UFC 168 Recap (12-29-2013)

UFC 168 Recap (12-29-2013)
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Cageside head writer: Tim McNamara

Chris Weidman Defeats Anderson Silva by Bloodsport style Leg break


I was standing downtown at my other job when word got to me what happened to Anderson Silva's leg. That he had by default lost the rematch and may never return from such a gruesome injury.

Often you read about these kind of catastrophic events and there's a desire by writers and pundits and critics to make it into more than it is.

Having acknowledged that, part of me has a hard time not thinking of the old adage: pride goeth before the fall. The cynic in me was not bereaved when Anderson danced around a bit too long and got KO'd by Weidman. By the time last night rolled around, however, I wanted Anderson to destroy Weidman and ride off into the sunset as reward for his flashes of brilliance over years of dominance.

Anderson was mercurial always but his destructions of various opponents never had any of us doubt that when he turned it on, there was likely no one more skilled than him to grace the cage. He and Fedor made it look effortless at times.

In the end, Weidman is a more beatable champ simply because he's not Silva. I think Belfort will quickly KO him inside of a round because Vitor does that to hittable, slower starting fighters (ask Rich Franklin, Rockhold, Henderson, and Bisping as of late). The only two men to defeat Belfort this time around in the UFC are Jon Jones (who he very nearly finished in one round) and Anderson Silva.

Rousey Accepts role as the Floyd Mayweather of Women's MMA.

Ronda Rousey seems to have thrived on playing the villain. Call it her not caring, or perhaps someone who secretly craves attention be it good or bad. Having heard her interviews about the politics of Judo and scraping by financially after having medaled in the Olympics, she is a woman with resentments. No number of film roles nor ESPN covers seems to have made her comfortable as the face of women's MMA or as a social media darling.

Miesha Tate was more competitive this time, but ultimately her skills played right into Rousey's like I predicted they would: Miesha rushing forward got her Judo tossed like a rag doll. Her double leg attempts were reversed and ultimately the jujigatame (that's Judo-speak for armbar) was a foregone conclusion.

As for the fight itself, aesthetically: women's skills in MMA are still developing but what it makes for are more entertaining scraps. Each fighter is a bit more hittable and this is a blood sport. The crowd wants action. Not everyone who watches MMA trains Jiu-Jitsu, but everyone can viscerally understand a punch to the face landing without needing to understand the mechanics of elite level striking.

Ronda lands good looking Judo takedowns and wins by submissions with some clinch work and stand-up mixed in for good measure. This fight also saw the champ go beyond the first round, and question mark in the minds of both casual and hardcore fans.

Travis Browne Marches toward title shot contention

The "Warmaster" Josh Barnett on paper simply needed to get Travis Browne to the floor to finish off Travis Browne. Anyone doubting that Travis Browne is tough to finish need only see his fight against Alastair Overeem to discuss further. I'm still unclear as to the enforcement of the 12-6 downward elbow rule as Browne's elbows were very directly in a straight line moving top to bottom (the same elbows that visibly hurt GSP in the first round against Hendricks.

In other news from UFC 168, Jim Miller continued his submission-centric ways with a quick finish of Fabricio Camoes.

Dustin Poirier continues his circulation of the title shot world with his dismantling of the 7 pound overweight Diego Brandao.

Michael Johnson decisively KO'd the very tough to finish Gleison Tibau with a shot to the jaw/ear/side followed by an immediate hammer fist that sealed the deal.

Chris Leben quit on his stool. Personal problems notwithstanding, this is the unforgivable sin to many fight fans. Not in so much as Leben was taking an egregious amount of punishment, but he quit primarily due to what was obviously frustration pure and simply. The knee that knocked him down by Urijah Hall to start the fight did not bode well for the Crippler's return to the octagon following a drug test suspension. Urijah Hall showed good movement, patience, and fought the bull like the matador should: on the outside, picking his shots, with variety, and patience. I don't know that Urijah Hall has the killer instinct but if Robbie Lawler can fight for the Welterweight belt nearly a decade after his first run in the UFC, anything is possible.

Side note - Congrats to Cageside writer Tim McNamara on his recent promotion to purple belt in Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! Check out Tim McNamara's blog. Google: zegrapplez



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