I live in the southwestern United States. My weekend mixed martial arts are generally heralded in by a piping hot dinner and a magenta desert sunset. So it was certainly a little strange to groggily open the laptop, notice the UFC on FUEL 6 prelims priming to kickoff, and fuzzily gaze up to see the clock read 4-something a.m.
And as fight after fight trudged to decision, it definitely gave me a newfound respect for all you European crazies who wake up (or stay up) long into the night to see the likes of Riki Fukuda outpointing Tom DeBlass. But even still, there's something uniquely brilliant about watching a ‘Knockout of the Year' candidate close out a card before getting a chance to catch a full breakfast.
Though in case you weren't so committed -- and really, who could blame you? -- we're here to catch you up to speed. So let's get to some headlines.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Le destroys Franklin. Despite fighting injured, Cung Le stunned oddsmakers by flooring Rich Franklin with a right hook midway through the first round of UFC on FUEL 6's main event. Le pocketed $40,000 in bonus money for his work, while causing a sleeping west coast to wake up and shout admiring expletives about the violent finish they had just witnessed.
Silva submits Nedkov. Thiago Silva stormed back from early trouble to submit Stanislav Nedkov with an arm triangle choke in the final frame of the pair's co-main event bout. (Video.) The win marked Silva's first since 2009.
Kim dominates Thiago, calls for Maia rematch. Korean welterweight Dong Hyun Kim dominated Paulo Thiago over three rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. (Video.) After which, Kim called for a rematch against Demian Maia, whom he lost to via injury in July.
Tate: Rousey getting too much credit. Speaking to MMAWeekly Radio, former Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate emphasized that while her rival, Ronda Rousey, was the catalyst for the entry of women into the UFC, others ultimately played a bigger part.
Bellator 80 results. Joe Warren got back on the winning track and both Alexander Volkov and Rad Martinez advanced to their respective tournament finals on the main card of Bellator 80.
UFC.com hacker sentenced. Cosmo the God, the 15-year-old hacker who badgered UFC President Dana White and infiltrated UFC.com, was sentenced after being arrested by the FBI for his role in various cyber crimes. Although he avoided jail time due to his status as a minor, Cosmo has been placed on probation until his 21st birthday and is effectively banned from using the internet during that time.
Ed Soares' logic for Anderson Silva fighting GSP and not Jon Jones: "When you look at Anderson's stats, he's closer to Georges St-Pierre's stats [than Jones'] as far as size, as far as reach, as far as age, as far as everything."
Let's just go ahead and throw this into the 'Knockout of the Year' conversation right now.
Remember the Washington-based self-styled crimefighter Phoenix Jones, aka Ben Fodor, undefeated middleweight and bother of Strikeforce fighter Carlos Fodor? Well, this just happened.
"I was convinced the best Georges St-Pierre was behind me." - the welterweight champ reflecting on the past year in advance of his return at UFC 143.
Joe Vedepo fought Mike Bernhard (aka "El Gringo Diablo") on this weekend's Bellator 80 undercard, and I honestly don't know if I've ever seen a finish quite like this before. (Here's the entire event just for the hell of it, but the fight I'm talking about starts at 24:30.)
LE VS. FRANKLIN: THE ONLY WAY TO DESCRIBE IT
HOLY SHIT!!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) November 10, 2012
Vinny Magalhaes (@VinnyMMA) November 10, 2012
It was such an honor to fight @richfranklin who is one of theclassiest fighters I know.— Cung Le (@CungLe185) November 11, 2012
Spider Obama's Style hahaha twitter.com/SpiderAnderson…— Anderson Silva (@SpiderAnderson) November 11, 2012
Say a prayer for Brandon Melendez. (tuf 5) was stabbed last night and in critical condition— DaMarques Johnson (@DaMarques_UFC) November 11, 2012
ONE MORE WEEK
Healthy, Happy and Ready!! twitter.com/GeorgesStPierr…— Georges St-Pierre(@GeorgesStPierre) November 8, 2012
Announced over the weekend (Friday, November 9, 2012 - Sunday, November 11, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Josh Hall explain his case for: Why Rousey vs McMann Should be the First Women's UFC Fight
Just as UFC needed a star to emerge at their first event way back in 1993, the women's division will need the same to gain traction amongst the casual fans. Fortunately for the UFC, Ronda Rousey has done a lot of the necessary promotional work already. Her fight with Miesha Tate in Strikeforce (R.I.P.) was everything fans could have hoped for, and actually was a worthy companion to the months of pre-fight hype.
Putting Rousey in the first women's UFC fight is obvious. She already has built up a good sized fan base, is an Olympic medalist, and is the current 135 lb women's UFC champion (there is a sentence I never thought I would write a couple of years ago about any female fighter). The only real question that needs an answer is regarding her opponent.
The way I see it, there are only three viable options. You have the obvious choice in Christine "Cyborg" Santos. She is the most feared fighter in women's MMA, and the two have a prior history of verbal sparring online. This fight would sell, but in my opinion, the timing is not right. "Cyborg" is coming off a suspension after a positive test for stanozolol, and the first women's UFC fight will be a historic event. It is a big risk to try and sell the masses on women's MMA, and putting someone directly into a title fight post-suspension may not be the first impression they want to leave on fans.
The next option is the other female fighter signed by the UFC so far, ex-champion Miesha Tate. The war of words between the two was epic the first time around, and Tate has been far more competitive than any of Rousey's previous opponents. This is a viable option, but the two women are not far removed from their last fight, and Tate had a massive struggle before pulling off an epic comeback win against Julie Kedzie. The Rousey/Tate rematch will inevitably happen one day, but that is a better matchup further down the road.
The third and final option is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling Sara McMann. This fight is intriguing on many levels, and I believe is hands down the best option for Rousey's opponent in the first women's UFC fight. McMann's grappling credentials are off the charts, not only with her Olympic background but also a silver medal at the 2011 ADCC North American championships. Like Rousey, McMann carries an undefeated MMA record, making the title fight a slightly easier sell for casual fans than it would be otherwise.
Personally, I can think of no better fight to help legitimize women's MMA than the first American woman to medal in the Olympics in judo fighting the first American woman to medal in freestyle wrestling. These are two women who have already made history in their previous respective sports, and I say let them make UFC history together.
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.