With the UFC 156 card having produced 2 major upsets, and 2013 off to looking like the Year of the Upset (as opposed to its predecessor, The Year of the Injury), I've decided, with the magic of the fanpost, to investigate further the upsets that have occurred so far. Note: I will only be examining main card upsets, and what they meant to the UFC and their divisional pictures. Here we go.
UFC on FX: Bisping vs. Belfort
CB Dolloway (+145) defeats Daniel Sarafian (-175) via Split Decision
In the fight of the night, American CB Dolloway defeated would-be Ultimate Fighter finalist Daniel Sarafian by the slimmest of margins. Despite being rocked by the first round blitz of Sarafian, Dolloway chose his strikes, mixed in some takedowns and generally did enough to win the Brazilian judges (though certainly not the crowd) and gain the decision. Divisionally, not too much happened. I believe we've seen just how far Dolloway will go in the 185lb weight class, and he's essentially stuck in the position of low level gatekeeper. For Sarafian, the loss robbed the division of an explosive prospect's momentum. Sarafian showed some bright spots in the fight, particularly with his hands early and sweeps in the 3rd, but ultimately his position in the UFC is precariously shaky, and not the fast start he would have hoped for.
Vitor Belfort defied the masses expectations and also broke the stereotype of 1st round lion, later fight kitten. Belfort recorded the first victory of his UFC career outside of the first round. (Think what you will with the recent news that Belfort is on TRT and how that affected the fight). For Bisping, a guaranteed title fight is gone. The marketable Brit with a penchant for being tagged dropped the ball again, and also the expectations of the UFC. Divisionally, Belfort has now gone unbeaten in the middleweight division everyone not named Anderson Silva. That being said, not too many people are clamoring for a rematch with the champ (although if the former champ keeps decapitating the top contenders in such a fashion, the MMA community may change their tune). For Bisping, he's where he's always been: the top of the heap, but not the very top of it.
UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson
Ricardo Lamas announced his contendership for the 145lb title with a visceral ground and pound victory over previous number one contender Erik Koch. Lamas had already been near the top of the heap, but a win over a man supposed to fight Jose Aldo on two separate occasions announces that, as far established featherweights goes, he's the man to beat. For Koch, at the age of 24, this loss isn't career crippling, and with his skill set he is certainly capable of climbing back to the #1 contender spot of the division. The division continues the trend of lightweights dropping down to challenge for the title with Anthony Pettis dropping down to challenge Aldo, despite the upset that took place on network television.
This may have surprised some fight fans to know: Maia was actually the underdog coming into the bout. Despite being the physically bigger man, and the more credentialed grappler, Fitch was still favored over the Brazilian, and looking to build off the momentum of his exciting victory over Erick Silva. Not the case. Maia came in, smothered the smotherer, and ground out a dominant win over the veteran welterweight. Fitch's perennial #2 contendership continues to move further from his grasp as the next group of title prospects continues to move onward. That night, Maia made his presence known by dominating a tested commodity at 170 (no disrespect to Rick Story or Dong Hyun Kim).
The most famous of this years upsets, Bigfoot put the kaibosh on the Overeem hype train. Overeem, generally expected to run through the massive Brazilian, lost all the steam in his win streak, a promised title shot, a short amount of memory, and a fair amount of his muscle mass. Antonio Silva gained sweet, sweet vengeance, and a whisper of his name being put into title contention. The division itself lost a sense of direction: who could take the big Dutchman's place? The taller Dutchman Stefan Struve? The Super Samoan Mark Hunt? There really is no clear cut decision for the UFC, though watching them try to put together a heavyweight matchup for the title will be entertaining, rest assured.
Little Nog kept the former UFC light-heavyweight champion at a comfortable range with his superior striking, and cruised to a fairly decisive decision victory. For Nogueira, this marked his second straight victory over a former champion, though it doesn't necessarily build any momentum for the aging Brazilian. For Evans, he's now dropped his last 2 fights and looked fairly lackluster in both performances. Evans had been flirting with the idea of retirement, and certainly looked he had one foot out of the door. For the division they fought in, not too much was lost or gained. Nogueira will likely never compete for a UFC title, and Evans had been given the lucrative offer of dropping to 185 to fight The Spider. The only division severely affected by this bout, in a negative way, was the middleweight division.
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