UFC 167 Results: 3 Prelim Fighters Who Should Fight on the Main Card Next Time
With UFC 167 boasting an all-star cast, several talented fighters forfeited the main card spotlight and were left to compete in the prelims of the 20th anniversary fight card.
There’s no shame in competing in the prelims, especially on a card of this magnitude. The stars had aligned for the UFC’s biggest card of the year, which was headlined by pay-per-view juggernaut Georges St-Pierre.
You would be hard pressed to find any fighter who complains about his spot on that fight card. Many UFC warriors would have been happy with a Facebook preliminary slot.
Still, some guys on the undercard were deserving of a spot on the main card. In fact, several fighters on this card would have likely been featured on the main card of any other UFC event.
When fights turn out as good as they did on Saturday night, it sometimes makes you wish the UFC would extend its typical five-fight main card lineup to six or seven bouts.
In any case, here are three prelim fighters from UFC 167 who should fight on the main card next time.
Thales Leites has really his career around since the UFC cut him in 2009.
In his second go-around, the former middleweight contender is 2-0 in the promotion, with lopsided decision wins over Ed Herman and Tom Watson.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of his fight game has been the improvement in his striking. The Brazilian has long been considered one of the best submission artists at 185 pounds.
With improved striking, he may have a high ceiling in the UFC middleweight division.
There wasn’t any controversy when Rick Story defeated Johny Hendricks nearly three years ago.
Now, both fighters are at completely different places in their careers. Hendricks is a top welterweight contender who just signed a major endorsement deal with Reebok and nearly defeated Georges St-Pierre for the UFC title.
Story, on the other hand, hasn’t seen main card action since October 2012. Plagued by inconsistency, he has dipped significantly in the UFC rankings, but he continues to try to fight his way back into relevancy.
His unanimous-decision win over crafty veteran Brian Ebersole was a great place to start.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was all business on Saturday night as he ramrodded a tough Evan Dunham.
After a unanimous-decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos in August, Cerrone contemplated dropping down to featherweight, but in the end, he decided to stay at 155 pounds and continue his quest for the lightweight strap.
Dunham, a world-class grappler and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, took a lopsided beating on the feet before hitting the ground and getting submitted by a triangle choke in the second round.
Cerrone is without a doubt one of the more talented lightweights in the UFC still searching for that signature win.