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UFC Fight Night 47 Results: Burning Questions Heading into Fight Nights 48, 49

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2014

UFC Fight Night 47 Results: Burning Questions Heading into Fight Nights 48, 49

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    USA TODAY Sports

    UFC Fight Night 47 is in the books. The results are as follows:

    • Ryan Bader defeats Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
    • Ross Pearson defeats Gray Maynard by TKO at 1:35 of the second round
    • Tim Boetsch defeats Brad Tavares by TKO at 3:18 of the second round
    • Alan Jouban defeats Seth Baczynski by KO at 4:23 of the first round
    • Shawn Jordan defeats Jack May by TKO at 2:03 of the third round
    • Thiago Tavares defeats Robbie Peralta via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:27 of the first round
    • Jussier Formiga defeats Zach Makovsky by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
    • Tom Watson defeats Sam Alvey by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Frankie Saenz defeats Nolan Ticman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

    Next up? Another UFC doubleheader in Fight Nights 48 and 49, taking place on opposite ends of the planet on Saturday, August 23.

    In China, Cung Le and Michael Bisping face off in a battle of former middleweight stars, Tyron Woodley and Dong-Hyun Kim both look to cement a place among the welterweight elite, and various Chinese fighters try to assert themselves as legitimate talent. Meanwhile, back stateside, Benson Henderson takes on Rafael dos Anjos in a big lightweight fight and...well, that's pretty much it.

    So what topics are worth bringing up over the coming days with your fellow MMA fans? Find out right here!

Will Any of the Chinese Fighters Not Totally Stink?

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    Xaume Olleros/Getty Images

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Various Fights in Macau
    The Real Fight: Market Potential vs. Reality of Chinese MMA

    The Stakes

    The UFC returns to China for a third time, this time actually wielding a sizable crop of local fighters. Unfortunately for the UFC, the state of MMA in the world's largest nation remains really, really bad. The UFC will roll out seven Chinese fighters in this card, with everyone's fingers crossed as far their joints will allow, hoping somebody is better than amateur level.

    The Question

    Will any of the Chinese fighters not totally stink?

    Analysis

    Have a good sense of schadenfreude? Check out Cung Le's recent appearance on The MMA Hour.

    Anyone who watched The Ultimate Fighter: China or the TUF: China Finale knew that the Chinese MMA scene had little to offer in terms of prospective talent. Things went from bad to worse (and worse to terrible), however, when the fighters who were considered established Chinese talent, such as Hailin Ao and Jumabieke Tuerxun, proved to be definitively subpar.

    Now, the UFC brings in its second wave of hopefuls—a mix between random TUF: China also-rans and works in progress from the Macau regional scenehoping beyond hope that one of them has either radically improved or is good enough to get by against foreign talent.

How Good Will Wilson Reis Be at 125 Pounds?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 49
    The Fight: Wilson Reis vs. Joby Sanchez
    The Real Fight: Wilson Reis vs. Some Guy

    The Stakes

    Wilson Reis has quietly been one of the top bantamweight talents in MMA for a long while, hovering just outside the division's top 10. While he has found regular success and each of his losses have come against legitimate top-five talents, he hasn't owned the belt of a high-level promotion since his exceptional run in EliteXC. He looks to change that by dropping down to the flyweight division and stepping over newcomer Joby Sanchez on the way to the title.

    The Question

    How good will Wilson Reis be at 125 pounds?

    Analysis

    Seriously, while you might be unfamiliar with Reis, he is really good. He has a rare combination of grappling and wrestling and should be one of the strongest guys at 125 pounds. 

    Unfortunately, his original opponent, Tim Elliott, was forced to withdraw from the fight due to injury. While beating Sanchez won't allow Reis to instantly vault into the top 10 as Elliott would have, this is a great showcase fight for the veteran. If he can take advantage of the seemingly overmatched Sanchez, watch for him to quickly make a run for Demetrious Johnson.

Could Thales Leites Really Be Making Another Title Run?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 49
    The Fight: Francis Carmont vs. Thales Leites
    The Real Fight: Thales Leites vs. Conventional Career Trajectories

    The Stakes

    Thales Leites and Anderson Silva put together one of the UFC's most notoriously horrid title fights back in 2009. That sloppy affair got him fast-tracked to regional promotions, but he returned to the UFC last year after a strong run as a journeyman. In a legitimately surprising turn, he has been utterly dominant since coming back, racking up three impressive, lopsided victories in as many fights. A win over Francis Carmont would elevate him to dark-horse contender status.

    The Question

    Could Thales Leites really be making another title run?

    Analysis

    Depending on whether or not you actually paid for UFC 97, you either rank Thales Leites among the worst things to happen to the UFC or a poor guy unfairly raked over the coals for putting on half of a bad fight. As somebody who happened to have a double-shift that particular Saturday, I fall into the latter category.

    Still, Leites' first stint in the UFC was undeniably defined by his stumbling into a title fight and not by how he got there. That makes his sudden transformation from a faux submission wizard to an all-over-the-cage threat a legitimate surprise. A win over Carmont, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the middleweight division, would almost certainly set Leites up to crack the top 10.

Can Jordan Mein Vault into Welterweight Top 10?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 49
    The Fight: Mike Pyle vs. Jordan Mein
    The Real Fight: Jordan Mein vs. Opportunity

    The Stakes

    Jordan Mein replaces Demian Maia against Mike Pyle and once again has the opportunity to show that he is a top-flight welterweight. It's a position he has been in a few times already, and a position he has historically struggled in. At a point in his career where he no longer qualifies as a prospect (despite the fact he is just 24 years old, he has a whopping 37 fights to his name), it's time for him to prove his elite-level status.

    The Question

    Can Jordan Mein vault into the welterweight top 10?

    Analysis

    There's no question that Jordan Mein is a solid welterweight. His resume includes wins over Marius Zaromskis, Evangelista Santos, Josh Burkman and Joe Riggs, veterans who have made careers out of preying on average or weaker fighters.

    Unfortunately, his list of career losses is far more impressive and includes the likes of Rory MacDonald, Matt Brown and Tyron Woodley. That makes it relatively tough to peg where the Canadian sits in today's welterweight division, and if he is either a career midcarder or a potential champ in the making. Set to face the wily Mike Pyle, he will either show that he is a top-10 talent or somebody destined for mid-tier gatekeeper status.

So Is Tyron Woodley Actually Any Good?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Tyron Woodley
    The Real Fight: Tyrone Woodley vs. Somebody Better than 2013's Josh Koscheck

    The Stakes

    Just a few months ago, Tyron Woodley was ripped by UFC President Dana White. After once again falling short against a top-10 fighter, the Baldfather labeled him a choker and said he had "a long way to go" before making it to the next level. Now, he is forced to restart his climb toward the top and will likely have the added pressure of trying to prove his boss wrong.

    The Question

    So is Tyron Woodley actually any good?

    Analysis

    Dana White has two great loves in this life—money and knockouts (he also loves his family too, but that's not relevant here). When a fighter can offer one or the other, White will traditionally close his eyes, put his fingers in his ears and yell "next big thing" regardless of how many obvious technical flaws that fighter may have.

    When Tyron Woodley destroyed Jay Hieron, White was head over heels. Surely, a guy who can punch that hard must be a future champion! Then, of course, when their relationship hit the skids, the excuses came.

    Woodley vs. Marquardt? That was just inexperience.

    Woodley vs. Shields? Controversial!

    Woodley vs. MacDonald? Well, he must be a choker! It's not that he is actually just a Johny Hendricks Lite but with an even more limited striking arsenal and wrestling skills that have been steadily fading since he fought Paul Daley in 2011!

    Granted, a fighter with above-average wrestling and one-punch knockout power is more than capable of staying in the UFC for a lifetime. Nevertheless, it's hard to peg whether Woodley is a modern Paulo Thiago or an actual top-10 talent.

Is Dong-Hyun Kim a Top-Tier Welterweight?

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    Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Tyron Woodley
    The Real Fight: Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Possibly His Toughest Opponent to Date

    The Stakes

    Dong-Hyun Kim has been utterly dominant since his 2011 loss to Carlos Condit. With the sole exception of a freak injury suffered against Demian Maia, he has beaten all comers and beaten them in lopsided fashion. Alas, the UFC has mishandled a fighter who, on paper, ranks among the top contenders in the welterweight division, relegating him to fighting in small shows against anonymous, lifetime midcard opponents.

    No more, it seems! Kim is now set to face Tyron Woodley in what could be his coming-out party. A win could secure his place among the welterweight elite, while a loss would likely set his career ceiling at co-main events of Asian cards.

    The Question

    Is Dong-Hyun Kim a top-tier welterweight?

    Analysis

    Kim has long been underrated, underappreciated and undermatched. While Stun Gun first rose to prominence when 170 was relatively shallow, he has maintained a spot near the top of the division for the past five years. 

    Unfortunately, Kim is something of an Asian Ben Askren. On the mat, he dominates more popular fighters. Off the mat, he is outspoken about no-no topics like PEDs, sponsorships and fighter pay. The UFC, accordingly, has kept him out of the limelight and as far away from title-relevant fights as possible.

    The results have been embarrassing Siyar Bahadurzada on the mat and swagger-jacking Jon Jones against John Hathaway. While that's all well and good, and while he has undeniably proved to be a very good fighter, it's unclear if he is capable of beating top-10 competition.

    Well, this is his chance. If he can beat Tyron Woodley, he would force the UFC to let him make a run toward the title. If he can't, he likely won't get another shot at the big time.

Could We Be Seeing the Last of Michael Bisping?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Cung Le vs. Michael Bisping
    The Real Fight: Michael Bisping vs. Father Time

    The Stakes

    Michael Bisping finds himself in an all-too-familiar position: coming off a loss. It has been a surprisingly common occurrence for the longtime top-10 middleweight, and it's one that almost certainly doesn't sit well with him. Between the surgeries to repair his detached retina that have left him cockeyed, his growing family, his steady work at the Fox Sports commentary desk and the stacked status of the middleweight division, it's hard to imagine him sticking around much longer, even with a win.

    The Question

    Could we be seeing the last of Michael Bisping?

    Analysis

    Michael Bisping has been around for a long time. Frankly, it's hard to imagine the UFC's middleweight division without him. Between the drama and the uber-gatekeeper status, his fights have been must-watch for a while now. Alas, time rarely works to a man's advantage, and Bisping's career has been sputtering since his loss to Chael Sonnen.

    Between his health and how top-heavy the middleweight division is right now, another title run is almost certainly out of reach at this point. Even if he strung together wins, it's a real possibility he could have badly damaged vision or blindness in one eye, which is an ugly thought for somebody with two young children. And once again, he can make money outside of the cage with his commentary work.

    All that is to say there is no reason for him to keep fighting. The end of his storied career is right around the corner already, and a loss would almost certainly make it come sooner.

What Does Cung Le Have Left in Him?

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    Jayne Russell/Getty Images

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Cung Le vs. Michael Bisping
    The Real Fight: Cung Le vs. Father Time

    The Stakes

    Cung Le returns to the Octagon, nearly two years removed from his jaw-dropping knockout of Rich Franklin at UFC: Macau 1. While he has kept himself busy outside the cage, starring in movies and tackling a leading role on The Ultimate Fighter: China, it's tough to peg what, if anything, can come of a return to the cage. 

    The Question

    What does Cung Le have left in him?

    Analysis

    Let's be brief here...

    Cung Le is 42 years old. He has never been fully committed to an MMA career, splitting his time between Hollywood and the cage since 2008. Not only that, but he hasn't fought in almost two years.

    Age, motivation and ring rust are all major questions for Le. We could see him go full-blown "take the money and run" and just coast to a casual loss because, well, why not? Or we could see him fight his heart out for the storybook ending to his career that a win in Macau would give him. Or maybe, just maybe, he holds out for that big fight with Anderson Silva in 2015.

What Happens If Rafael Dos Anjos Wins?

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Event: Fight Night 49
    The Fight: Ben Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos
    The Real Fight: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Gatekeeper Status

    The Stakes

    After coming ever so close to contender status, Rafael dos Anjos was absolutely mauled by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now, however, he finds himself with a unique opportunity. A win over former lightweight champ Ben Henderson, coupled with his 2013 win over Donald Cerrone, would give him a strong claim to a lightweight title shot. 

    The Question

    What happens if Rafael dos Anjos wins?

    Analysis

    Rafael dos Anjos has long been a formidable lightweight, but he has become a potential top-10 mainstay since joining Evolve MMA. While his loss to Nurmagomedov is troublesome, a win over Ben Henderson would carry a special weight.

    Alas, the lightweight division is nothing if not a hot mess. Anthony Pettis is constantly injured. When he comes back, he will face Gilbert Melendez, who earned his shot by beating freakin' Diego Sanchez. Nurmagomedov is injured. Eddie Alvarez may or may not be bound for the UFC. 

    If Dos Anjos wins, it's hard to peg what's next for him, but the outlook is much brighter with a win over Henderson.

Will the UFC Gets Its Wish with Ben Henderson?

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Event: Fight Night 48
    The Fight: Ben Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos
    The Real Fight: Ben Henderson vs. The UFC

    The Stakes

    Ben Henderson once again steps into the cage and finds himself in an awkward position. While excellence in the cage is standard fare for Smooth, he remains a fighter that few fans are particularly interested in, and he remains locked in the UFC doghouse for having the audacity to beat Frankie Edgar twice. Now, despite an electrifying win over Rustam Khabilov, he once again finds himself in a fight that does little for him, even with a win.

    The Question

    Will the UFC gets its wish with Ben Henderson?

    Analysis

    It has been said before, but the UFC really wants Ben Henderson to just go away. While he has been part of not one, not two, but three of the all-time greatest fights in Zuffa history, fans have rejected him at the box office and at the cable box. That on its own is enough to frustrate the company, never even mind his habit for edging out their favorite fighters in razor-thin decisions again and again and again.

    Unfortunately for the UFC brass, he its just too good to fade away, plodding forward and inching ever closer to a title shot they don't want to give him. They most certainly have their fingers crossed that Dos Anjos will beat Henderson here—solely to remove him from immediate contention and open things up for preferred contenders whom Henderson has previously beaten such as Gilbert Melendez, Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz.

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