close. The loss won’t drop him too far down the rankings, but he’ll take a step back. I’d actually like to see Siver scrap against the loser of the upcoming Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier match. Another option would be fellow main card loser Charles Oliveira.
Middleweight Bout: Mark Munoz defeated Tim Boetsch via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Mark Munoz made a successful return to the octagon after over a year away with injuries, and it was a bumpy ride to begin with. Boetsch was the aggressor early on, landing a couple of takedowns in the early part of the first round. Boetsch also managed to lock in a guillotine that was deep, but never close to finishing Munoz. In the second and third rounds, Munoz came storming back. The tide turned in the second as Munoz scored a takedown from the fence and transitioned to north-south position. From there he brought the ‘donkey kong’ as he likes to say, dropping huge hammer fists and punches to the body, to the legs and to the head. In the final round, Munoz continued to grind on Boetsch who began to look fatigued and continued to pound away at him on the ground. The final round was the most dominant of the fight as Munoz just blasted away at a battered and beaten Boetsch, but couldn’t find the finish.
What’s next for Munoz? At the post-event press conference he was happy to throw his name into the mix for a rematch with Chris Weidman, but that’s not going to happen. Munoz needs to be brought along slowly, against lower-level top ten fighters. Someone in the eight-ten space in the UFC’s rankings would be best. Francis Carmont seems like a fighter who would fit the bill. Although some might consider it a step-down in name value, Carmont is 5-0 in the Middleweight division and in need of a tough challenge, Munoz fits perfectly.
What’s next for Boetsch? That’s two straight losses for Boetsch, who looked impressive when he first made the drop to Middleweight. He’ll need to try and get back on track. Two possible outcomes are readily available here and both are recent Strikeforce imports. The first is fellow main card loser Roger Gracie who was dominated by Tim Kennedy. The more intriguing option however is Luke Rockhold. The former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion who lost his UFC debut to Vitor Belfort.
Middleweight Bout: Tim Kennedy defeated Roger Gracie via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Heading into this fight, Gracie was hailed as one of the best pure grapplers in the UFC, but the questions continued to surround his still improving striking skills. Tim Kennedy showed that you need to be well rounded to compete at the highest levels of modern MMA in this bout. Despite being taken down early in the fight, Kennedy remained calm and showed excellent ability to avoid dangerous positions on the ground against a grappler as talented as Gracie. In the second round, Kennedy began to outstrike his Brazilian foe. Kennedy use leg kicks to slow the movement of Gracie and immediately began to punish Gracie with punches on the feet. The third round was the most one-sided of the fight as Kennedy continued to punish the slowing, plodding Gracie. Unable to earn a takedown in the final round, Gracie became desperate and left himself open to some big power shots from Kennedy. Despite taking the big punches, Kennedy was unable to earn a finish.
What’s next for Kennedy? This fight wasn’t exactly a barnburner, but he was given a tough task for his UFC debut and he came out with a win. After recently criticizing the UFC’s pay structure and being quickly whipped into shape by Zuffa, I don’t think it’s likely he gets an easy fight for his second UFC bout. A lot of the top UFC Middleweights are already booked in fights, but there are a few options. Michael Bisping is probably a bit too far up the ladder at this point, so someone like CB Dollaway or Andrew Craig are probably the best options.
Featherweight Bout: Frankie Edgar defeated Charles Oliveira via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
This one was supposed to be a squash match for Edgar. The chance for him to get some new footage for his highlight reels and get him back on the winning track after recent struggles. Apparently Oliveira didn’t get the memo, as he pressured Edgar from the opening bell and showed off some impressive new striking skills during the duration of the bout. It was an interesting styles clash to see the wrestle-boxer in Edgar facing the BJJ-Muay Thai approach of Oliveira. The first two rounds were close, but Edgar won both fairly clearly in my opinion. In the third, Edgar really did his best work. He used great footwork to tire Oliveira out and leave him chasing him around the octagon. Edgar came forward in spurts, landing big shots that hurt Oliveira, despite teeing off with a number of huge bombs, he couldn’t quite get the KO punch to make the Brazilian drop, but at the end Edgar took a well-deserved decision.
What’s next for Edgar? After his recent struggles in title fights, it’s much too early to start throwing Edgar right back into title contention. Still, he’s a huge name fighter, who is going to get big fights no matter what. I think the key for the UFC will be keeping him active, in important fights, but not letting him derail all of the fresh contenders to Jose Aldo’s crown. A lot of people think Edgar should fight Cub Swanson, and while I agree the fight is intriguing and I’d love to see it, it will take away an exciting top contender, so I think they will be separated. Edgar should fight the winner of upcoming bouts between Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier, or the winner of the upcoming bout between Chad Mendes and Clay Guida.
UFC Middleweight Championship Bout: Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva via KO (Punches) at 1:18 of Round Two
Many people, myself included, felt that Weidman could pull off the upset, but no one in their right mind could have predicted the way it would go down. In the first round, Weidman almost immediately shot for a takedown and was able to corral the champion on the mat. For his part Silva did a good job of avoiding too many damaging shots, and was able to control the posture of Weidman. In my opinion, Weidman next made a mistake by rolling for a kneebar and giving up top position. The rest of the first round was fairly lackluster as Silva egged on the challenger, but Weidman remained cautious.
In the second round, it was more of the arrogant Silva that we’ve seen in the past. Taunting and clowning around, daring Weidman to rush forward, trying to goad him into a mistake. Despite many people saying Weidman was playing into Silva’s hands, I think he actually was fine here, despite not shooting for takedowns, he remained patient with his strikes. He never over-committed to one single strike, despite the horrible advice of his coaches to “punch a fucking hole through Silva’s chest.” As Silva continued to clown around, he got tagged and the rest is history.
What’s next for Silva? Anything and everything. From retirement to a bout with Roy Jones Jr. Anderson has always been an oddball, especially in the media, but his comments after the fight made absolutely no sense to me, it was hard to tell if he was trying to retire, or trying to not fight for the title or what. I honestly have no idea where they go with Silva from here. But I do know, the UFC’s best bet would be to put it on free television, because the one consensus I have heard from fans in the past two days, is that they will NEVER pay money to watch Silva fight again.
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