After the debacle that was UFC 112, the UFC itself was in need of a great event. Sure, Aldo vs. Faber helped to get the bitter taste out of fans' mouths, but the UFC needed something to distance itself from the terrible showing.
UFC 113 did that and more. Top to bottom the card was solid with plenty of excitement and action to keep the fans entertained. Aside from Paul Daley’s post-fight sucker punch it was exactly what the UFC needed.
Now that UFC 113 is in the books and the dust has settled it’s time once again for my counterpart, Sterling Spiars , and I to look ahead and speculate about what the future holds for the main card combatants.
Belcher was simply impressive en route to his second round submission win over Patrick Cote. Belcher controlled the action and never allowed Cote to settle in and get comfortable.
While I’m sure that Cote’s 18-month layoff played a role in how the fight went down, I’m not going to take anything away from Belcher’s performance.
During his post-fight interview, Belcher called out current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but I think that is a bit premature. Instead I say we throw Belcher in there with another Brazilian wrecking machine, Vitor Belfort.
Belfort was set to face Silva for the title at UFC 112 but had to pull out of the fight due to a shoulder injury. If Belcher can handle the fast hands and powerful striking of Belfort, I say he deserves a crack at “The Spider.”
Mitrione is raw…very raw. But, there is obviously talent there. It wasn’t the most impressive performance of the night but Mitrione went in that cage and got it done against fellow TUF cast member and Internet sensation Kimbo Slice.
It’s hard to really gauge where Mitrione is in his development as a fighter because his only two opponents aren’t exactly what I would call high level mixed martial artists. It looks like Mitrione’s next opponent is going to be Joey Beltran.
Beltran is a hungry young fighter who is looking for a breakthrough performance. Getting a win over a former TUF contestant would be tremendous for his career moving forward but can he handle Mitrione’s power and vastly improved game?
In a Fight of the Night performance, Jeremy Stephens squeaked a split decision victory over Canadian kickboxer Sam Stout. The battle was hard fought but it was obvious that Stephens’ powerful shots were the deciding factor when the scorecards were read.
At only 23, Stephens already has a wealth of experience inside the Octagon but he has yet to come into his own and establish himself as a force in the division.
Matching Stephens up with TUF winner Nate Diaz would not only give Stephens an opportunity to take that next step towards getting into the title mix, but it’s a matchup that has Fight of the Night potential for the fans.
With Diaz looking to get back into the lightweight mix after his one fight foray into the welterweight division, it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense for both guys.
I’m still not sure how I feel about how the whole Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley situation went down. I do know that what Daley did was inexcusable and petty, and while it may have been excessive—getting immediately cut by the UFC—Daley got what he deserved.
Where I am having trouble is Koscheck’s first round antics following a phantom knee. The replay showed that the blow was glancing yet, Koscheck was on the ground as if someone hit him in the face with a baseball bat.
Some type of punishment has to be placed on Koscheck for his act, but I’m not sure what can be done because those are very murky waters that I’m sure the UFC does not want to venture into.
My rant aside, we now know that Koscheck will coach opposite Georges St. Pierre on the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter which will culminate in the two battle for GSP’s welterweight title at the end of the season.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Wow, that’s pretty much all I can say about Shogun’s victory over the previously undefeated, Lyoto Machida. Not only did Rua avenge his previous loss and capture the UFC light-heavyweight title in impressive fashion, but he also sealed my fate as the loser of The Machida Challenge .
I think we can now officially say that the Shogun of old has returned and he is scarier than ever. As the new light-heavyweight champ it looks like Shogun’s first test will be decided at UFC 114 when Rashad Evans finally squares off against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
I would be excited about either matchup but as a fan I’m hoping to see Rampage and Shogun mix it up in a rematch of their memorable battle at Pride Total Elimination 2005.
For a look at What’s Next for the UFC 113 losers , check out the latest by Sterling Spiars.