UFC News and Notes for October
By: Michael Gilley for MMANews.com
The Spider stands tall amongst the 185lb. Division
Anderson Silva put on a striking clinic in his rematch with Rich Franklin at UFC 77, finishing the former champion in the second round. Franklin put up a solid effort for much of the first round, defending the clinch and landing well until a late exchange near the fence in the final moments of the round saw Franklin dropped by a vicious right hand, only being saved by the bell. Silva would finish Franklin quickly with a barrage of kicks, punches, and knees that dropped Franklin for the final time, and again breaking the courageous former champions nose.
It must be noted, the respect these great fighters share, as the two embraced afterwards in a true moment of sportsmanship. Silva continues to be the best middleweight in the sport, and even more, a class act.
The question is, who’s next? Hopefully the brass at Zuffa find a way to make Hendo vs Silva happen! That in my opinion is the big fight at 185lbs.
UFC fails to sign Fedor, loses Couture in the process
The big shocker was the departure of Randy Couture from the UFC. Seemingly unbeatable since coming out of retirement, the Natural was riding a two fight win streak, first capturing the heavyweight title, then dominating Gabriel Gonzaga in three rounds to retain his belt, leading to much speculation of a super fight showdown with Fedor.
The UFC seemed primed to put on the biggest fight in the history of the sport, all they had to do was ink Fedor. Simple enough, or at least it seemed so. Negotiations were on again off again between the two sides all summer, but UFC president Dana White seemed confident Fedor would be ready to commit after his Sambo match in December. Unfortunately for White, the UFC, Randy, and especially the fans, Fedor signed with upstart MMA group M-1, citing the UFC being a closed door company, not allowing him to venture outside their banner to compete.
This leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Fedor claims he is open to fighting Randy, a fight, which Randy says, is the only one that means anything to him. But Dana claims Randy is under contract, and owes the company two fights. Monetary claims have been made on both sides, and while Couture argues that his decision was not entirely about money, that’s what it keeps coming back to. This one is going to get ugly.
Not only does this leave us wondering what could have been, the UFC is without a heavyweight champion, and without it’s top star in the division.
Brock Lesnar signs two-year deal with UFC
Former college wrestling champion turned pro wrestler, turned football player (all but briefly) will now try his hand at MMA with the UFC. Lesnar made his debut early in the year for K-1 blowing out his opponent in just over a minute. But a lot remains to be seen.
Will the Minnesota native be able to adjust his game to deal with big strikers? This is the heavyweight division, the home of one-punch knockouts.
One thing is for sure, there is no questioning his wrestling ability, and for a man his size, he is incredibly gifted. Lesnar seems poised to make a big splash for the company in 2008, and insiders are already speaking highly of his potential. One thing is for certain, he brings a big name, raw talent, and natural charisma deeply needed in a division that until recently had become stagnant.
Spike TV and UFC agree to terms on expanded TV deal
The new deal will continue programming through 2011, adding more live fights, New episodes of Unleashed, Seasons 9 — 12 of the Ultimate Fighter, and new weekly live fight series.
Coming up in November
UFC 78 Validation
UFC 78 live from New Jersey, headlined by Rashad Evans vs Michael Bisbing.
I’m still not sold on the main event status of this one, but either way I do enjoy both fighters, and I like the prospect of the two of them fighting, as it should be a good match stylistically speaking. Barring their most recent outings, I have been impressed with the steady progress they have both made since coming off of TUF.
Having said that, I do believe Evans will stop “The Count” in two. Bisbing had a hard time with Matt Hamill, and I don’t see things getting any easier against Rashad, who’s stand up continues to get better and better. The big question is where does the loser of this fight go from here. In an already stacked 205 division, both of these fighters have been mentioned as guys who may excel by making the drop to 185. That could very well be in one of these fighters future.
TUF Serra vs Hughes
The show continues to put on good fights, and feature a great build to the welterweight showdown in the “battle of the Matt’s”. I Can’t wait for the finale.