Posted 07/06/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA
 
 

UFC 175: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida Review

UFC 175 may go down as one of the strangest events in the promotion’s history. The main event matchup came about due to the original challenger dropping out when the Nevada commission outlawed testosterone replacement therapy. The new matchup moved to this event after an injury to the champion. A The Ultimate Fighter coaches fight moved to this event as a big supporting fight thanks to an injury to one of the coaches brawling on the show. The UFC pulled one of the coaches after he ran away from the drug test and inserted the original challenger to the champion. Then the other coach tested positive for four different substances (and admitted to a fifth), which scrapped the bout completely. Then on the card itself, a fight is cancelled after a fighter with a heart condition blacks out, another fighter’s toe breaks and sticks up toward the rafters, and a title fight ends within the time of the NBA shot clock. Oh, and that’s all capped off with one of the greatest UFC title fights of all time.

ALL AMERICAN DRAGON

I thought Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida would prove interesting because of the style clash in all three phases of the fight. That was the case. Weidman’s pressure boxing meshed well with Machida’s distance karate striking. Weidman’s wrestling was a back-and-forth with Machida’s footwork and takedown defense. And their active, high-level jiu-jitsu prevented a boring stalemate on the mat.

But they both added some flair. When Machida took over in the fourth, he added some flashy footwork. When Machida opened up with a flurry late in round five, Weidman weathered the storm and came out beckoning for more in true badass fashion. And they both proved tough as your grandpa’s hammer, with each of their faces betraying the five-round fight they just participated in.

The loss is disappointing for Machida, but he proved himself to be the number two (or three, depending on how you view Anderson Silva at this point) middleweight in the world. That was likely Machida’s last chance at UFC gold, though.

For Weidman, though, it cements his status as the guy at 185 pounds and goes a long way to making the case that he’ll remain the champ for a long while. At 30, he’s already hit his physical peak, but he’s young in fight years (12-0 in his career, with only a handful of fights going past the second round), so we shouldn’t expect any steep declines in the next few years. Vitor Belfort may be next in line, but should he prove unable to get by the Nevada commission, expect either Luke Rockhold or Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza instead.

ROUSEY LEGACY

Ronda Rousey kneed Alexis Davis, threw her on her back, and then pounded her ten times WWE-style until Davis lost consciousness. Everyone collectively climaxed. I shrugged my shoulders.

Let’s get some things out of the way first: Ronda Rousey is talented! She is exciting! It’s fun to watch her smash other women!

She’s too good for her own good, though. Rousey is running through the women’s bantamweight division like the Dream Team ran through the field at the ’92 Summer Olympics. Was it fun watching Jordan and co. turn an international competition into a glorified Harlem Globetrotters routine? Sure it was. Was it impressive, considering the massive talent and athletic gap? Not really.

It’s unlikely someone pops up with the technical ability and athleticism at 135 pounds to push Rousey into a competitive fight within the next few years. In that case, Rousey can continue to smash the current crop of fighters and then retire to go do movies or pro wrestling or hang out with Layzie the Savage all day. She’ll earn the same legacy as Royce Gracie, which isn’t a bad legacy to have, but we don’t talk about Royce Gracie in the same breath as Emelianenko and Silva and St-Pierre. Gracie was a guy five years ahead of a budding sport; Rousey’s five years ahead of a budding division.

Rousey could take steps to elevate her legacy by taking a fight with Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Justino fights at 145 pounds. The weight shouldn’t be an issue, though; Rousey began her MMA career above 135 pounds (including a 150-pound catchweight fight), and she competed in judo at 70 kg (~154 pounds). Yet, it’s been a sticking point throughout the public back-and-forth between the two fighters, though a catchweight seems like a perfectly reasonable compromise.

Of course, I’d be remiss to ignore the positive drug test on Justino’s record. Rousey hasn’t ignored it, going as far as saying Justino is “not even a woman anymore.” This came directly after she said, “I don’t care if she’s injecting horse semen into her eyeballs, I’ll fight her, but that’s just my personal decision,” so this doesn’t seem like it should be an issue, either.

The biggest thing standing in the way is the UFC, which doesn’t want to risk a Rousey loss in the same way they didn’t want to risk a St-Pierre loss when Anderson Silva superfight hung overhead from 2009-2013 (RIP). It’s a risk, sure. While Rousey would likely enter as the betting favorite, she wouldn’t be the monster chalk she’s been through her UFC run. But this all assumes that a loss to Cyborg would kill her marketable and that a rematch wouldn’t do well either (neither of which is true unless Cyborg does serious harm to her, which I believe unlikely).

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan