The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC Fight Night 58 Fallout

Rampage JacksonJay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight Night 58 in Barueri, Brazil. #5 Another Great Debut –It seems over the last couple months, every UFC card has featured a debutant who showed real promise over a veteran fighter. At Fight Night 58, Brasilia’s Renato Carneiro proved he belongs in the Octagon. The lengthy featherweight took on veteran Tom Niinimaki. From the onset, the undefeated Brazilian showed enhancements in his striking from what was seen in his days in Jungle Fights. He used his reach well and Niinimaki had little idea how to deal with the excellent leg kicks from Carneiro. The Brazilian continued the onslaught in the second round eventually taking the back of Niinimaki and easily submitting him for the victory. His skill on the ground is advanced for his age and combined with his size/improved striking he is a really interesting prospect in the division. Many fighters have impressed in their debuts before, but Carneiro really seems like a fighter with promise. #4 Rampage is Back – Perhaps the UFC’s newest strategy is to tease a “major announcement” during every fight card to get additional viewers to tune in. Just a couple weeks after the UFC announced the signing of former WWE Champion CM Punk on PPV. On Saturday, the UFC used the same tactic announcing that Rampage Jackson would be returning to the UFC. In a time where it’s been a struggle to produce stars, “Rampage” is still easily one of the most recognizable faces in the sport. Furthermore, there is a divide in the light heavyweight division with a half dozen fighters at an elite level and everybody else. Rampage provides the perfect gatekeeper in the UFC to challenge the likes of Patrick Cummins, Ovince St. Preux, and other up and comers. It’s a win for all parties involved. #3 Making Statements – Two fighters from Fight Night 58 really raised their stock with victories. Russian lightweight Rashid Magomedov earned his third win of 2014 with a victory over undefeated Brazilian Elias Silverio. The Russian has shown excellent technical ability in his striking mixing kicks along with his boxing. At 30 years old, he’s in the prime of his career and really seems poised to compete in the UFC’s deepest division. The next step for him would be to face a name opponent in his next fight. Also in Barueri, American light heavyweight Patrick Cummins also earned his third straight win in the UFC. The 34-year old two-time All-American wrestler out of Penn State has been dominant in his wins. His wrestling has suffocated his opponents making it difficult for them to produce even a semblance of offense. While he did lose to Daniel Cormier in his UFC debut, it’s certainly clear that Cummins’ wrestling accolades were no joke. He’s quickly showed that he’s ready for a top 15 fighter in division. At his age, he doesn’t have a lot of time to make an impact, so 2015 should be a big year for Cummins as he’ll have multiple big fights. #2 Don’t Forget about the Dragon – After Lyoto Machida lost a decision to Chris Weidman in July, many had written him out of the title picture. The former light heavyweight champion had given Weidman the toughest test of his career, but given his age and the caliber of the other contenders in the division, it was certainly a question mark whether he would ever get another chance at UFC gold. On Saturday, Machida appeared in a main event for his fourth straight fight. He once again was pitted against an American with an excellent collegiate wrestling pedigree. Other than Weidman, Machida has been kryptonite for American wrestlers. He once again showed that against CB Dollaway. It took Machida only a minute to land a body kick that caused “The Doberman” to turtle up and force the referee to stop the bout. Machida once again showed that he’s an elite fighter capable of stopping the top ten in the division on any given night. With a likely matchup against Luke Rockhold on the horizon, a win could already put the 35-year old middleweight back in a title fight. Given Machida’s ability to avoid damage, he could very well remain in the title picture for the next five years. #1 Path is Clearing for Barao – No fighter had more to gain or lose at Fight Night 58 than bantamweight Renan Barao. After losing his UFC title to TJ Dillashaw earlier in the year, the pressure was piled on the Nova Uniao fighter. A victory for Barao against Canadian Mitch Gagnon would put him right back into title contention. However, a loss would significantly drop Barao’s stock making it a couple years before he’d see another chance at the belt he covets so much. As the fight began, it was apparent that Barao felt the pressure on his shoulders. He fought more tentative at the start than he has in previous fights. Perhaps it was the effect of another big weight cut, but the fight was fairly competitive heading into the third round. In the final round, Barao turned up the aggression inflicting damage on the feet before taking Gagnon to the ground and submitting him with one minute left. The relief on his face when he got his hand raised was evident as he put himself back in the title picture. Less than 48 hours later, his competition to get a title opportunity took a significant hit when it was announced that Dominick Cruz had once against tore his ACL and fellow Brazilian contender Raphael Assuncao had broken an ankle. Both fighters are forced into an extended absence from the Octagon. With those two fighters out, Barao and Urijah Faber are the only two fighters in the conversation as to be the next to face champion TJ Dillashaw. Faber, along with Dillashaw, are teammates at Team Alpha so it is very much a question mark if they would agree to face other. That leaves Renan Barao as the last man standing and to get a chance to reclaim the prize as the top fighter at 135 pounds in the sport. Will Barao show that his loss earlier in 2014 was a fluke or will Dillashaw prove that he has the Brazilian’s number? In 2015, we should find out.

Written by Jay Primetown

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