Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
UFC 203 Aftermath
I share some thoughts, opinions, and takeaways on a entertaining UFC 203 Pay-Per-View Card this weekend. I also recap how my predictions did:
-Stipe Miocic retains his Heavyweight Title after he knocks out Alistair Overeem at UFC 203. It was one of the weirdest championship fights I’ve seen in a long time. You had Overeem running around the ring like he was preparing for a marathon during the fight. Along, with Overeem being apparently so concussed after the fight, that he actually thought he got a tap out from Miocic. He would continue to claim he got the submission, despite being shown multiple replays that he did not. The fight was entertaining from start to finish, with both fighters looking like they were done at multiple points in the fight. In the end Miocic showed why he is the champion, as he took Overeem’s best shots and found a way to blast him right back, as he turned the Dutchman’s lights out. Miocic is a guy the UFC can market, and if he continues to knockout the best the division has to offer he could be a star in the making.
-Who Stipe Miocic defends his belt against next is an interesting question. The new UFC matchmakers will have to answer though, now that Joe Silva is repotedly moving on. The obvious choice for Miocic is he gets Fabricio Werdum in a rematch. Werdum impressively beat Travis Browne in the fight before Miocic’s to keep his number one contender ranking in the Heavyweight division. However, I’m not positive they don’t give Cain Velasquez a crack at Miocic first. Cain’s popularity and resurgence in the heavyweight division makes it a really interesting fight. Werdum would obviously be upset if he gets passed over, but that has never stopped the UFC before. My dream scenario would be if the UFC makes a Miocic vs Velasquez & Werdum vs Dos Santos co-main event. This gives them them multiple fight options no matter the outcomes.
-Speaking of Fabricio Werdum: the former champ absolutely dominated Travis Browne in their second fight. His UFC 203 performance was a repeat of their first matchup. If it were not for a refereeing error, he should have likely gotten a 1st round TKO instead of a unanimous decision. Werdum was able to fight off a nasty eye-poke from Browne (the photo went viral it was so gross) and still dominate his opponent. He also delivered a front kick to Browne’s trainer Edmond Tarverdyan during the announcement of the decision after Tarverdyan stupidly challenged Werdum to a fight, after hurling insults at him. Werdum did what he had to do versus a top 10 opponent, and rightfully deserves another shot at Miocic to get his title back. However, I’m not sure he gets it right away.
– Edmond Tarverdyan has become a ‘clown show ‘as a UFC trainer. He manages to insert himself into his fighters, fights, and his two biggest fighters Browne & Rousey seem to have regressed under his tutelage. The guy is a boxing trainer masquerading as a MMA coach. His in fight instructions to his fighters are useless at best and dangerous for his fighters at worst. I’d be shocked if we see any fighters join his camp after the huge string of losses all those under his watch have suffered.
-CM Punk is not a professional mixed martial artist. I said this before his fight, as did many others. He did nothing to dispel that statement Saturday night against Mickey Gall. Gall literally toyed with Punk, before putting him out of his misery. The fight was an embarrassment for the sport. I won’t go with the “he inspired” people narrative because its nonsense. He’s a rich famous guy who got a shot he did not earn. No one disputes he was brave for getting in there, the problem is he never should have gotten that shot to get in there. People confusing criticisms of this fight, for being “haters” are missing the point. The sport has evolved from the freak show days; no one wants to see people who have no business in there. Punk’s presence on a big UFC 203 pay-per-view card, takes a spot away from other legitimate fighters. This was the cause of most of the backlash. Fortunately, Dana White appears to have seen how big of a black eye this fight was. He hinted that Punk’s next fight (if he even has one) should not happen on a UFC card.
-Mickey Gall did his job, and destroyed overwhelmed “fake “fighter. It’s tough to know how legit the kid is, but he definitely has good microphone skills as shown by his post-fight interview. He called out Sage Northcutt for his next fight, another UFC hyped up fighter. I think the MMA community would be happy to see that fight if the UFC will make it.
-Jimmie Rivera was sharp against Urijah Faber, and despite not getting the finish, he clearly beat the legendary California Kid. The win gives Rivera his first signature victory. He was able to adjust to Faber throughout the fight, and took advantage of Faber’s inability to check his nasty leg kicks. His ability to adapt his fight game plan against a world-class opponent shows a lot of promise. I’d love to see Rivera take on another top 5 fighter in the Bantamweight division before he gets consideration for a title shot.
-Urijah Faber is a hall of fame MMA fighter. He should have no regrets after his UFC 203 performance, if he chooses to hang up his gloves tomorrow. He’s more than earned the right to go out of the fight game on his own terms. However, losing to a fighter outside of the top 10 despite him being really talented essentially ends any hopes of him capturing a title at this stage in career. Faber can definitely keep fighting and competing with the top 10 in the bantamweight division. He’s still a decent draw so the UFC will keep him as long as he wants to fight. Personally, I’d love to see Faber take one last fight against a decent opponent, win and retire. He’s got a pretty solid career options post-fighting. It appears he’s been smart with his money, so getting out with a final win and his health intact would be great to see.
My UFC 203 predictions:
Urijah Faber @+105(Loss) -$100
Mickey Gall @ -415) (Win) +$12
Gall/Punk Under 2.5 Rounds @-200 (Win) +$50
Fabricio Werdum @ -200 (Win) +$50
Alistair Overeem @ +120 (Loss) -$100
UFC 203 results (3-2) (-$48)
Prediction Record Year to Date (11-8-0) (-$78)
-Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
-Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
*Stats via www.UFC.com