UFC 169 is in the books. The results are as follows:
UFC 169 Main Card
- Renan Barao def. Urijah Faber, TKO (Round 1, 3:42)
- Jose Aldo def. Ricardo Lamas, Unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
- Alistair Overeem def. Frank Mir, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ali Bagautinov def. John Lineker, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Abel Trujillo def. Jamie Varner, Knockout (Round 2, 2:32)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Alan Patrick def. John Makdessi, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Chris Cariaso def. Danny Martinez, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Nick Catone def. Tom Watson, Split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Al Iaquinta def. Kevin Lee, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-27)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
- Clint Hester def. Andy Enz, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Rashid Magomedov def. Tony Martin, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Neil Magny def. Gasan Umalatov, Unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Next up? UFC Fight Night 36. This card follows the standard formula for modern Brazilian UFC cards of having a moderately interesting main event, a fairly watchable co-main event and little else.
Still, it's a card worth talking about. So what questions are worth asking for the next two weeks? Find out right here!
I've actually been trying to get away from these "what will the ratings be like" slides for fight nights. It is pretty clear at this point that UFC Fight Night events will hover between 600,000 and 750,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1. They will blow away the networks' standard prime-time programming but get absolutely dwarfed by NCAA football.
I'll dust this slide off, though, because of the main event.
Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi are two great fighters. They are legitimate Top 10 middleweights, serious title contenders and stylistic nightmares for many prospective opponents. They are also seriously questionable when it comes to their drawing power.
While Mousasi has had a great deal of success fighting in Japan and Strikeforce, he remains a mystery to most UFC fans. Machida, meanwhile, is highly recognizable due to his time as light heavyweight champion, but he also headlined one of the UFC's all-time biggest ratings duds, UFC Fight Night 30.
While both of them have the skills to make it to the top contender spot, drawing power is every bit as important as actual resumes and skills. This is their shot to prove that they have it.
It's that time of the month again! Get ready for another UFC event in Brazil.
With every event in Brazil comes a fight that is, surely, the biggest robbery in MMA history. And not one of those Josh Thomson vs. Benson Henderson "the fight was close but the judges didn't score it my way so it must be a robbery" robberies. I'm talking about a "Dana White feels bad for still bringing along Nevada State Athletic Commission judges so he gives the guy a win bonus because he knew this kind of thing was going to happen" robberies.
Sometimes, the robberies favor the Brazilians. Sometimes, they don't. Either way, somebody is going to wind up terribly unsatisfied after their fight.
So who will it be?
I think we can all agree on this: The UFC's cards in Brazil tend to really stink. Pay-per-view and Fight Night alike.
At most, you'll see three bouts with legitimate title implications on a Brazilian card (in this case, there's two). The rest of the card tends to be completely devoid of appeal. Even UFC fans with the hardest of cores would have trouble explaining the appeal of Ildemar Alcantara vs. Albert Tumenov or Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke.
White can stamp his foot over people pointing out cards on UFC.com being chock-full of Noob Saibot mirror matches, but that doesn't mean much. Brazilian cards are flat, and the ratings tend to reflect this.
Will they ever change that? Or do the numbers on Zuffa balance sheets make up for the numbers on the Nielsen Ratings?
Wilson Reis has spent 2008 through 2012 just under the mainstream MMA radar.
He went 4-0 in EliteXC (beating Bryan Caraway and Zach Makovsky) before joining Bellator. There, he became a steady presence at featherweight, competing in three 145-pound tournaments before dropping to bantamweight. While he would leave the promotion following a loss in his 135-pound debut opposite eventual champion Eduardo Dantas, he has gone undefeated since, most recently defeating veteran Ivan Menjivar at UFC 165.
The UFC's bantamweight division is in a serious rut right now. Old names from the WEC linger on, while very few youngsters have come in to create new matchup opportunities. That makes Reis a deceptively valuable commodity for the UFC.
Not that valuable, mind you. The fact is that the UFC is burying a bout between top-10 fighters (on my list, at least) behind Thiago Tavares vs. Zubaira Tukhugov.
Still, Reis is a fresh face in the bantamweight division. If he can beat Iuri Alcantara, he would be a fresh face near the top of the bantamweight division.
Depending on how things shake out with Dominick Cruz, that might mean a very quick run to the top for Reis.
That picture up there is something we haven't seen much of over the past few years: Urijah Faber in a disadvantageous position during a grappling exchange. The guy getting the better of him, if only for a little while, is Alcantara.
Alcantara has looked unstoppable at points during his MMA career. He has also looked very stoppable at other points. He beat various fighters who are currently in the UFC in the Brazilian Jungle Fights promotion, including Andrade and Francisco Trinaldo (who are both booked higher than him on this card, by the way). His most notable win, though, came over Ricardo Lamas.
While he is ranked No. 9 in the bantamweight division, his recent performances haven't been nearly as impressive as those of the past. He is 1-2 (1) in his past four fights. Going 1-3 (1) over five fights? Well...not too many fighters can pull that off and keep their jobs in the UFC.
So Alcantara might have his back to the wall here. Will we see him live up to that? Or will he wilt under the pressure?
There haven't been many fighters who the UFC has tried to push as hard as Erick Silva. When you listen to Joe Rogan or Kenny Florian or whoever happens to be commentating his fights, they will swear up and down that he has every single skill you could possibly want to see, and that there is no way he is destined for anything other than the belt.
Sure, his UFC debut was impressive, but he's still getting prominent booking because he knocked out Luis Ramos. The two legitimate names on his record, Jon Fitch and Dong Hyun Kim, both wrecked him. Not just beat...wrecked.
To the UFC's credit, it seems to have realized he isn't actually that good. Rather than overbooking him against a legitimate Top 10 fighter, it is matching him against some guy named Takenori Sato. Yet, this fight between guys ranked outside of the welterweight top 20 is still going to unfold in the No. 3 spot of the event.
Why? Hell if I know.
When Francis Carmont first started becoming somebody to watch, it was because of his fearsome kickboxing.
Whatever happened to that?
What we've seen out of him lately is a methodical, plodding grappler and not even a good one. He needed incompetent judges to get the nod over less-than-elite grapplers like Tom Lawlor and Lorenz Larkin. Most recently, he laid and prayed Costa Philippou in the truest sense of the term, scoring a decisive but utterly yawn-worthy unanimous decision.
So now that he's facing off with somebody who is way, way better at grappling, will we actually get to see the beastly striker we were promised?
Over the past 12 months, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza has looked the part of an evolving fighter.
At Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, he outwrestled Ed Herman before locking up a kimura. Then at UFC on FX 8, he showed off his standard powerful submission-focused attack, locking up an arm triangle on Chris Camozzi. Then to top it all off, he knocked Yushin Okami's head into the sixth row with one punch at UFC Fight Night 28.
What will we see from him against Carmont?
Could he show off a newly dynamic striking game? Could he work over Carmont in the clinch? Will he try to toss him around before attempting submissions?
We shall see!
Mousasi vs. Machida is almost certainly going to be a technical kickboxing match. Not in the fun "oh man, this is going to be a stand-up war" way that White is almost certainly going to pitch it as.
No, this is probably going to be a battle between Mousasi's stiff jab and Machida's attempts to get him off balance and counter. In the business, that is usually called a "surefire decision." Naturally, both fighters have other aspects to their game, but does anybody, anywhere not expect these two to try to establish themselves on the feet more than anything else?
So, of course, the question is can Mousasi win the fight with his striking?
While Machida is best known for his elusive striking, his takedown defense is terribly underrated. Even Phil Davis, one of the most physically powerful light heavyweights and one of the best wrestlers in the division, was unable to hold him to the ground for more than a few seconds.
Now think about that in comparison to the middleweight division. How many middleweights can take him down for any length of time? OK, so how many can outstrike him?
By my count, not too many. Honestly, it's hard to imagine even Chris Weidman being able to solve the Machida puzzle. That makes it hard to imagine anybody, including Mousasi, being able to stop him from taking the belt.
The only person, frankly, who seems like he could stop Machida from becoming the UFC's third two-division champion is UFC president Dana White.