When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, UFC 163 was still left muddled by the injuries that had originally rearranged it. The otherwise-explosive champion avoided his signature leg kicks—the result of an injury to his foot shortly after the fight began—and instead elected to attempt takedowns. Not exactly what you might expect from one of the UFC's signature strikers.
Yet in spite of a controversial co-main event and injury-based TKO in the title fight, the bouts in Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena answered some noteworthy questions and offered a few vital lessons.
Some fighters walked away with highlight-reel submissions (see: Moraes, Sergio), while others simply walked away (see: Magalhaes, Vinny). To be completely honest, an argument can be made that Brian Stann's commentary stole the entire show.
Let's examine the primary takeaways from UFC 163.
Midway through the FX Prelims at UFC 163, grappling ace Sergio Moraes (8-2-0) demonstrated the sheer beauty of top-level transition work en route to a submission.
Laying in side guard on top of opponent Neil Magny (8-2-0), Moares seemingly floated above a pair of legs that were intended to block him from reaching full mount. Moments later, "The Panther" would end up wrapping his legs around Magny's neck, eventually culminating in Moraes managing to flip Magny onto his back.
Still wrapped up in the triangle choke, Magny had no choice but to tap as the pressure on his neck intensified.
Moares demonstrated that, when done properly, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is artwork in action.
I sincerely thought Vinny Magalhaes (10-7-0) would deliver not only one of the best fights of UFC 163, but also one of the most memorable submissions of the evening.
Fourteen seconds into the first round, he proved me dead wrong.
Anthony Perosh (14-8-0) threw a straight right in the bout's very first exchange that resulted in Magalhaes' body collapsing to the canvas. Half-dazed and barely cognizant of what just happened, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu mastermind tried to toss his legs up for some kind of guard defense.
It was to no avail—Perosh followed up with some clean ground-and-pound, forcing the referee to call the fight.
Sure, Magalhaes returned to the UFC with an admirable armbar win over Igor Pokrajac, but he's now left staring at the grim consequences of a lackluster decision loss to Phil Davis and a blowout knockout defeat against Perosh at UFC 163.
I can't imagine where he goes from here. For his sake, hopefully that destination remains under the Zuffa banner.
But considering that he ominously left his gloves inside the cage after this defeat, we may have seen the very last of him in MMA.
Image courtesy of Esther Lin on behalf of MMAFighting.com.
Though no longer a UFC fighter, Brian Stann may have nevertheless stolen the show at UFC 163.
Substituting for Joe Rogan's unique flavor of color commentary, Stann used the evening to demonstrate his prowess in technical commentary accessible to both casual and hardcore MMA fans. He broke down key moments of every critical exchange, making sure never to stray off on any tangents.
By the time the evening came to a close, Stann's commentary proved to be both critical and refreshing—where Rogan and Goldberg might have been overwhelmed by the excitement of the moment, Stann made sure to focus on an even-keel approach to fight breakdown.
At UFC 163, his cage-side efforts made it clear he can summon his cage experience in order to deliver robust, rich color commentary.
TUF: Brasil winner Cezar Ferreira (6-2-0) took advantage of the benefits of being Vitor Belfort's protégé—he simply ripped through opponent Thiago Santos (8-2-0) with frightening ferocity.
"Mutante" backed Santos up with a flush left hook and made sure to immediately pounce on the injured opponent. After taking a few more kicks and punches against the cage, Santos collapsed to his knees, only to realize that Ferreira would follow suit with a front head lock.
Ferreira then walked around Santos' frame and rolled him (twice) into an eventual guillotine choke. With his arm and neck trapped beyond recovery, Santos tapped with some serious urgency.
Ferreira is now 2-0 in the UFC. If his technique and intensity continue to increase, he could become a legitimate force to reckon with in the middleweight division.
(GIF of the finish courtesy of ZombieProphetMMA.)
During his post-fight interview, Lyoto Machida (19-4-0) despondently looked into the crowds and stated, "I really don't know what the UFC rules are. I don't know what they're judging."
Those two sentences are, unfortunately, a poignant summary of the co-main event.
Machida was certain he had outperformed opponent Phil Davis (12-1-0) over the course of three rounds en route to what surprisingly ended up being a unanimous decision loss. The result was made even more bizarre when FightMetric's report came in—their analysis confirmed that Machida should have been a 30-27 victor.
MMA's judging is continuing to worsen over time and is in dire need of a cure. So long as the current crop of judges continues to oversee bouts, both fans and fighters need to expect the unexpected if any given contest goes to decision.
One word effectively summarizes the end of Chan Sung Jung's (13-4-0) UFC featherweight title attempt: Ouch.
At the two-minute mark of the fourth round, the "Korean Zombie" threw an overhand right that slammed into champion Jose Aldo (23-1-0) with a troublesome thud. As soon as Jung recoiled his arm, an exposed shoulder socket revealed the extent of his injury. The champ smelled blood and immediately pounced—with no discernible hesitation, he targeted the shoulder with kicks and punches.
Jung collapsed to the canvas and referee Herb Dean was forced to call the fight.
Clearly in pain, Jung struggled to even stand after the bout came to a close. When asked whether he noticed the injury, Aldo stated, as reported by Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting, "Yes, I did see that he had separated his shoulder, so I kicked him and I tried to put him down on the ground to get some ground and pound."
That's the kind of ruthlessness you get from a champion on a 16-fight unbeaten streak. No sympathy, no remorse.
In spite of the surprising calm and composure he demonstrated in the rounds preceding his fourth-round injury, the "Korean Zombie" proved that he still needs all of his limbs to survive.
Jose Aldo def. Chan Sung Jung via TKO (strikes) - Round 4, 2:00
Phil Davis def. Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cezar Ferreira def. Thiago Santos via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 0:47
Thales Leites def. Tom Watson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
John Lineker def. Jose Maria via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 1:03
Anthony Perosh def. Vinny Magalhaes via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 0:14
Amanda Nunes def. Sheila Gaff via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:08
Sergio Moraes def. Neil Magny via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 3:13
Ian McCall def. Iliarde Santos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Rani Yahya def. Josh Clopton via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Francimar Barroso def. Ednaldo Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Viscardi Andrade def. Bristol Marunde via TKO (punches) - Round 1, 1:36