UFC 156 will be remembered for a long time. It was a great night of fights from start to finish, and we had some of our pre-fight questions answered, along with new ones we didn't think to ask in the first place. The night showcased the octagon debuts of three Strikeforce fighters who all outlasted and defeated UFC veterans, and the top portion sent fighters flying in and out of the top 10, and served to clear out several number-one contender seats in the UFC. It was a great night if you were a Brazilian, and a bad one if you were a Blackzilian. With more than one division's top 5 rankings in a state of disarray, lets hurry up and sort through the rubble left by UFC 156.
Best Use of A Text Message: Anthony Pettis.
UFC 156 ended with Jose Aldo retaining his featherweight title in close fight against Frankie Edgar. While most were asking what would be next for Edgar, after dropping three straight title fights, somebody decided to insert themselves into the conversation about who'd be next for the reigning king of 145 lbs. Dana White revealed at the post-fight press conference that he got a text message from surging 155 lbs contender, Anthony Pettis, asking for a shot at Aldo.
It's perfect. Pettis knows that his title shot at lightweight isn't coming for a solid 7-8 months, why not cash it all in against someone a little higher up on the pound-for-pound list. Don't get me wrong, I do have Benson Henderson on my pound-for-pound list, just behind Jose Aldo, but Pettis has already beat Henderson. Anthony Pettis doesn't cut weight to get to 155 lbs. So you mean to tell me that Pettis is able to land one-of-a-kind 'Showtime' moves off of the cage wall against guys that cut down to get to the weight he walks around at? Imagine what a roughly same-sized Pettis could do against smaller opponents? From the looks of things Pettis is going to be springing from the cage in multiple divisions, and that is an intriguing thought.
Biggest Winner: Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva.
In choosing between Tyron Woodley's blasting of Jay Hieron and the giant Silva's performance at UFC 156 for Biggest Winner, it really came down to who's destruction was against tougher opposition. I can't claim to know what was going through the mind of Alistair Overeem during his fight against Silva, but Bigfoot made it a point to bring whatever it was to a screeching halt. I was a little bit afraid when he went on the re-attack, and started shouting at the pile of Alistair Overeem that he left, but luckily for everyone involved nobody was eaten. And by doing a little revisionist history, Bigfoot's track-record is starting to look pretty darn good. Handing Travis Browne his first defeat by KO? Pulverizing Fedor Emelianenko? And now this? Yes, Cain Velasquez did make the giant bleed his own blood, but for Heaven's sake, how good must that make Cain Velasquez? When guys string together enough wins, we all re-evaluate the regard we've been holding them in up to that point. This was Silva's biggest win to-date, and puts him on a short list for a title shot.
Biggest Loser: The Tag Team of Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans.
These two both had a bad night. They both lost to heavy underdogs. On the Overeem side, he had a terrible showing at UFC 156, and what's worse is that he was one win away from the UFC title fight that has thus far eluded him. He did out-strike Bigfoot in the first two rounds, but who expected the fight to go that long. We all knew that Silva had the power to knock-out Overeem. We thought Overeem knew that too. It was a brutal and costly mistake on Overeem's part to put so much effort into not putting in effort against Antonio Silva. Overeem's performance was indeed puzzling. Equally so what that of Rashad Evans, who put on an even less inspiring performance in his loss to Rogerio Nogueira. You know you didn't fair well when prior to the fight, you're name is being brought up to fight the greatest-of-all-time, as a worthy adversary, and after the fight, your boss is talking about your motivations to compete at all. I'm just as baffled as everyone else is about these two.
Most In Need of a Non-Title Fight: Frankie Edgar.
Before we start the grieving process for Frankie Edgar, who lost his third straight fight at UFC 156, lets remember that his last seven fights have been title fights. There are plenty of guys who will tell you about the one title fight they got in the UFC, and the long road back to contention. Frankie Edgar did what he always does in his fight against Jose Aldo, he fought a man perceived to be better than him, took some damage early on, found his timing and came back and made it competitive, and was able to convince a large portion of the audience that he won. There are plenty of fights for Frankie, at both 145 lbs, and 135 lbs. Another perpetual title contender exists in Urijah Faber, who currently fights at 135 lbs, but that would be a worthy non-title fight at bantamweight for Edgar. There is also Erik Koch, Dennis Siver, the korean zombie, Ricardo Lamas and a ton of other guys at featherweight that would be great for Edgar. It's not the end of the world to have to put together a winnning streak, and Edgar's performance in defeat on Saturday didn't send him plummeting as far down in the rankings as some of the night's other fighters, so the future shouldn't seem as gloomy as everyone, Frankie included, as made it.
Biggest Splash In UFC Debut: Tyron Woodley.
All three debuting Strikeforce fighters, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Bobby Green, and T-Woodz all left Las Vegas with wins on Sunday. Woodley however, shot up his divisions rankings further though, due to the nature of his win. Jay Hieron may not be the toughest of the three mens' opponents, but Woodley finished him in under 40 seconds, and stated afterwards that he is ready to replace any injured fighters on the UFC 159 card. I hope I'm not the only won interested in how Woodley does against the top 10 at welterweight.
Winner of the Jon Fitch Award for Smothering Dominance: Damien Maia.
I wonder if throughout all his dominant victories, Jon Fitch really ever understood what it was like to get 'fitched'. He certainly does now. Damien Maia couldn't get his hands on Fitch quick enough, rushing him in the opening seconds and not letting up until the fight was over. I can't say that there were three 10-8 rounds, because Fitch was able to not get submitted for 15 minutes, a belt-worthy feat by itself. Maia was relentless and most other welterweights would have been tapped out and sent home. Fitch endured, and even in defeat, showed that he is virtually unsubmit-able. Second isn't first however, and Maia now ascends to the crowded peak of the UFC welterweight division, with Dana White stating that he is a future number-one contender.
Surprising outcomes were the norm at UFC 156, with contenders plummeting, and contenders rising the ranks. Strikeforce fighters proved that they are here to stay. The flyweights opened up the main card with their unique brand of speed and technique, and the much talked-about superfight was pretty super. And now I ask for the third straight week, after the third straight event: Who is next for Anderson Silva?