The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC Fight Night 57 Fallout

frankie-edgar11Jay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight Night 57 in Austin, Texas. #5 Yves Time No More – Texas native Yves Edwards has been a long time main stay in the UFC having first debuted in the organization at UFC 33 in 2001. The muay thai striker is most well-known for his flying head kick knockout of former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson as well as being the happiest fighter at every weigh in. Edwards has amassed a 10-11 record in the octagon with one of those losses overturned due to an opponent testing positive to a drug test. Over the past couple years; the exciting striker has begun to slow down as age has begun to set in for the 38 year old. In Saturday’s bout with Akbarh Arreola, Edwards was out struck from the beginning of the fight eventually succumbing to an armbar submission defeat in the first round. With the defeat, Edwards has now been finished in his last 3 matches and is winless since December 2012. It’s difficult for a fighter to hang up his gloves, but Edwards had a chance to fight in front of his hometown fans on Saturday. There’s nothing left for him to accomplish in this sport and it’s the right time for him to walk away. #4 Big Russia On the Rise – In recent years, the amount of capable heavyweight fighters seems to have decreased significantly. Whether it’s the lack of American talent in the division or athletes of that size choosing other sports, it certainly seems like the depth in the division has decreased. At Fight Night 57, we saw four heavyweights compete; all of which were coming off a win. In those matchups, we saw Americans taking on Russians. In the top fight of the preliminary card, Ruslan Magomedov put on a clinic against newcomer Josh Copeland. The American had all sorts of issues dealing with the kicks of Magomedov. The Russian put in an excellent performance which has garnered the attention of UFC matchmakers. On the main card, Russian submission specialist Oleksiy Oliynyk faced three time All American wrestler Jared Rosholt. Oliynyk, not known for his punching prowess, got into a dogfight with Rosholt eventually clipping the American heavyweight and knocking him out cold. Oliynyk is already 37 years old, but has reeled off a number of impressive finishes the last couple years. This appears to be a trend as most of the fighters with any level of success in this weightclass are from Eastern Europe. The number of talented North & South American heavyweights has been steadily decreasing in recent years, while the Eastern European number is increasing. We are seeing this in boxing as well. In January, Russian Konstantin Erokhin is the next talented Russian heavyweight to take the UFC stage. In the coming years, expect Russians to hold multiple places in the top of the UFC heavyweight rankings. #3 Noteworthy Debuts – The first two preliminary bouts on the night were on Fight Pass. Each of the matchups included exciting prospects that did not disappoint. In the first fight of the night, South Korean Doo Ho Choi made his UFC debut. The exciting striker did not disappoint with one of the fastest debut knockouts in UFC history. All it took was 18 seconds to put away Juan Manuel Puig. Choi is known for his fluid striking and flashy knockouts. Choi is the newest fighter to emerge in a loaded featherweight division with many exciting young strikers like Max Holloway and Conor McGregor. In the next fight on the card, Kailin Curran took on Paige Vanzant in a women’s strawweight bout with both fighters making their debuts. In a matchup featuring two young fighters, Vanzant put on an incredible pace landing a whopping 167 strikes in route to the first ever stoppage victory in a UFC sanctioned strawweight match. The former Team Alpha Male trained fighter is only 20 years of age. Being a former model, Vanzant has gotten a lot of media exposure due to her appearance, but now she will garner press coverage because of her relentless fighting style. In a division looking for a breakout star, Vanzant may just have the all-around package to be a media darling. #2 Couldn’t Brush Him Off – Bobby Green has been a polarizing fighter since he entered the UFC after Zuffa’s acquisition of Strikeforce. The California born and raised lightweight is known for doing a lot of talking in the octagon. He likes to talk to his opponents to get in their head and that he’s able to brush their strikes off. He’s beaten a respectable list of lightweights including Pat Healy, James Krause, and most notably Josh Thomson to land inside the top 10 in the division. Green has been able to use his speed to outbox his opponents and earn victories. He was able to do that until Saturday night when he faced Edson Barboza. The Brazilian is an aggressive muay thai striker with some of the most brutal leg kicks in MMA. Green seems perplexed with Barboza’s striking and never was able to get into a rhythm in this bout. For the first time in his UFC career, Green didn’t have the answer against his opponent.  Instead the Brazilian got the biggest win of his career and has catapulted up to #6 in the latest UFC Lightweight Rankings. Green made comments prior to the fight that he was considering retirement. At only 28 years of age and very little wear and tear, that would seem far-fetched. However, for a fighter who prided himself on being able to outsmart his opponents, the Barboza loss could mess with his confidence. #1 Jersey’s Finest – Saturday’s marquee main event saw former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar take on Cub Swanson in a pivotal featherweight matchup at the top of the rankings. There have been some critics in the media that have written off the popular New Jersey based as he’s grown in age and taken a lot of damage over the years. Despite all of the wars that Edgar has been in, the only losses he has experienced this decade are to fighters that are some of the best their divisions have ever seen in Jose Aldo and Ben Henderson. On Saturday, many thought Edgar would take a step back and for Swanson to rise to the top of the division. Instead, the Toms River produce put in perhaps the best performance of his career. After a closely contested first round, the former champion used his wrestling to take the fight to the ground where he was able to dominate the Jackson’s MMA trained fighter. Edgar landed a remarkable 259 total strikes in the fight battering Swanson in top position. In the 5th round, Edgar pushed hard for a finish securing a submission with less than 10 seconds to go in the fight making it the latest stoppage win in UFC history. Edgar’s collection of wins now includes Gray Maynard, BJ Penn, and the aforementioned Swanson. Even at 33, Edgar’s conditioning and volume are at an elite level which allows him to be competitive with the best in the sport. With a title fight with Aldo unlikely in early 2015, expect to Edgar to face either Ricardo Lamas or Chad Mendes in another five round main event.

Written by Jay Primetown

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