The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC 187 Fallout

Chris WeidmanJay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC 187 in Las Vegas, Nevada. #1 The Brazilian Assassin – After Saturday night’s first round victory over Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman should have his nicknamed changed to “The Brazilian Assassin.” The New York native has now successfully defended his middleweight championship against arguably the three best middleweights in the history of MMA. Wins over Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, and the aforementioned Belfort have transformed Weidman into the guy to end the Brazilian dominance of the weight class. Weidman’s combination athleticism, smart strategy, and ferocious grappling have made him a nightmare for the Brazilians who have had no answer for Weidman’s wrestling credentials. There’s only one Brazilian left (Jacare) for Weidman to beat and he’ll have cleared them out of the division. Jacare has the best grappling ability of the group, so look for Weidman to use his speed and movement on the feet to get the best of Jacare. Ultimately, Weidman’s biggest challenge will come from the United States. Luke Rockhold has size, skill, and a submission game that matches up better than all of the other challengers. If there’s somebody who’s going to beat Weidman in the next few years, it’s going to be Luke Rockhold. #2 The Last Prize is His Greatest Prize – In the UFC 187 post fight press conference, Daniel Cormier said that winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship would be his last great accomplishment in professional sports. The long time wrestler turned to MMA in his thirties. In addition to winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight title earlier in the decade, Cormier added the UFC’s light heavyweight crown to become the rare two division major MMA promotion champion. With Jon Jones currently not in the picture due to his outside of the cage problems, Cormier stepped in and made the most of his opportunity. He did what he needed to do; take Anthony Johnson into deep waters and out work him. Cormier did exactly that realizing his potential as a MMA fighter winning a championship in the sport’s biggest promotion. The 36 year old is nearing the end of his career, but one thing’s clear: he won’t be satisfied until Jon Jones returns and has a chance to erase the lone loss on his record. #3 Fight for the Ages – Of all the great fights scheduled for UFC 187, few thought that the fight that would steal the show would be Andrei Arlovski against Travis Browne. It was expected that Browne would run over the older Arlovski, but it was the Belarussian who took it to Hawaiian from the opening bell. Arlovski showed much better technique landing with solid accuracy. In what became one of the greatest first rounds in the history of the sport, these put on a slug fest. It was amazing that Browne continued to stand as Arlovski landed big shot after big shot. At one point, Browne could barely stand and still was able to drop Arlovski with a counter strike. As the crowd roared, Arlovski recovered well eventually causing the referee to step as he continued to badly stun Browne. The win was the biggest Arlovski had seen in nearly a decade. It was a major win for his career that raises his stock significantly in the division. At this point, one can argue he’s jumped into the top 5 in the division. Arlovski is in the twilight of his career, but galvanized by his win over Browne, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if he gets one last shot at UFC gold. #4 The Man Who Just Keeps on Winning – As the rest of the division remains idle, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is as active as ever. The Jackson’s MMA trained fighter won his third fight in 2015 with a second stoppage win over John Makdessi. Cerrone now has an eight fight winning streak in the UFC; only Jon Jones and Chris Weidman have longer streaks of active fighters. Cerrone holds wins over the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, and Ben Henderson during this win streak. As other contenders like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Anthony Pettis have struggled with staying healthy, Cerrone continues to add quality wins to his resume. At this point, Cerrone has fought his way into a title opportunity. His variety of striking combined with his slick submission grappling makes him a game opponent against anyone in the division. While Cerrone says he’s the top contender by default, in reality he’s the top contender by results. #5  Pipeline of Success  – On Saturday night, Islam Makhachev became the latest in a line of fighters from Dagestan to make his UFC debut. Over the last few years, Dagestan has become a hotbed of talent in MMA. A region which has put a heavy emphasis on combat sambo, these fighters have come to show just how dominant the discipline can be in MMA. Led by lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, the suffocating grappling style of fighters from the region has been a nightmare for opponents to handle. Trained by Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Makhachev showed that same tenacity in the octagon that previous Dagestani had showed. His opponent, Leo Kuntz, had no answer for Makhachev’s fighting style. Kuntz was out struck on the feet and had absolutely no answer for the grappling. A dominant performance from start to finish, Makhachev got his hand raised and is on his way to having a great career in the world’s top MMA promotion.

Written by Jay Primetown

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