Chris Weidman won a war over Lyoto Machida to retain the UFC middleweight title. Ronda Rousey destroyed Alexis Davis in defense of her women’s bantamweight title.
It was an incredible night at UFC 175 in Las Vegas with some very interesting things forthcoming for all the big stars who competed Saturday night. Here’s what should be next:
There were some who questioned the validity of Chris Weidman as UFC middleweight champion. It’s kind of hard to do that now. His two wins over Anderson Silva came in bizarre fashion. This one, against Lyoto Machida, did not. It was a Fight of the Year-type of bout and Weidman was the clear victor.
Who’s next: Vitor Belfort
Belfort represents a quandary. He’s done enough in the Octagon to warrant a title shot, for sure. But then there’s that whole performance-enhancing drug thing hanging over his head. It seems like the UFC is determined to get him in there against Weidman, provided he clears all the necessary commission hurdles. Where and when that will be is up in the air, but probably before the end of the year.
Machida might have done more Saturday night in a loss than many of his career wins and he has had many of the latter in his excellent UFC career. Machida got roughed up for the first three rounds, but persevered and poured it on in the fourth and fifth. There’s little doubt he’s one of the division’s elite and will remain that way.
Who’s next: Tim Kennedy
This is a tough call. Machida is coming off a loss and there isn’t anyone in the top 15 in a similar position who makes sense for him. He’s already fought Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz. Other guys are tied up. Vitor Belfort is probably getting the next title shot. So how about Kennedy? He’s not coming off a loss and he’s behind Luke Rockhold in the pecking order. A win over Machida would raise his stock significantly.
It took Rousey a shorter time to finish Alexis Davis on Saturday night than it did for me to write this sentence. That’s how dominant the women’s bantamweight champion was. She pummeled Davis in 16 seconds by knockout, a beating so vicious that it almost makes you want to turn away. Rousey is a scary individual.
Who’s next: Cris Cyborg
There isn’t a woman in the UFC with any chance of beating Rousey. That’s just the reality of the situation. She has taken the division’s best and dispatched them with relative ease. Rousey has only been out of the first round one time. She’s finished every one of her fights. It’s time things got real. The UFC needs to sign Cyborg and make this fight before Rousey leaves for the movies and it loses its heat.
Ronda Rousey (right) lands a right hand on Alexis Davis.
Davis said in the press conference Saturday night that she wishes her fight with Ronda Rousey would have lasted longer. In reality, she probably does not. That would have given Rousey an even bigger window to unleash devastation on Davis. The athleticism difference was far too vast for Davis, who never really had a chance.
Who’s next: Miesha Tate/Rin Nakai loser
While Davis can’t match up physically with Rousey, she can with just about everyone else in the division. And she’s still one of the best 135-pound women in the world. Tate meets Nakai in Japan on Sept. 17 and it’s a very interesting battle of grapplers. The winner will go on to bigger things in the women’s bantamweight division and the loser is still a contender. The latter should get Davis.
Hall might be out awhile after breaking his toe in the first round against Thiago Santos on Saturday night. He deserves it. The New York City native showed flashes of brilliance against a fellow Muay Thai striker. He showed off his ridiculous quickness and put his name among middleweights to watch.
Who’s next: Clint Hester
Hall isn’t quite ready to be in the middleweight rankings just yet, but he’s close. Hester is coming off a nice win against Antonio Braga Neto last weekend in San Antonio. He’s a big, powerful striker and an excellent athlete, kind of like Hall. Both are close to becoming contenders and the winner of this fight could make a bid for the top 15. Also, who wouldn’t want to see that striking battle.
Another ho hum performance for Faber, which is to say it’s a non-title fight, so of course he’s going to win. Faber choked out Alex Caceres in the third round Saturday night and kept his name among the elite of his division, where he has been for almost a decade. Few in the history of the sport can match his prolonged excellence.
Who’s next: Bryan Caraway
Faber isn’t going to fight his teammate T.J. Dillashaw for the title any time soon. Faber said it himself. Could that happen down the road? Sure. Maybe even some time next year. But until then, Faber needs fights to keep him busy. Caraway is No. 8 in the bantamweight division. He’s a name people know and he’s on a winning streak. That fight makes a lot of sense and could be a Fight Night main event. There have been worse.