Was last night the best card in UFC history? Probably not, was it a brilliant launch to an exciting channel – absolutely. From Matt Brown starching Mike Pyle to Faber’s dominating win, to Travis Browne’s gift of a one-way ticket to Bellator for Overeem and Chael submitting Shogun – it was a pretty special night.
Last night was a big night for the UFC and a bigger one for Chael P. Sonnen. This was Chael’s biggest win in an already storied career and you can tell it was a big win by the number of people who stepped up to fight him. That list last night included Machida, Belfort, Phil Davis, and of course Sonnen calling out Wanderlei again. Here is what I like about this; it plays right into what I think Chael wants. Chael calls himself “the bad guy” and talked about a trilogy with Anderson so before you call me an idiot, hear me out. Chael submits Shogun, calls out Wand before the end of the year, fights Belfort and then Machida, beats them all – would that not make the third Anderson fight very interesting? Because for me, I think his submission over a legend, albeit not in his prime, of the caliber of Shogun puts him in some interesting conversations and screws up an already fragmented division in the light heavyweights. Many fighters have talked about how Chael’s dance to Jon Jones changed the game and the win last night made that match look a bit less crazy. Using MMA Math it took Jones (much earlier in his career) three rounds to put Shogun away and it took Chael less than one. This is not an argument for Chael vs Jones II but it shows that he still has some BIG wins up his sleeve and if his plan is to bully all the Brazilians from 185-205 until Anderson answers I think that is a pretty brilliant plan. And if that is not his plan, we already know last night’s submission of the night winner is one of the best analysts’ that FOX Sports has so Chael, as usual, has a couple back-up plans.
The other big winner was Travis Browne who came back from some scary body shots from the Reem to Anderson Silva Overeem in the face like he was Vitor Belfort. With a win over Overeem I have Browne right behind his only loss so a rematch with Big Foot seems like a great plan to me and it will keep those two men busy with a title eliminator match until either JDS or Cain are available.
I loved the launch, loved the hours of fights, and I loved the way they handled the fights afterwards on their version of Sportscenter. This was a great night for FOX, a better night for the UFC, and a brilliant night for Chael + Travis.
Talk to you on the show this week.