Was George Sotiropoulos flouting the rules in regard to grappling pants? Cain Velasquez's star rose with his demolition of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but what other effect might it have? Which UFC 110 fighter might have upped his standing in the UFC despite losing?
Those questions and more in alternate storylines.
Sotiropoulos flouting loophole?
George Sotiropoulos had a star-making performance against Joe Stevenson. His win was decisive and complete, as the native Australian outgrappled and outperformed the favored Stevenson in front of a raucous crowd.
One thing though: Sotiropoulos' cage attire has been questioned as flouting the rules, which do not allow grappling pants. Technically, Sotiropoulos did not have pants; he wore fight shorts over compression shorts, and neoprene knee and ankle supports that left little of his legs exposed. The New South Wales government had a commission overseeing the show, so you can be assured that his gear was approved as legal.
One other note for those who think he got away with something: he had the same setup in November when he submitted Jason Dent at UFC 106 in Las Vegas, and his gear was likewise ruled acceptable by the Nevada state athletic commission.
Conquering two worlds with one win
Despite a huge leap in opponent caliber, Velasquez lived up to the hype, blasting through the durable legend Nogueira in just 2:20. The victory vaults Velaquez near the front of the heavyweight line, and after the bout, he said he was ready to fight for the championship as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
But the win might also help the UFC achieve a secondary goal, and that is opening up the Mexican market. Mexico has always been one of the UFC's main targets as an event host, and having a top Latino fighter headlining a card could help make that a reality sooner than later. The UFC had at one time discussed an April event but eventually backed off the date.
Velasquez's win makes him a headliner, could attract further interest from the large Latino fanbase that supports boxing, and brings Mexico back into play. That's a lot to accomplish in less than three minutes of work.
Sometimes, saying less is more
Michael Bisping seems to draw a reaction no matter what he says. I, for one, have no problem with his outspoken nature. Not every fighter has to be vanilla. He adds flavor to the sport, and 95 percent of the time, that's a good thing.
Despite losing a decision against Wanderlei Silva, Bisping might have won over a few fans in the cage with his gracious post-fight comments to Joe Rogan. But then he went to the post-fight press conference and undid that goodwill by suggesting that he won the fight.
I've been around fighters long enough to know that they're always going to feel that they won a close fight, especially in the moments after the heat of battle. But then again, Bisping's been around long enough to know that if you're saved by the bell twice in one fight, the fans are going to think otherwise.
One good turn deserves another
The UFC was left in a bind 48 hours from fight time when Ben Rothwell was forced to withdraw from his matchup against Mirko Cro Cop due to an illness.
With the UFC 8,000 miles away from their home base in the U.S., the pickings were slim for a replacement. When Anthony Perosh was first asked to fill in, he said no; it just wasn't enough time to prepare. But Perosh had also been in the crowd a day before and heard Dana White talk about how he loves fighters who step up when a situation arises. With those words ringing in his head, he accepted the fight.
Perosh, who now mostly fights at light-heavyweight and weighed in at 216 for the bout, lost after two rounds when the ringside doctor stopped the fight due to cuts. Perosh stepped up for the UFC, now they should do the same and give him another fight.
Chris Lytle, Money Player
With a record of 28-17 with five draws, Lytle can't be considered an A-lister in the MMA world, but no one can deny that he's one of the most game fighters around.
In case you need actual evidence of that, there's proof. Amazingly, UFC 110 marked the seventh time in his last eight UFC fights that Lytle's cashed in an award check for his performance, this time taking "Submission of the Night" honors for his kneebar win over Brian Foster. Before that, he'd won three straight "Fight of the Night" awards.
Lytle's willingness to scrap with anybody and go-for-broke style are the main reasons the UFC continually calls on the veteran.