In today’s version of The Epilogue I take a look at the UFC on FOX 2 main card. UFC on FOX 2 took place live from the United Center in Chicago and was the first UFC Network event to showcase more than one fight. Eleven days before fight night, there was a dramatic shuffle in the card due to a training injury suffered by Mark Munoz. Thus, Michael “The Count” Bisping moved up to face Chael Sonnen in a number one’s contenders match while Chris Weidman stepped in on short notice to fight Damian Maia. The main event remained unchanged pitting light heavyweight number one contender “Sugar” Rashad Evans against the undefeated Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis. Let’s take a look at each of the evening’s main card fighters and what may lay ahead in their future.
When Rashad Evans signed on the dotted line for this fight he knew what the stakes were. Win and he receives his much anticipated title fight against arch rival Jonny “Bones” Jones. The fight may not have been the most compelling or awe inspiring fight of the night. However Rashad Evans did exactly what he said he was going to do and that is dominate Phil Davis. With judge’s scorecards of 50-45 it’s obvious Rashad Evans was simply on a different level than his opponent Saturday night. With that being said, Rashad didn’t show anything Saturday night that suggests he has a chance against the Champion. Rashad might be on a different level then Phil Davis, but “Bones” is on a different level then Rashad. Do you really think Jones would’ve gone 5 full rounds with Davis and administer little to no physical damage?
Prediction: Rashad gets his title shot in Atlanta at UFC 145 and then he joins the same club Shogun, Rampage and Machida are in. It’s hard to say that anybody really has a chance against Jones at 205 and based on Saturday night’s performance, I don’t think Rashad Evans is any different.
What can you really say about Phil Davis after Saturday night? This is a fighter who was 9-0 and thrown into a main event on network television against a guy with a heap more experience. At only 27 years old (yes he’s 27, even though the graphic on FOX suggested he is 31) Phil Davis still has room for improvement. “Mr Wondeful” has defeated the likes of Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson and Little Nog. The Phil Davis from Saturday night didn’t look like the Phil Davis in those fights. If Davis can take you down you are in a heap of trouble. However if you can keep the fight standing, Phil Davis is likely to be at a disadvantage.
Prediction: Phil Davis will go back to the drawing board and work on his striking. He’s a young gifted athlete so I definitely think he can improve his striking game, but it’s not there yet. Thankfully he has good submissions with his wrestling. Next up: Forrest Griffin
According to the record books Chael Sonnen beat Michael Bisping and thus has his rematch against Anderson Silva. In golf you can look at the scorecard and clearly determine who the better athlete is. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in MMA. In my mind, Michael Bisping won the first two rounds of the fight. Yes they were close, but not that close. Will Saturday night’s Chael Sonnen be able to defeat Silva? I’m not sure, but I’m damn sure he’ll hype this fight to be one of the most anticipated fights in UFC History (even if he does hate the word “hype”)
Prediction: If Anderson Silva comes in healthy (no rib injury) and motivated, it’s hard to see him losing to Chael in his home country. Chael needed to do to Michael Bisping what he did to Brian Stann in order to make this fight compelling. Unfortunately, Chael won a decision that arguably should’ve been a loss.
To say Michael Bisping is growing as a fighter is a complete understatement. Bipsing was the most improved fighter on the main card of the FOX broadcast…by far! Further to that, when the judges read the scores you could see the emotion run over Bisping’s face and then he quickly got himself together and congratulated Chael. He’s not only improving as a fighter but as a person as well. Michael Bisping still has an opportunity to fight for the title someday, especially considering how well he performed against Sonnen. He has been on both sides of the fence in relation to controversial decisions. So let’s hope Bisping learns from this so he can finish fights against the division’s truly elite.
Prediction: Bisping will get to test his takedown defense yet again. This time against fellow UFC on FOX fighter Chris Weidman.
There’s not much to say about Damain Maia, mainly because I’m still speechless. This is a fighter who came into the UFC as arguably the most feared submission specialist in the history of the sport. Finishing the first five fights of his UFC career by way of submission you can see why. Then he got knocked out in 21 seconds by Nate Marquardt and it all changed. Do you remember Maia’s last submission victory? Don’t feel bad if you don’t, his last submission win was February 2009…. almost 3 years ago.
Prediction: It’s time to bring out Maia’s famed jiu-jitsu game. Let’s see him take on leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares.
Ok so his fight against Maia wasn’t exactly the most technical or exciting fight on the card. And yes, perhaps in the 3rd round (as Joe Rogan put it) they did look like a couple of drunks at a bar fight. But Chris Weidman came into this fight on 11 days notice, had a very challenging weight cut and still beat a former title contender. That’s very impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him challenge for the title someday. With a wrestling base like Chris’s and a developing jiu-jitsu game working with Matt Serra, the sky is the limit for this prospect.
Prediction: Let’s give Weidman a chance to get in a full camp and face one of the top guys. As mentioned above, Bisping seems logical to me.
Wow is this kid ever impressive and looks to have found his home at 145. After a couple more opponents, he’d make for an exciting challenger at the top of the division.
Prediction: Nam Pham up next for Oliveira
Lavar Johson (who looks a little like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) showed powerful striking being the first person to ever knock out the extremely durable Joey Beltran. I’d like to see how he does against the division’s top ground fighters, but only in time. For now, let’s stick him up against another striker.
Prediction: Pat Barry would make for a very exciting fight.
Judge who scored the Sonnen vs. Bisping fight 30-27 for Sonnen. Seriously?
Prediction: Will probably be criticized and/or made fun of for life.