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UFC 170: 5 Takeaways from Las Vegas

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

UFC 170: 5 Takeaways from Las Vegas

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite losing big-time draw Rashad Evans to injury and seeing both the main event and co-main event end in a matter of minutes, UFC 170 still delivered.

    As only the second card of all time to be headlined by a women's title fight, the Las Vegas throwdown seemed to do everything well.

    A lot of antsy onlookers were highly invested in not only Ronda Rousey's Olympic grudge match with Sara McMann but also Daniel Cormier's quest to punish Pat "The Coffee Maker" Cummins.

    All in all, it was a great night of fights.

    Here are five takeways from the event and what each key performance means to its respective division.

Erik Koch Is Back

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Ladies and gentleman, Erik Koch is back.

    After disappointing performance after disappointing performance as a featherweight prying for a title shot, "New Breed" has found a new home at 155.

    And after his first-round destruction of Rafaello Oliveira Saturday night, the 25-year-old seems to be back on track as one of the promotion's most promising prospects.

    If Koch is able to maintain his ferocity on his feet and continue to display elite grappling skills, there's only a short list of lightweights who will be able to match his natural talent.

    Until then, let's rejoice in the fact that the former featherweight hype train has pulled back into the station.

MacDonald Has Lost His Ability to Finish

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    As one of the very best athletes in the sport today, people expect Rory MacDonald to dominate his competition.

    For the most part he has.  But what the 24-year-old phenom has been unable to do in recent memory is finish.

    After securing two TKOs and one submission victory in three of his first four UFC wins, "Ares" has been unable to stray from the judges' scorecards.

    At times, MacDonald seems too hesitant to put the pressure on even the most dazed of opponents, suggesting that a lack of killer instinct is to blame.  This was never more true than at UFC 170, when he was unable to fold an already off-his-feet Demian Maia.

    MacDonald is still young enough to prove he has what it takes to become a finisher, but for now, it seems as if the welterweight standout is destined for a path once traveled by Georges St-Pierre.

The UFC Needs to Try Harder

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    Really?  Is this the best the UFC could come up with?

    Now I understand that Pat Cummins has been a destroyer on the open market, but this is the big leagues.  And Daniel Cormier is as big of a performer as it gets.

    To pin a coffee shop employee against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world seems like a slap in the face of fans.  A replacement was needed on such short notice and kudos to Cummins for stepping in, but were we to believe this fight would end any other way than it did?

    Sure, Cummins did a good job pestering Cormier leading up to their UFC 170 co-main event, but looking back on it now, it's clear why he did it.  Getting people interested in a fight often outweighs the fight itself.

    While Cummins probably thought he'd be able to stand with Cormier better than he did, there's a part of me that thinks he knew he was going to get destroyed.

    But I guess that potential Rocky-like upset is always worth throwing a vanilla bean grinder up against a bona fide Octagon killer.

Cormier Deserves a Title Shot

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    If a performance ever deserved title consideration, it was Daniel Cormier's at UFC 170.

    Now while Pat Cummins isn't Rashad Evan by any stretch of the imagination, "DC" still made a top prospect look like a sheep.

    So while many people will point out that Cormier's resume still isn't up to par with the rest of the division's, his light heavyweight debut is all the proof you need.

    Dressed to impress and aiming to destroy, the former Strikeforce king looked as good as any fighter can at 205.  Not to mention, his weight cut presumably went down without any hiccups whatsoever.

    On the heels of such a performance—one that came from his hands and not his wrestling—Cormier is worthy of a title shot.  He has what it takes to test the likes of Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson.

    So in the words of Teddy KGB, "Pay dis man his money."

Rousey Is Truly as Good as It Gets

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Any doubts that anybody had about Ronda Rousey's ability to adapt and overcome in any Octagon environment can be put to rest.

    On the heels of piercing Sara McMann's liver with a sharp left knee, it's time to accept the fact that Rousey is truly as good as it gets.

    Now I know that's a hard pill for some to swallow, considering the champ isn't the most likable star in the sport today. But give credit where credit is due.

    Because a Judo practitioner like Rousey destroying a world-class athlete with her striking, and not her grappling, lends a hand in understanding that she may very well be the most dominant champion the promotion has ever seen.

    She has a lot of work to do and should fight two more times this year, but she's on her way to becoming a women's Anderson Silva.

     

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