UFC 171 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 38

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

UFC 171 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 38

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    UFC 171 is in the books. The results are as follows:

    UFC 171 Main Card

    • Johny Hendricks def. Robbie Lawler, Unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
    • Tyron Woodley def. Carlos Condit, TKO (Round 2, 2:00)
    • Myles Jury def. Diego Sanchez, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Hector Lombard def. Jake Shields, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Ovince St. Preux def. Nikita Krylov, Submission (Round 1, 1:29)

    Fox Sports 2 Prelims

    • Kelvin Gastelum def. Rick Story, Split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
    • Jessica Andrade def. Raquel Pennington, Split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
    • Dennis Bermudez def. Jimy Hettes, TKO (Round 3, 2:57)
    • Alex Garcia def. Sean Spencer, Split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

    Fight Pass Prelims

    • Francisco Trevino def. Renee Forte, Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Justin Scoggins def. Will Campuzano, Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • Sean Strickland def. Bubba McDaniel, Submission (Round 1, 4:33)
    • Robert Whiteford def. Daniel Pineda, Unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

    Next up is UFC Fight Night 38 on Sunday, March 23. Featuring a moderately anticipated rematch between former champions Dan Henderson and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, the upcoming Fox Sports 1 card promises to deliver numerous names you'll vaguely recall hearing at one point or another like Jussier da Silva, Norman Parke, Gian Villante and many more.

    Seriously, though, there are some interesting fights to look forward to. No, really!

    So what should you be mulling over until then? Find out right here!


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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    So yeah...apparently UFC Fight Night 38 is going to be on a Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

    What's up with that?

    UFC Fight Night events have popped up on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays already and at various times. Now, the UFC is adding another day and a new time to the already confusing mix.

    It's no secret that the UFC has consistently put up underwhelming ratings on Fox Sports 1 (with the lone exception of the first Fight Night, which was headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua). So could this be Fox experimenting with new time slots to try and get the biggest bang for its buck with the UFC?

    Or maybe this is because the card is in Brazil? I am not knowledgeable when it comes to the dynamics of the Brazilian television industry, but it doesn't seem far-fetched that Sunday night might be better for Brazilian UFC fans.

    Or maybe the UFC is getting fans ready for the upcoming wacky schedule, which will include two events in one day and events on back-to-back days.

    I don't know. Either way, being a UFC fan just seems to be getting harder.

Who Is Getting Hosed This Time?

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    Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    You know the deal: A Brazilian Fight Night equals bad refereeing plus worse judging. 

    We see zany things happen on every card, from egregiously bad work by judges to utterly nonsensical calls (and no-calls) by the referees. The only questions are: Who will get crushed underneath the Rota Fortunae, and who will get wrongly lifted higher?

    So what will happen? Will we witness a nutty "what fight were they even watching" decision? Will there be "come on, ref" no-call on an illegal upkick? How about a premature stoppage on a knockout or submission?

    We shall see!

Which Flyweight's Relevance Will Evaporate?

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    It feels like just yesterday that people were excited about the UFC adding this hotshot Brazilian prospect by the name of Jussier da Silva. It was hard not to be, really, as he had torn up the Brazilian flyweight scene before having a solid 2-1 run in Tachi Palace fights, beating Japanese pioneer Mamoru Yamaguchi and eventual UFC fighter Danny Martinez.

    It also doesn't feel like it was all that long ago that Scott Jorgensen, who was on an impressive five-fight winning streak, was challenging Dominick Cruz for the WEC bantamweight belt. He had beaten Takeya Mizugaki, Brad Pickett and Antonio Banuelos during that stretch, who were some of the best fighters in the WEC bantamweight division. At 27 years old, he seemed like he was going to be a rock for the division's Top 10.

    Time has not been kind to either fighter, though.

    Da Silva is 1-2 in the UFC thus far, getting brutally knocked out by Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson. Jorgensen, after losing to Dominick Cruz at WEC 53, went 3-3 before dropping to flyweight, where he lost his 125-pound debut to former Bellator champion Zach Makovsky.

    While both fighters are undeniably skilled, they find themselves in awkward positions here. In the suddenly competitive flyweight division, there is only room for one of them to remain a player, and it's possible someone could get a pink slip with a loss.

    So who will keep his place?

What the Heck Is Going on with Diego Brandao?

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Diego Brandao won The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 in impressive fashion, scoring knockouts over Jesse Newell, Steven Siler and Bryan Caraway before locking up a silky-smooth armbar on Dennis Bermudez to win the season. His performance showed just how great he is capable of being, and then he had a forgettable performance against Darren Elkins.

    Thus was born one of the UFC's most wildly inconsistent fighters.

    While he has a solid 4-2 UFC record, he has demonstrated serious cardio issues and, quite frankly, has looked worse since winning TUF (which is strange, since he faced fearsome competition on the show). In his most recent fight, he came in a whopping eight pounds overweight and suffered a brutal knockout loss to Dustin Poirier (which, judging by the above picture, transformed Brandao into Vladimir Matyushenko).

    So...what's up with that?

    I have no clue. I do know that the UFC has hooked him up with a downright squash match here. He will face off with 0-1 Will Chope, who is at a distinct stylistic disadvantage to go along with his massive lack of experience.

    Will Brandao right the ship? Or will he officially enter a career free fall?

Is Gian Villante Sneaking Up into 205-Pound Relevance?

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    While the light heavyweight title picture is crowded right now, things are open outside the Top Five. Considering Gian Villante is 4-1 in his last five fights, with the one loss being a controversial technical decision loss to Ovince St. Preux, he might just be a fight or two away from having a number next to his name.

    He has some amazing tools to work with including legitimate athleticism (not to be confused with combat sports "athleticism"), solid wrestling and explosive hands. He faces off with Fabio Maldonado, an anonymous cog in the light heavyweight division who (tellingly) barely edged out Joey Beltran at UFC Fight Night 29. Villante has a big opportunity to show that he is a contender in the making.

    So can he do it?

Will Norman Parke Keep Winning?

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    Matt Roberts/Getty Images

    The UFC is actively trying to groom fighters from the United Kingdom, and TUF: The Smashes winner Norman Parke is benefiting from that. With some solid hands and a somewhat underrated grappling pedigree, he has the tools to be competitive against high-level lightweights in the UFC.

    The UFC realizes that and is taking the extra steps to ensure his success. 

    It's a wise move on the company's part. The U.K. and Ireland are potentially exploitable markets, and the Northern Ireland-born Parke has a strong record in smaller promotions in both areas.

    He takes his 2-0 UFC record to Brazil to face off with Leonardo Santos. The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 winner is a 12-year veteran who has split fighting time between Japan and Brazil. He comes from the excellent Nova Uniao camp and will bring a great deal of savvy into this bout.

    Parke, though, has what it takes to win. It's on him to pull it off.

    If he can overcome Santos, he would stay on track to potentially becoming a new Conor McGregor or Michael Bisping. If not, a huge opportunity would slip through his fingers.

Is Cezar Ferreira Going to Earn a Legitimate Opponent?

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    Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Norman Parke isn't the only international TUF winner who might be entering the mix soon. TUF: Brazil 1 middleweight tournament winner Cezar Ferreira (and don't refer to him by his nickname...you're only encouraging him) is on a three-fight winning streak and is facing off with one of the middleweight division's better gatekeepers in CB Dollaway.

    The runner-up of The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 is a legitimate threat and has been looking solid of late. That makes him a great measuring stick for Ferreira, which makes this the first-ever great matchup on a UFC card in Brazil.

    If Ferreira beats Dollaway in convincing fashion, he deserves to be ranked at 185 pounds and might re-legitimize TUF as a source of talent. If he struggles or loses, then he clearly isn't ready for the big time.

    Either way, this is a deceptively interesting fight.

Could Shogun Be Mounting a Comeback?

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Mauricio Rua seemed to be tumbling toward Chuck Liddell territory after ugly losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen. Even against the overrated Brandon Vera, the Pride legend and former UFC champion struggled to match the brutally average pace of The Truth.

    It was easy to feel like he was less Shogun and more Sho-Done. After all, seemingly every Top 10 light heavyweight from 2008 through 2011 over age 30 has been retiring or losing in ugly fashion. 

    Then, he popped James Te-Huna's head clean off in December, and the MMA world remembered how good he can be. Te-Huna, while not an illustrious opponent, was not a can, either. Beating him the way Shogun did, with a single punch, means that he still has something to offer.

    Does he still have enough, though, to reassert himself as a top light heavyweight? At just 32 years old, it's certainly possible he can still channel some of the "old" (as in young) Rua that smacked around Alistair Overeem and soccer-kicked everyone into submission.

    Or maybe his win over Te-Huna was his Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader.

    Either way, we'll have to see. The division would benefit from having another dangerous veteran. 

Is This Dan Henderson's Last Stand?

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    At long last, Dan Henderson is finally fighting like someone in his 40s.  

    It seems like an eternity ago that the former two-division Pride champ was the UFC's top contender at 205 pounds, but time has not been kind to Hendo, who turns 44 in August. Since the four-fight winning streak that got him that notorious shot at Jon Jones at UFC 161, he has gone 0-3.

    Now I wasn't an actuarial math major back in college, but I'm smart enough to figure out that's really bad, guys.

    Not many fighters survive 0-4 stretches. The ones who have in recent years have tended to be anchors in developing markets abroad (Dan Hardy, Yoshihiro Akiyama) or Dana White's favorite "Just Bleed" fighters (Leonard Garcia). Hendo doesn't fit into either category, and even his vaunted adamantium chin and one-punch knockout power are in doubt at this point. 

    Oh, and there's this whole TRT-ban business. That can't help.

    The UFC has little incentive to keep Henderson if he loses, and he has even less incentive to continue fighting.

    Could this be the last we see of Henderson in the cage?

Does Anybody Think Rua vs. Henderson 2 Won't Be Terrible?

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    A friend of mine once said, "You can tell a movie is bad if there is a '2' in the title." There is plenty of truth to that, and MMA isn't much different. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar had fans clamoring for more, and Griffin vs. Bonnar 2 made them regret it.

    Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was great, but who is expecting sequel to be good?

    Nobody? OK.

    Both fighters' best years are long past them. Rua, 32, is 3-4 since losing the belt to Jon Jones, and his cardio is questionable. Henderson, meanwhile, is on a three-fight losing streak and has gotten outmuscled and outwheeled by "youngsters" in their mid-30s. 

    Sitting back and thinking about it, it's hard to imagine this fight going well, especially as a five-rounder. 

    These guys might have a good fight left in them, but it's likely that this one will wind up being subpar.