Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:36
By Josh Nason
Without a doubt, Saturday’s UFC 171 was the biggest event of the calendar year — one that has seen several Fight Pass events and a run of cards with more decisions than anyone wanted to see. Nearly an hour after the show ended and a few hours before Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez recap the show on Wrestling Observer Radio, here’s five instant thoughts for you to chew on.
More competitive title fights, please.
What I was looking forward to the most with Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler was that both guys had a legitimate shot to win, something that has been relatively absent going into UFC title fights for a long, long time. Both guys delivered big. While it wasn’t the complete rock ‘em sock ‘em slugfest people expected, it was a physical 25 minutes with plenty of drama. While it’s a bummer to see Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva’s respective reigns come to an end, it does bring everyone else a bit tighter together when it comes to competition. Dominant champions can be fun, but competitive title fights are even better.
So now what for Hendricks?
Who gets the next shot at the new welterweight champion is the big question. No one seems to be that excited for either Hector Lombard or Tyron Woodley to get a crack, but Nick Diaz’s name got brought up repeatedly because, well, he’s Nick Diaz. I could see Rory MacDonald getting the next opportunity in an attempt to engage the Canadian market again. Any of those guys aren’t exactly going to be big draws, but outside the quote machine known as Diaz, that’s the way it’s going to be for a while.
Condit loses and then some
While Carlos Condit’s knee injury hasn’t been diagnosed as of the time I write this, I’m fully expecting to hear ‘torn ACL’ on either Sunday or Monday. For a guy that came so close to beating Georges St. Pierre upon the former champ’s first fight back after his own torn ACL and that likely could have justified a title shot with a big win, being out during a transformative phase in the division is a crusher. And I also feel badly for Woodley, who isn’t getting any credit for the win — the biggest of his career.
We finally have a prospect at 205
Outside the upper echelon of the division, the rest of the light heavyweight division is in a sad state — a mix of guys that are 185ers or could retire at any time. But we finally have a fast rising prospect in Ovince St. Preux who could make some noise throughout 2014 after a great submission win over Nikita Krylov Saturday. I wouldn’t throw him to the dogs just yet, but it’s nice to have a future light heavyweight contender to get excited for.
The next generation is here
Myles Jury made a big statement in dominating Diego Sanchez. Hendricks is now the new UFC welterweight champion. Dennis Bermudez has a nice long winning streak. OSP won a $50,000 performance bonus. New names are making some impact on PPV cards, helping move divisions forward ever so slightly. Can any be stars? Sure, if the right opportunity hits and the right audience is there to take it in. As some of the old guard fade away, there are guys ready to take their place and I think we saw a few of them Saturday night.
Dave (live in Dallas) & Bryan will be up with Wrestling Observer Radio shortly.