Aldo vs. Edgar Fight Card: 5 Surprising Developments from UFC 156
Anything can happen in MMA. Time and time again, tremendous underdogs have overcome the odds and unknown fighters have emerged victorious against respected veterans.
UFC 156 certainly had surprises in store from top to bottom. There were major upsets, unexpected performances and breaking news stories that shake up a title scene or two.
Without any further ado, here is a look at five surprising developments that came from Saturday's UFC 156 card.
Strikeforce Imports Dominate on the Undercard
When Strikeforce closed their doors in January, it meant that the top talent from America's No. 2 promotion would get the opportunity to prove that they belong inside the Octagon.
At UFC 156, a trio of imports from the organization proved their mettle by going 3-0 in their promotional debuts.
First up, Isaac Vallie-Flagg used forward motion and heavy-handed attacks to earn a hard-fought decision win over longtime UFC veteran Yves Edwards. Had it not been for the iron chin of Edwards, Vallie-Flagg might have taken home a Knockout of the Night bonus, as he threw everything but the kitchen sink in this fight.
Immediately after, FX viewers witnessed the debut of unheralded lightweight Bobby Green. The jiu-jitsu blue belt quietly went 4-1 in Strikeforce before moving to the Octagon, and he continued his forward momentum with a rousing performance against the always dangerous Jacob Volkmann.
The fight ended with less than one minute on the clock when Green snuck in a rear-naked choke that won him the fight as well as a $50,000 Submission of the Night bonus.
Finally, Strikeforce welterweight challenger Tyron Woodley needed only 36 seconds to knock MMA journeyman Jay Hieron into oblivion. It was a brutal finish that establishes Woodley as a legitimate threat at 170 pounds.
Jon Fitch's World-Class Grappling Rendered Useless by Superior Demian Maia
Jon Fitch has long been considered one of the most dominant grapplers at 170 pounds. His grinding style of wrestling has seen him control fighters with tremendous jiu-jitsu credentials as well as high-level wrestlers. For that reason, Fitch was the betting favorite heading into his contest with BJJ ace Demian Maia.
However, Maia wasted little time in showing the world why his jiu-jitsu is the best on the planet, as he thoroughly bulldozed Fitch for three rounds.
The fight saw the Brazilian score takedowns at will and control Fitch's back for more than 11 minutes of the three-round affair. It was more than enough for a unanimous decision victory, as few would have been surprised to see at least one 10-8 round when the scores were read.
Ultimately, the judges scored the contest 30-27 across the board in favor of Maia. Now 3-0 in the welterweight division, Maia could compete for UFC gold once again before the end of the year.
Bigfoot Silva Knocks out Overeem; Puts Title Scene in Disarray
Alistair Overeem was supposed to defeat Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and then take his seat next to Cain Velasquez atop the UFC heavyweight division. After all, as the final Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Overeem was widely expected to be superior to Silva, who was a member of that organization's roster while The Demolition Man reigned supreme.
Silva didn't care to simply play the role of stepping stone.
In the third round, Bigfoot turned up the heat and sent Overeem into a deep slumber with enormous punches that could have put a rhino to sleep. Now, Velasquez has no clear-cut challenger to his crown, and the title scene is left without focus.
Rashad Evans Upset by Lil Nog After Lethargic Performance
Rashad Evans has been a Top 5-ranked light heavyweight since 2008. From established former champions like Chuck Liddell to promising newcomers like Phil Davis, Evans has proved time and time again that he is one of the best fighters on the planet.
That's why his lackluster showing on Saturday night was so shocking.
Evans did not appear to be himself during the 15-minute affair. He was outboxed by Antonio Nogueira, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but was surprising nonetheless given Evans' tendency to score takedowns against any opponent who threatens him in the standup department.
The loss costs Rashad a potential shot at Anderson Silva in the middleweight division. It also forces us to examine his previous wins more closely and wonder if he was truly an elite fighter, or simply the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time during bouts with an over-the-hill Liddell, an arguably overrated Forrest Griffin and an out-of-shape Rampage Jackson.
Anthony Pettis Wants to Fight Jose Aldo for Featherweight Championship
Perhaps the most shocking moment of UFC 156 occurred during the post-fight press conference. When asked about what's next for UFC champion Jose Aldo, Dana White announced that he had received a text message from lightweight contender Anthony Pettis asking for the fight.
This is surprising mainly because Pettis previously dismissed the idea of dropping to featherweight after being passed over for a lightweight title shot at UFC 150.
After scoring a TKO win over Donald Cerrone last weekend, Pettis was guaranteed a shot at the winner of April's Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez title fight. For that reason, it's peculiar that he chooses now to drop down despite finally getting what he has been waiting for.
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