The Three Count – Top Storylines from UFC 198 Fallout

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Werdum vs MiocicJay Primetown takes a look at the three biggest storylines to develop from UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil. #1 Ending the Cleveland Curse – All it took was a counter right off the back foot and the heavyweight division was turned upside down. In Saturday’s main event, Stipe Miocic was asked to do the tallest of orders. Miocic flew down to Brazil to face the heavyweight champion in front of a hostile crowd of 45,000 Brazilians. Not only that, but Miocic hails from Cleveland, Ohio. The lake front city hasn’t had a world champion in any major sport since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964. With a win, Miocic would become the first Cleveland professional sports champion in 52 years. The early moments of the bout saw a feeling out process as each fighter tested each other’s speed and ability. The key moment was a stunning lack of defense from the champion as he chased the challenger with his hands down. What followed was the counter right which will be remembered for a very long time throughout Cleveland. Miocic’s right hand landed flush on Werdum’s chin and saw the champion fall face to the ground. It was a one punch knockout that gave Cleveland a world champion. The 33 year old firefighter has shown he can compete with the legends of the division. Now, it’s time for him to build his own legacy. #2 Dominant Debut– In perhaps the most anticipated UFC debut since Brock Lesnar, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino took the Octagon in a catchweight bout against Leslie Smith. With a 15-1 record and 13 knockouts, Cyborg has been the most feared fighter in WMMA for a long time. On Saturday night, she showed again that she’s a truly elite fighter by finishing Leslie Smith inside of two minutes. What sets Cyborg apart from others in WMMA is her ability to finish and to do so quickly. Her technique on the feet has opponents on the back foot with nothing to offer. Her hands are devastating. There’s no question at this point that she is the most powerful striker in WMMA. The real question now is she the best female fighter in the world? Now that she’s in the UFC, perhaps there is a chance to prove it. With potential matchups against Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey, and bantamweight champion Miesha Tate now a possibility, Cyborg may have the chance to prove herself against the best. The weight cut is still an issue. Cyborg has yet to make 135 pounds, but she did weigh in at 139 pounds for Saturday’s catchweight bout. If she’s able to cut four more pounds, it opens so many big money fights and marketing opportunities. The reality is that for WMMA to grow it needs Cyborg to face the best of what the UFC has to offer. In order for that happen, Cyborg needs to be able to make the 135 pound limit at bantamweight. That should be her top priority moving forward. #3 Better than Advertised – UFC 198 was built to be the biggest UFC event ever in Brazil. It was the first stadium show the promotion ever put on in the country. There were questions how well the UFC would do when putting an event outside of Rio de Janeiro. Those questions were quickly answered when over 30,000 tickets were sold within the first couple hours of going on sale and furthermore when the event sold out of the nearly 45,000 available tickets. It’s no secret that the UFC stacked the show with most of the most prominent Brazilian fighters in MMA; Vitor Belfort, Shogun, Fabricio Werdum. What many thought was the true carrot was Anderson Silva on the card. Perhaps the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Silva fighting in his hometown was to make the event a spectacle. Just days before the fight, Silva had to have emergency gall bladder surgery, removing him from the card. It was expected to be a huge hit to the event. However, that was not to be. The weigh ins for UFC 198 were the largest attended weigh-ins in history with over 20,000 people inside at Arena da Baixada. The crowd was boisterous behind the Brazilians at the weigh ins and that followed to the PPV the next night. The seats in the stadium were filled early and the crowd was into the event from start to finish. It really enhanced the viewing experience as the event was filled with great fights and at no point did there feel there was a lull in the action. Expect Curitiba to become a yearly stop on the UFC calendar. It deserves it.

Written by Jay Primetown

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