UFC: All Five Rounds
Welcome to the third edition of “All Five Rounds”, our weekly look back at some of the stories that recently made headlines in the world of mixed martial arts.
With UFC 162 just around the corner, fight fans everywhere are anxious to watch arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva, defend his belt for an unprecedented 11th time, against a supremely confident Chris Weidman.
Unfortunately, the news wasn’t all good as the state of New York has once again denied fight fans the opportunity to watch the world’s fastest growing sport in their own backyard, at least for one more year.
Also worth mentioning, the UFC has dominated the headlines recently due mainly to their schedule. However, it’s important to note that this column will attempt to cover any news worthy event within the entire sport, so stay tuned in the near future for news from the worlds of Bellator, Strikeforce, and many other of the promotions throughout the landscape of MMA.
Weidman A Concern For Silva?
The highly-publicized, middle weight title fight between reigning champ Anderson Silva (33-4-0), and Chris Weidman (9-0-0), will take place on Saturday, July 6 in LasVegas at UFC 162. Silva last graced the octagon with his presence nearly a year ago in a second-round knockout of Chael Sonnen in July of 2012. Despite the relentless rumors regarding numerous opponents, Silva somewhat unexpectedly chose to once again defend his belt, rather than agree to one of the many “super fights” that have been offered to him. Most recently, Silva has again begun to publicly discuss his desire to face former professional boxing champion Roy Jones Jr, instead of exploring the possibility of a matchup against either GSP or Jon Jones. Seemingly unfazed by the near perfect record and reputation of Silva, Chris Weidman has openly displayed his confidence prior to the fight and has no doubt whatsoever that he will leave Las Vegas the new UFC Middleweight Champion.
Not alone in his prediction, welterweight champ George St. Pierre, has also publicly stated that he believes Weidman will be victorious and therefore no longer considers a possible fight between himself and Silva a possibility. Weidman may currently represent the best of the group of potential challengers to Silva’s crown, but if the “Spider” does in fact defeat his latest opponent, the next obstacle for the UFC to overcome in retaining Silva will be to find a legitimate contender to the middleweight championship. Weidman, who has openly apologized to both UFC President Dana White and fight fans everywhere in advance for defeating the highly-respected Silva and therefore spoiling any chance of a “superfight” with Jon Jones etc., earned the title shot with a win over hard-hitting contender Mark Munoz in the summer of 2012.
Edgar Begins Journey Back To the Top
Former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (14-4-1), will face Charles Oliveira (16-3-0,1 NC) in a featherweight bout on the main card of UFC 162. The contest will be Edgar’s first non-title fight since 2009 and just his second within the featherweight division after losing a five-round unanimous decision to UFC Featherweight Champion José Aldo this past February. With an unparalleled work ethic and the heart to always move forward, Edgar quickly became a fan favorite during his time as lightweight champion. Even after his recent loss to Aldo, many, including myself, feel that Edgar deserves a higher ranked opponent within the featherweight division and that facing the currently unranked Oliveira, is a step in the wrong direction for both Edgar as well as the UFC.
It was also widely believed that Edgar should have been awarded the victory in at least one of his battles with current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson.So far, the former wrestler’s drop to 145 pounds hasn’t exactly began as well as originally predicted but the bout on July 6th could serve as a reminder to many that Edgar should always be in the title discussion. For Oliveira, the fight will no doubt be the biggest of his career to date, especially when considering that the Brazilian is coming off of a first-round knockout loss to Cub Swanson in his last trip to the octagon in September of 2012.
Teixeira Takes Next Step Towards Title Shot
UFC light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira (21-2-0), will take his next step on the path towards a possible matchup against current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, when he takes on fellow light heavyweight Ryan Bader (16-3-0) on September 4, 2013 at the third “UFC on Fox Sports 1″ event. The two were originally slated to meet at UFC 160 this past May, but due to an injury suffered by Bader during training which subsequently forced the former Arizona State Wrestler to withdraw from the bout, light heavyweight James Te Huna stepped in to face Teixeira instead. Teixeira, who defeated Te Huna with a first-round submission, is a perfect 4-0 in his UFC career and is the third-ranked light heavyweight contender.
After the recent bout between Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson that resulted in a win for the former Michigan State Spartan, it was widely believed that Teixeira’s next opponent would almost certainly be Evans. While the Brazilian-born Teixeira possesses some formidable skills on the ground, it’s been his aggressive style displayed primarily in the stand-up game that has earned him a significant following with fight fans. Bader, whose last fight took place in January of 2013 in a win over Vladimir Matyushenko, looked to be on a direct path to a title shot before a loss to the always dangerous Lyoto Machida in August of 2012. It is not yet known if the September bout between the two light heavyweights will the main event on the “Fox Sports 1″ fight card, or if the UFC plans to add another high-profile matchup as the headliner.
What’s Next For Roy Nelson?
Fan favorite and UFC heavyweight contender Roy Nelson (20-8-0), is currently at a crossroads in his professional MMA career after his recent loss to Stipe Miocic which unintentionally coincided with the expiration of “Big Country’s” current UFC contract. The 37-year-old, former “T.U.F.” season 10 winner was unexpectedly defeated by the up and coming Miocic in a three-round unanimous decision at UFC 161, after winning three straight trips to the octagon prior to the fight. While it’s no secret that Nelson and UFC President Dana White aren’t exactly the best of friends, the two have openly stated that they would like to continue their business relationship. After defeating former streetfighter Kimbo Slice during the 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Nelson famously sat on top of the cage pointing at the judges table where White was seated and told White to go and “buy him (Nelson) a whopper”, which for obvious reasons started the relationship off on somewhat of a bad note. Since then, Nelson has stormed through the UFC, winning all six of his fights by way of knockout.
Recently, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rampage Jackson who was recently acquired by both Bellator and TNA Wrestling, has publicly stated that he would love to fight Nelson if the opportunity were to present itself. As intriguing as a matchup with Jackson may sound however, the only way that the bout could actually take place would be if Nelson left the UFC and signed with Bellator. With Nelson currently in exclusive contract negotiations with the UFC, he is unable to fully pursue other opportunities such as a move to Bellator untill those negotiations cease. Most likely, the UFC will find a way to re-sign the outspoken heavyweight, but Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is rumored to be a fan of Nelson’s and would likely pursue him if he is somehow released by the UFC.