Mixed Martial Arts has been on a steep, but steady rise in the world of sports. For the most part, MMA has been able to clear the hurdle of the misinformed label of human cockfighting with state regulations and proper medical care. Since banning certain dangerous strikes, MMA has evolved into a true sport.
Going from nearly empty venues with failed video game sponsors to sold out arenas with Harley Davidson logos in just over a decade, shows that MMA's infestation in pop culture has only just begun.
UFC 110 encompassed many reasons on why MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world today. The biggest draw of UFC 110 had to be the uncertainty that lingered in the air in the months before.
Passing The Torch
Case in point was the night's main event between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cain Velasquez. The uncertainty was overwhelming in this one, as the UFC pitted an aging superstar against their fastest rising prospect. These type of fights happen all the time in the sport and for the most part, people tend to take experience over youth.
Sometimes though, the youth has that murderous instinct to destroy the legend blocking his path to the top. Cain Velasquez did just that with a ferocious knockout over Nogueira, launching himself from untested prospect to serious contender.
Like so many times in the past, the torch has been passed. Fans should feel sorry for the next opponent standing before Velasquez. He has shown time and time again that he has the killer instinct to become an eventual champion.
Don't Call It a Comeback
The night's co-main event saw Wanderlei Silva step back into the winning circle with a unanimous decision over Michael Bisping. This fight had many reasons why this sport is so great, with the uncertainty being one of them.
Silva looked great and despite being on the losing end of some of MMA's nastiest knockouts, he showed that he should never be counted out with a close win over the Brit.
Who wants to see a fighter play it safe as the time dwindles away? Nobody does and that's why the crowd roared in pleasure, as Silva went for broke with his last minute flurries.
Yet another reason why this sport has risen so quick was the trash talk that this fight contributed. Although the talk helped hype this fight tremendously, it's not the actual talk that made it so great. It was the show of respect afterwards. So many times this has happened, as animosity towards one another turns into reverence after a battling it out.
UFC 110's third fight of the main card was perhaps the biggest upset in some time, as Australia's own, George Sotiropoulos dominated Joe Stevenson for a better part of three rounds.
In the weeks prior to the fight, Stevenson was heavily favored to silence the Aussie crowd. Sotiropoulos saw things going differently, though.
He tested Stevenson's new and improved striking, beating him to the punch on almost every occasion. So much so that Stevenson turned his focus into a ground attack.
This turned out to be a bad idea, as Sotiropoulos' jiu jitsu black belt was far superior compared to the former number one contender's. The Aussie effectively controlled just about every aspect on the ground and on the feet, shocking nearly everyone except for the true believers in his talents.
It just goes to show that people aren't the experts that they claim to be. So many predicted Stevenson to win and Sotiropoulos made them, myself included, look like fools. But in this sport you simply need to expect the unexpected, another reason why MMA is still on the rise.
George Sotiropoulos' performance livened up an already ecstatic crowd. Resonant chants throughout the fight animated the moods of all those watching. Every subtle shift in the grappling war was answered with cheers from the crowd.
Australia's first taste of a major MMA organization was repaid with an intense atmosphere of love and support, starting from the first preliminary fight to the main event. Every fighter was met with cheers, although some had to wait for the boo birds to quiet down.
The buzz that the Australian fans generated seemed to travel through the television set, pleasantly infecting UFC parties enough to try and match the excitement.
The atmosphere at live events is yet another reason why the sport is on it's continuing rise. Although more-frequented cities fail to match the vibe of new markets, the vibe is there nonetheless and will always make MMA an exciting sport.
UFC 110 may not of had a championship on the line, but it did have title implications and was a very exciting card that was well worth the money. Most of the fights were too close to call on paper, making it that much more pleasurable once the outcome had occurred.
From prospects stealing the thunder, to legends regaining their respect, fans got to see it all. The unforeseen upsets and the raucous atmosphere of a newly-tapped market among other things, proved once again that MMA is here to stay.