--I’m a huge Shogun mark, so I was downright giddy when he dropped Machida, mounted him, and then pounded him into a living death. This is the UFC’s glamour division and Shogun will have ample opportunities to become one of the company’s biggest stars. As a former model (I know, I know) he’s got the looks, and I say a little more polished English could turn him into the first breakthrough Brazilian MMA star.
For Shogun, it was a long time coming. A vocal majority thought he won the previous fight with Machida and, thankfully, this one left no doubt. If doubters of the 2005 PRIDE Grand Prix champion hadn’t been silenced by the bout last October, they certainly should have been last night.
The win sets the stage for match-ups worth salivating over. Shogun versus the winner of Rampage/Evans (i.e. Rampage) will likely be the next title fight. Shogun/Rampage I was a delicious spectacle of violence the first time so that’s the match I want to see. Shogun could also fight Antonio Rogerio Noguiera in a rematch of perhaps the best fight of the last decade. Lil’ Nog needs another win over someone not named Tim Boestch, though, and the Shogun/Rampage matchup should provide time for that.
The wild card in all this is Anderson Silva. I’m of the mind that Silva will allow Lil’ Nog his title shot first before coming for 205 lb. gold. This is what I want, really: Shogun fighting permanent light-heavyweights to solidify him as champion before any superfight is made.
--MMA fans decrying it as "bad for the sport" gave their usual exaggeration concerning the significance of Paul Daley’s post-fight shot on Josh Koscheck. Whatever. No one cares about the Strikeforce brawl three weeks after the fact, and no one will care about this by next weekend when Alistair Overeem returns to the States.
Koscheck was up and doing his heel routine in no time and seemed like he didn’t care all that much. The self-righteousness I keep reading on the internet will truly be what’s bad for the sport once new fans start joining these online communities and become increasingly off-put by such chest-beating.
--In a true "sporting" sense, Koscheck’s continual abuse of the rules should be considered worse. The fight with Anthony Johnson was proven to be no aberration; Koscheck seeks unfair advantages in his fights. I actually laughed when I saw Daley’s knee clearly miss Kos, who proceeded to look at referee Dan Miragliotta and then flop to the ground in faux agony.
These things do affect the outcome of fights. In a match were Daley could only win the fight with a knockout, Kos protected himself in the transition back to the feet where he was most vulnerable to the Brit’s power. Koscheck has become the Filippo Inzaghi of MMA.
--I’m not that surprised that Kimbo Slice is on his way out of the UFC, but I do feel bad for him. He was a guy almost irresistible to root for once you’d heard some of his interviews detailing the level of "commitmentship" he had. But, Mat Mitrione dominated him and proved that Kimbo likely couldn’t do anything against heavyweights with moderate athleticism. Was his gravy train at the end of the line? Probably not, but the UFC doesn’t desperately need him or anything.
--I think the loser of Silva/Sexyama would make an excellent fight with Alan Belcher, or Alessio Sakara when he gets his mind right to return. Actually, the latter would be a great fight for UFC on Versus 2. I’ve been looking for Belcher to start making his climb into the upper tier of 185 and now he is poised to do so; Belcher/Sakara would provide either fighter that opportunity.
A win over ring-rusted Patrick Cote isn’t the biggest feather in one’s cap, but for Belcher it was a fight that showcased his diverse skills and superior physical strength. He’s a big middleweight and after one more win I’d like him to face Yushin Okami or Nate Marquardt for title considerations.