With UFC on fox 21 in the books, here are my five most notable things I took away from the event.
(5) Chad Laprise could be a contender
Chad Laprise made quick work of Thibault Gouti and deserves a step up in competition. With Rory MacDonald having moved to Bellator, it would be very handy to have some excellent Canadian fighters to root for and, even though he missed weight, Laprise could be in line for a promotional push. He has had a rough time with a decision loss to the always-tough Ross Pearson and the hard-hitting Francisco Trinaldo. Before those two, he was on a 10-0 win streak and had beaten Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Bryan Barberena. Personally, I would like to see him in there with a big name and a good chance with winning, so Jim Miller would do very nicely indeed.
(4) Please don’t just tune in for the PPVs
There are a huge number of people, fans, and media that only turn their gaze to the UFC on PPVs. If you did that this weekend, you missed a hell of a fight card which saw Maia the human anaconda do his thing, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis do it the hard way against Charles Olivera, a Karate Kid finish from UFC golden child Paige Van Zant, and the always-excellent Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon. If you missed it, then you missed out on a good night of fights. Start making more time in your life for these sort of cards – full of intrigue, excitement, and finishes.
(3) Paige Van Zant and the Ghost of Rose Namajunas
Paige Van Zant didn’t look like she was doing much of anything in her fight against Bec Rawlings and then suddenly she was doing something so awesome it took me awhile to process it. Staying light on her feet and circling away, it looked like she was point-fighting, but then landed a jumping switch kick that landed flush and dropped Rawlings. She then finished with ground and pound. It was an excellent finish that would not look out of place in an action movie, but I just can’t get out of my mind the absolute beating she took from Namajunas. She. Was. Destroyed. It will take more than that moment of brilliance to make me believe she belongs in the Top 5. The UFC will have to book her next fight very carefully indeed. I would play safe if I were the UFC and give her Courtney Casey.
(2) The show goes on
Anthony Pettis did it the hard way against the no. 6 ranked Charles Oliveira. However, he did what he had to do and he did it impressively. He had the clear striking advantage, but what was most impressive is that he hung in with Oliveira on the ground as well. He found himself with his back taken a number of times, but time and time again he was able to escape and then win by submission. Incredible stuff.
There are a number of exciting fighters for him to match up with. A lot of people are calling for him to fight Max Holloway. I would rather see him against Frankie Edgar. With Holloway on a seven fight win streak he has so much to lose. With the fight against Frankie Edgar, even though “The Answer” would be coming off a loss, his name value is still high and Pettis only has one win after a three-fight skid. Nothing can be decided, though, as Dana White, the media, I, and the rest of the world wait until McGregor decides to stop holding the division hostage.
(1) Demian Maia needs a title shot
First things first. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson deserves his title shot first, but then afterwards please can we have Maia fighting for the belt? Anything can happen and with GSP waiting in the wings; he could yet have the chance taken away from him, but the man is on an incredible six-fight win streak. People say that he is not an exciting fighter. I personally think his demolition of Condit was one of the highlights on the card. In the similar vein as Rousey, the opponent knows what is coming, but can’t seem to stop it anyway. He should wait out for his title shot. There is no fight that makes sense for him now until he gets his opportunity and I, for one, hope he gets it.
(Christopher King of Arundel, England is a new MMATorch contributor. He got hooked on MMA after watching UFC 114 featuring “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans and from there, he says, “I spent a ridiculous amount of money and time watching every event from UFC 1 up to the present so I could understand the history of the sport, the fighters, the weight divisions and everything else in between. It was the style of fighting that drew me in, in order to see what martial art was the most effective, and from there, the fighters themselves, their story, their training and the sacrifices that they go through.” Follow him on Twitter – @ChristofKing)
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