4th of July weekend means the UFC is in Las Vegas for International Fight Week. Two titles were up for grabs when Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman took on Lyoto Machida, who had the opportunity to become just the third fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes. In the other title fight, Women’s Bantamweight Ronda Rousey put her title on the line against Alexis Davis. In what was a great night of fights, here are my lessons learned from UFC 175.
Lesson 1: Still Champion
[adinserter block=”1″]I never questioned the skill or toughness of Chris Weidman but there seemed to be a lot of chatter before the fight that he hasn’t truly earned the respect he deserves as champion. Some believe that both wins against Anderson Silva were flukes. I wasn’t one of them. He did what no one else was able to do in the first fight, and he perfectly checked a kick that caused Anderson to break his leg in the second fight. I see his first win as a clean knockout and it’s unfortunate, but injuries do happen in this sport.
On Saturday night, Weidman again was able to do something no one else has done. As a wrestler, he controlled Lyoto Machida. He did not get the finish as he predicted, but he was dominant in victory. He implemented a very dangerous strategy but putting pressure on Machida worked. For once, it looked as though Machida wasn’t sure what to do. Weidman moved forward, threw a lot of kicks, landed combos and really took Machida out his game. Things got very interesting in rounds 4 and 5. Weidman clearly slowed down and it opened up opportunities for Machida. Weidman took some big shots but was able to get a takedown late in the 5th round to pretty much seal the deal. Weidman showed all the nonbelievers that he could take a shot and win a five round war. No question in my mind that he a strong champion. Do you respect him now?
Lesson 2: No Competition
Saturday night showed that there’s no competition for Ronda Rousey in the UFC. When the challenger gets tougher, the fight gets easier. She dismantled Alexis Davis in a matter of 16 seconds. For the second fight in a row, Ronda showed that she has more than just an armbar. Rousey blasted Davis with a big right hand, landed a big knee in the clinch, and hit one of her famous Judo throws. From there, she pounded Davis out. It was her fourth title defense in 16 months as she improved her record to a perfect 10-0. Oh yeah, every one of her victories ended in a finish.
What could be next for the baddest women on the planet? Really, there is only one fighter in the world I want to see her fight right now and it’s Cris Cyborg. I used to think that Cyborg could be the one to defeat Rouser, but after Saturday night I am not sure anymore. There’s no one in the UFC that will be able to hang with Ronda. Cyborg is the only one who stands a chance and the fight MUST happen. UFC needs to find a way to bring Cyborg into the UFC.
Lesson 3: Big Heart
Uriah Hall proved a lot of the skeptics wrong on Saturday night. Since coming up short on the Ultimate Fighter, questions have been asked about his heart. He powered through a broken toe in the first round to earn a decision victory over Thiago Santos. When the referee and doctor asked him if he’s good, he could have easily ducked out of the fight but he didn’t. Instead, he decided to continue as he danced around the cage, throwing huge kicks with a broken toe in rounds two and three. He showed flashes of the guy who landed the nastiest knockout in TUF history. He’s ultra talented and the future is still bright for Uriah Hall.
Lesson 4: Thank God
It was very unfortunate but the Stefan Struve-Matt Mitrione fight was canceled. It was reported that Struve almost blacked out while warming up for his fight with Mitrione. It was supposed to be his first fight since suffering a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart back in August 2013. All I can say is thank God this happened in the locker room and not inside the Octagon. Struve and the UFC dodged a huge bullet and it shows a fighter’s safety is always the number one priority.
Other notes from the UFC 175:
[adinserter block=”2″]There isn’t really much more Urijah Faber can do in the sport. He remains undefeated in non-title fights and his training partner and protégée; T.J. Dillashaw holds the belt in his division. I cant see him getting another title fight anytime soon, so might as well conclude the trilogy with Dominick Cruz. Cruz should be back later this year.
Alex Caceres performed much better than I expected in his fight with Faber. I thought Faber was going to roll through Bruce Leeroy like he was nothing, but that didn’t happen. Faber did catch him with a choke in the 3rd round but I think Caceres is getting better and has a bright future at bantamweight.
Welcome to the UFC Rob Font. Font earned himself a “Performance of the Night” bonus with his knockout win over George Roop. Font is a guy we all need to keep our eyes on.
Steven Grossi is a digital video producer who likes to write a little. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hardcore MMA fan and a total wrestling nerd. He usually has a strong opinion on anything combat sports related so give him a follow on twitter @GrossiMMA.