Morning Report: One wild night in Las Vegas reshapes title pictures for four different divisions

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The last time we were all huddled together in this space, we held fast to a few simple truths. Rashad Evans was going to drop down to middleweight to challenge Anderson Silva. Anthony Pettis vs. Benson Henderson II was just a FOX fight away. And Alistair Overeem was finally going to seize his long-awaited UFC title shot.

Yeah, about that...

Somehow, within a span of a few hours on Saturday night, each of those indelible truths crumbled, one by one. First it was Overeem, whose overconfidence allowed a winnable fight to be wrenched away by Antonio ‘Bigfoot' Silva, who I can only presume hoarsely shouted the Portuguese equivalent of "Fatality!" over and over again as he unloaded one of the most visceral displays of violence we've seen all year.

Then it was Evans' turn. After a week inundated by questions about his next potential opponent, the opponent actually standing across from him inside the Octagon rendered the whole conversation null and void, much to the delight of the Weidman household.

But, of course, the biggest bombshell saved itself for last. Long after the lights had dimmed inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center, as a battered Frankie Edgar slumped low into his seat, a vacant expression adorned on his face, hollow-point bullets bursting from his eyes through the onlooking press, a new challenger for Jose Aldo emerged. All it took was a simple text message, sent from No. 1 lightweight contender Anthony Pettis to UFC President Dana White, and the title landscape in two separate divisions had been transformed.

Where we go from here is still uncertain, but one fact cannot be doubted. UFC 156 made this whole fighting thing a hell of a lot more interesting.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Aldo victorious. UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo narrowly defeated former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 49-46) to retain his title in the anticipated main event of UFC 156. (Video.) Though the win was not without controversy, as numerous pros scored the bout in Edgar's favor.

Silva stuns Overeem. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva shocked the mixed martial arts world for a second time, utterly destroying previous No. 1 contender Alistair Overeem with a monstrous third-round knockout. (Video.)

Pettis wants Aldo. According UFC President Dana White, No. 1 lightweight contender Anthony Pettis texted him immediately following Aldo's victory on Saturday night, offering to drop down to featherweight and challenge the Brazilian. "It didn't cross my mind until he texted me," White commented. "But it's crossing my mind now."

Evans listless in defeat. Continuing with the theme of lost opportunities, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans squandered any chance he had to fight Anderson Silva, losing a lethargic unanimous decision to longtime veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Said Dana White afterward: "[Evans] has lost that hunger. He has lost that desire and that drive, and he needs to get it back. There's no doubt about it."

Weidman 'probably' next. The true winner of the weekend? Middleweight contender Chris Weidman. With Rashad Evans now out of the picture, Weidman is the last man standing in a suddenly empty 185-pound division. Said Dana White: "I'd say Weidman is next. It's a process dealing with Anderson. I know how this works. It's probably Weidman."

ONE FC 7 results. Reigning URCC lightweight champion Honorio Banario defeated Filipino up-and-comer Eric Kelly via fourth-round TKO to claim the inaugural ONE FC featherweight title in the main event of ONE FC 7. For more, check out a complete stream of gifs and recaps.

White talks Belfort, Couture. Dana White vehemently shot down the rumor that Vitor Belfort failed his UFC on FX 7 post-fight drug test, before elaborating at length on his disintegrating relationship with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

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MEDIA STEW

I know, I know. We should just move past it. But before we do, check out Bigfoot's knockout one more time. Sometimes mixed martial arts is bananas, y'all.

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If you haven't seen Saturday's post-fight scrum, I'd advise you at least check out the 16:00 mark to see Dana White slowly unravel his relationship with Randy and Ryan Couture.

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It seems strangely voyeuristic now, but the new episode of The Reem is still quality entertainment.

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Chuck Liddell's fight viewing mannerisms are legendary, so this clip of Iceman watching Teixeira vs. Rampage cageside isn't altogether surprising. Though it's interesting to see his lady friend has adopted much of the same traits.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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If you missed out on last week's Bellator offering, feel free to throw your morning work aside and check out the entire main card.

SPIKE
Bellator MMA - Jan 31 - Episode 803
www.spike.com
Spike Full Episodes Spike Video Clips Spike on Facebook

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Normally I avoid posting any shaky cell phone video with awful background jabber, but for this I'll make an exception. (For the lazy, jump to 2:20.)

(HT: Reddit)

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SCORECARDS ALL OVER THE BOARD

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PETTIS WHO?

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EVANS VS. LIL NOG: NOT MUCH MORE TO SAY

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RESPECT, IT'S IMPORTANT

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MAIA DOMINATES

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FLYWEIGHT FUN

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TRUTH

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CHAEL TO VITOR

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UNCANNY HEALING ABILITY

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CHAMPIONS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced over the weekend (Friday, February 1, 2013 - Sunday, February 3, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees MikeWellman88 return with: UFC 156: Winners & Losers Who Shook Up Their Divisions

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.

Mind. Blown.

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.

Much more after the the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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