Surprises And Disappointments From UFC 168 Dec 29, 2013
UFC 168 can be summed up in one word: unthinkable.
So much crazy stuff happened last night that I am still trying to wrap my head around all of it. I mean, who expected the main event to end like that? Sure, many — including myself — were picking Chris Weidman to once against defeat Anderson Silva, but I don’t think anyone expected him to win via TKO (leg injury). And while everyone and their mothers were picking Ronda Rousey to snap Miesha Tate’s arm off yet again, I don’t think most thought the fight would make it all the way to round three.
Those were just some of the surprises and disappointments from UFC 168. Here are some others.
Travis Browne — I knew Travis Browne was good, but man oh man, I did not expect him to do what he did last night to Josh Barnett. I was very high on Barnett going into this fight and believed he would be able to wall-and-stall his way to a boring win. But boy, I was wrong, because Browne wasn’t having any of it, and when Barnett dropped down for a double-leg takedown, “Hapa” unloaded a vicious series of violent elbows to the ear of Barnett that knocked him out cold for only the second time in his almost 20-year career. It was a massive win for Browne and it puts him high up in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. He’ll now take on Fabricio Werdum for a title shot in 2014, and it’s a fight I am thinking he wins.
Dustin Poirier — Dustin Poirier is a stud, plain and simple. Despite his opponent Diego Brandao weighing in at 153 pounds for a 145-pound fight, Poirier absolutely took it to him and put on one of the most satisfying beatings of the year, earning the stoppage with a first-round KO from hammerfists. This was a breakthrough performance by Poirier on the biggest stage of the year, and he’s closing in on a title shot now.
William Macario — William Macario was the underdog against Bobby Voelker but he sure didn’t look like one as he put on one of the most vicious three-round beatings of the year. The fight reminded me a lot of Jessica Andrade vs. Rosi Sexton from England in October, in that it was just a one-sided beating. A big win for Macario, and Voelker’s toughness in the matchup earned him one more try in the Octagon.
Josh Barnett — Although Travis Browne shined in his win, I’m still very disappointed in Josh Barnett. Instead of going for body-lock takedowns where his head wouldn’t be at risk, he instead went for a double-leg takedown. I guess Barnett didn’t watch Browne’s fight with Gabriel Gonzaga, where he showed just how dangerous he is with elbows from that position. This is a bad win for Barnett who, at 36 years of age, likely won’t be making a run for the UFC heavyweight title anytime soon.
Chris Leben — Although I feel like Chris Leben was being fed to the wolves against Uriah Hall, it doesn’t change the fact he disappointed badly. For the second time in his last four bouts, Leben quit in between rounds. I’m ashamed of the UFC that they kept him on the roster for so long, and I’m sad that Leben stayed around despite obviously being a shot fighter. I have a lot of respect for Leben, but this is end of the line for him, and for his own good.
Siyar Bahadurzada — If Siyar Bahadurzada doesn’t want to be viewed as a one-trick pony, then he has to learn some wrestling. Despite knowing that Howard’s gameplan was likely going to be to wrestle his way to a win, it didn’t look like Bahadurzada was prepared, and it cost him because he lost every round on the scorecards. Bahadurzada is an excellent striker but this is MMA, and to me he has a lot of work to do before he becomes a complete mixed martial artist.