UFC 172 Results: Burning Questions Heading into UFC Fight Night 40
UFC 172 is in the books. The results are as follows:
UFC 172 Main Card
- Jon Jones def. Glover Teixeira, unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Anthony Johnson def. Phil Davis, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Luke Rockhold def. Tim Boetsch, submission (Round 1, 2:08)
- Jim Miller def. Yancy Medeiros, submission (Round 1, 3:18)
- Max Holloway def. Andre Fili, submission (Round 3, 3:39)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Joseph Benavidez def. Tim Elliott, submission (Round 1, 4:08)
- Takanori Gomi def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Bethe Correia def. Jessamyn Duke, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Danny Castillo def. Charlie Brenneman, knockout (Round 2, 0:21)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
- Chris Beal def. Patrick Williams, knockout (Round 1, 1:51)
Next up? UFC Fight Night 40.
There are two kinds of fights worth getting excited about: title-relevant fights and fun fights. This card is chock full of the latter. All over this card are potential Fight of the Year candidates...but it definitely comes at the expense of "important" fights as, with the exception of Matt Brown, none of the fighters are particularly close to a title shot.
So what should you wax on about standing around the water cooler? Find out right here!
Will This Event Kill the UFC's Modest FS1 Ratings Momentum?
While folks have (rightly) been all doom and gloom about the UFC on Fox ratings, the ratings for the UFC cards on Fox Sports 1 have quietly been on a massive upswing.
While Fight Nights 28 through 35 generally hovered between 600,000 and 700,000 viewers, Fight Night 36, headlined by Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi, exploded in ratings to the tune of 1.4 million viewers averaged throughought the main card.
Fight Night 38, headlined by Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua 2, followed that up with solid numbers that averaged over 900,000 viewers. The pay-per-view preliminary cards on Fox Sports 1 have had a similar level of success, consistently averaging over 900,000 viewers.
That's a positive trend they are putting at risk with this card that, frankly, doesn't have a single big name on it.
Don't get me wrong, every single bout on the main card has the potential to be fun, and the preliminary card is decent across the board. That said, unless fans see "Brown vs. Silva" on their guides and assume it's one of the good Silvas fighting, few folks are especially excited for seeing any individual fighter.
So what is it that fans have been liking on Fox Sports 1, then? The UFC seems to think (or at least, it's hoping) that they can garner solid enough ratings without a recognizable name atop the card.
Are they right? Or will this card regress back to the mediocre numbers we saw during most of 2013?
Will the UFC Ever Start Respecting Eddie Wineland?
Eddie Wineland is the best pound-for-pound fighter on this card. Second place (Matt Brown) isn't very close, either.
Where, though, is the No. 4 bantamweight placed on this card? Opening up the Fox Sports 2 Prelims, of course.
The UFC has a very bad habit of under-booking when it comes to Wineland (and any given bantamweight, really). Adding insult to insult, though, is that they booked him against Johnny Eduardo.
Don't bother jumping onto Wikipedia. He's 35 years old, 1-1 in the UFC and will be two years separated from his last fight by the time Fight Night 40 rolls around. He's not really an opponent deserving of a former champion who fought Renan Barao for the belt less than a year ago.
So will Wineland ever get treated like he deserves? Probably not, but I have my fingers crossed for him.
Is Kyoji Horiguchi Going to Start Moving Toward Title Contention?
The crop of talent at flyweight is still mighty thin these days, so anybody who can string together a few impressive wins in a row is going to wind up with a title shot on his hands. There are two flyweights coming off wins in the UFC fighting at UFC Fight Night 40: Chris Cariaso and Kyoji Horiguchi.
Cariaso is an underappreciated talent to be sure, but his losses to Jussier da Silva and John Moraga put him in an awkward spot in the division for the foreseeable future. Horiguchi, though, has no baggage and a big knockout over Dustin Pague already on his resume.
Horiguchi is now slated to face off against Darrell Montague, a fairly unknown commodity who was knocked out by John Dodson in October. While Horiguchi shouldn't be regarded as a big favorite, if the Japanese knockout artist can render two opponents unconscious in his first two UFC fights, it's hard to make the case he isn't near the front of the line for a title shot.
So can Horiguchi fast-track himself to the belt?
Is the UFC Grooming Soa Palelei?
Soa Palelei had one of the worst-ever UFC wins back at UFC 164, when he and Nikita Krylov put on a heavyweight bout worthy of a Bellator preliminary card. He bounced back hard, though, when he grounded and pounded Pat Barry unconscious in front of a raucous Australian crowd back in December.
He is 2-0 in his current UFC run, is on a nine-fight winning streak and remains undefeated since his 2010 fight against some random unknown named Daniel Cormier at XMMA 3.
That could have gotten him a fight against an established, entrenched part of the UFC's heavyweight division like Matt Mitrione or Brandon Vera. Instead, he is welcoming a UFC newcomer in Ruan Potts.
Now, Palelei isn't an elite heavyweight by any means, but he is definitely a fighter the UFC would like to see succeed given their lack of Australian star power and his hard-punching style. Barry was a fighter tailor-made for him, and he has the on-paper stylistic advantage with Potts as well.
So can Palelei make use of what the UFC is giving him? If so, will the UFC keep developing him under the spotlight?
Is Erik Koch the New Donald Cerrone?
There are certain fighters the UFC set up to succeed because they are given the opportunity to fight frequently, oftentimes against overmatched opponents. Donald Cerrone and Urijah Faber are perfect examples of this. While the jury is still out on where Erik Koch stands in the lightweight division, the UFC might just have big plans for him.
Koch returned to lightweight in February with an impressive knockout of Rafaello Oliveira. After expressing interest in a quick return to the cage, the UFC set him up with another fight just six days later.
The fight, of course, is at UFC Fight Night 40 against Daron Cruickshank.
While Cruickshank is a solid fighter, and recently scored an awesome knockout over Mike Rio, Koch is likely to open as a huge favorite...and rightly so. Koch has spent the majority of his career in either the UFC or WEC and was honed to the point where he was a decent opponent for Jose Aldo, and he might be even be better now as a lightweight.
If he wins, will the UFC once again hustle him back into the cage?
Which Middleweight's Bubble Will Burst?
Costas Philippou seemed as if he was a surefire contender for a little while there. He had a five-fight winning streak, and, at the time, it was hard to ignore his knockout of Tim Boetsch (who, himself, was coming off wins over Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami).
His awfully one-sided loss to Francis Carmont woke up a lot of people, though, and the way Luke Rockhold dispatched him? Well, worldwide ink sales jumped seven percent from how hard he got written off.
It wasn't too different for Lorenz Larkin, either. The Strikeforce alumnus exited his former promotion with a convincing win over Robbie Lawler, and when he was utterly robbed of a win over Francis Carmont (who, obviously, would go on to beat Philippou), there was a case to be made regarding Larkin as a top-10 middleweight.
Losing to Brad Tavares, though, stifled that discussion, and he has since faded into the middle of the 185-pound pack.
Now, after climbing fairly high up their division's ladder, it's entirely possible that either fighter will be cut with another loss.
So who will it be?
Can Erick Silva Beat a Legitimate Opponent?
I frequently barb Erick Silva, but it isn't for anything that he, himself, has done. I jab at him because of how dishearteningly committed the UFC is to the lie that he is anything more than an anonymous lower-middle-tier welterweight.
Oh, that and how he freely grabs the cage to escape takedown attempts, punches people in the back of the head and kicks downed opponents in the face.
Silva's wins have a combined 6-10 UFC record (6-12 if you count Carlo Prater, which some do). In his two bouts against legitimate talents, he was crushed like a paper cup. The biggest name on his resume is now-lightweight Charlie Brenneman.
That hasn't kept the UFC from burying guys like Raphael Assuncao, Gleison Tibau, Diego Brandao and (for this card) Eddie Wineland on the preliminary card, introducing Silva to the crowd at events as if he was a legend in the sport and putting him on the main card in six out of his seven UFC bouts.
Now, for some reason, he is fighting in a main event.
It's not a spot he deserves to be in, and he is fighting an opponent whom he has no business being in the cage with (on paper, at least). It's still happening, though, and the only question is if the UFC's perception of Silva has started to become a reality.
Will the Matt Brown Train Keep A-Rollin' (All Night Long)?
For a long time, Matt Brown was one of those anonymous lower-middle-tier welterweights I mentioned before. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he rattled off a six-fight winning streak that vaulted him into the title picture. It was a welcome surprise given the exciting nature of his fights and the sudden dominance he was displaying.
It is also worth noting that Brown's streak has not come at the expense of no-namers. Solid veterans Jordan Mein, Mike Pyle and Mike Swick all pop up on Brown's resume. So does an up-and-coming star in Stephen Thompson.
That was supposed to have earned Brown the opportunity to face Carlos Condit at UFC on Fox 9. That fight could have easily led to a title shot opposite Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, but alas, a back injury robbed him of the opportunity. That cruel twist of fate has relegated him to facing Erick Silva in a throwaway fight on a less-than-compelling Fox Sports 1 card.
Silva should be a speed bump for somebody such as Brown, who sits just outside title contention. So will Brown look as good in reality as he does on paper? Will he once again assert himself as an honest-to-goodness title contender?