More Questions than Answers at UFC 167 (UFC 167 Review)

ufc_167On November 12, 1993 in front of 2,800 people a new sport would take its first step in the larger sports world. The event would be UFC 1 and would be the first event ever held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It would be a tournament made up of eight fighters from different martial arts disciplines to try to determine the greatest martial arts discipline in the world. In one night these eight fighters would look to win a tournament and become the first ever UFC champion. In the end it was the man 6’0” man dressed in a gi that would come out on top as Royce Gracie would be the first ever UFC Champion and would become part of something much bigger than anyone would have ever thought. When the UFC travelled to Denver, Colorado for their first ever event the tickets would barely sell as almost 3,000 people attended in an arena that held close to 17,000 people. It was a small beginning and was the true expression of a new underground sport that was nowhere near the prestige and understanding as Boxing. Little did anyone know that this would be the beginning to a sport that would go from fighting in front of 3,000 people to fighting in front of 55,000 people. It would go from selling the fight on a DVD to selling millions of Pay Per View rentals. From the small beginnings of UFC 1 the UFC has become one of the most popular sports in the world. It still sits outside of the mainstream sports world but it has made leaps towards the mainstream and with a network deal with FOX the UFC is nothing like it was in 1993 and as the UFC celebrates its 20th anniversary they are ready to show where the promotion has come. They would do this with a fight that would feature one of the greatest fighters to ever step into the octagon in Georges St. Pierre. It is widely considered that there are really only three fighters who can compete for the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC today and all three have ruled their divisions. One of those three would fall this year as Anderson Silva would lose his belt to Chris Weidman ending the most dominant reign of any UFC champion. That would leave Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. As good as Jones has been there is no longer any more dominant champion than Georges St. Pierre as he would come into the fight tied with Matt Hughes for the most wins in UFC history. He would go into his title defence looking to show that the time for dominant champions will continue as St. Pierre looked to clear out the division once again and take another step towards retirement with the belt around his waist. As dominant as he has been there is always the question to what can beat him as every fighter will eventually lose. The UFC continues to throw great fighters at GSP but this time the UFC would put the fighter that many believed could end the reign in front of the champion. Johny Hendricks would provide the biggest challenge for St. Pierre as he was the most well-rounded fighter St. Pierre would ever face and the most powerful fighter that St. Pierre would ever face. With one punch Hendricks could have ended the reign of GSP and prevented a record-breaking night. Meanwhile St. Pierre has taken every challenge and figured out a way to overcome it which is exactly what made him one of the greatest champions of all-time. It was an intriguing fight with many people believing this was the end to the reign of Georges St. Pierre but there was only one way to find out as both well-rounded fighters would square off in the octagon to determine the UFC Welterweight Championship. The fight would be as even as many had assumed with two fighters that had few weaknesses. Whether they were on the feet or standing both fighters would not give up much both looking comfortable standing and on the ground. As both fighters exchanged blows it was clear that Hendricks had the advantage in the power as he would do a lot more damage with his punches than St. Pierre. Everything that St. Pierre would do was punished by the challenger as he would make sure to do as much damage even in dangerous positions. The power of Hendricks would prove not to be enough though as the damage done to St. Pierre would not convince the judges that Hendricks had won. St. Pierre would retain the welterweight title in a shocking decision that surprised everyone as most people would see the fight as Hendricks’ and the first loss in a long time. After the fight St. Pierre would announce that he would be taking time off and go into semi-retirement due to personal reasons. With that announcement a rematch that would definitely be coming is now in doubt with a lot of questions still remaining. Whether the announcement was one made out of emotion or a legitimate retirement remains to be seen but the Welterweight division was left with more questions than answers after UFC 167.

The main event was a very important fight but it was not the only important fight of the night as the UFC would load the card with great matchups. In celebrating 20 years of fighting the UFC would make sure that this fight card would make an impact and they would get just that. The most important fight of the main card may have just been one between two fellow commentators and friends who would face off to determine the future of their careers. Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans spend the majority of their time together at the desk of Fox Sports where they breakdown the fights held on Fox Sports 1. They also train together as they travel from city to city to attend these events and have grown to become friends. That would not stop either from taking a fight against the other as they would put their friendship aside in hopes that they could continue to advance their careers in the UFC. For Rashad Evans it was a fight that would help him to move into a rematch with rival Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight title. It was also a way to prove that the old champion Rashad was back as he had become a bit of a head case recently and was not putting on the fights that he was known for. Now he would look to get his second win in a row and show that he is back on track and back to the fighter that won the Light Heavyweight title in 2008. For Chael Sonnen it was a chance to continue his run in two divisions as he would continue to fight former and current champions in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. If Sonnen were to get another shot at the Light Heavyweight title he would need to get through Rashad Evans and with only three fights remaining on what could be his last contract ever he was looking to get as many title shots as he can to ensure at least one belt in his trophy case. Both fighters had plenty to lose in this fight and they would go into the octagon with that in mind as they would come out ready to fight. With both fighters coming out hoping to earn a quick finish the fight would not last too long. With Rashad Evans controlling the fight the majority of the time he would take the fight to the ground and earn the TKO. With the loss Sonnen will likely continue to face big names but a title shot may be a little further away in the Light Heavyweight division. Rashad Evans would take the win and move one step closer to the light heavyweight title rematch but will likely need more fights to get there and earn that title shot.

 

Fight Bonuses

Submission of the Night
There were not a lot of submissions to choose from at UFC 167 but luckily the one submission on the night was a great one as Donald Cerrone would take home the $50,000 bonus for his Triangle Choke of Evan Dunham

Knockout of the Night
It was almost guarantees that Tyron Woodley would win this bonus as his KO of Josh Koscheck would end the string of decisions and would earn Woodley an extra $50,000 in a very important fight

Fight of the Night
It was the most controversial fight of the night and the main event but that did not mean that it wasn’t a good one as Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks would earn the $50,000 bonus for their efforts in the title fight

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre def. Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks [Welterweight Title]
(Split Decision)

Main Card:
“Suga” Rashad Evans def. Chael Sonnen
(TKO; Rd. 1)

“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler def. Rory “Ares” MacDonald
(Split Decision)

Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley def. Josh “Kos” Koscheck
(KO; Rd. 1)

Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov def. Tim Elliott
(Unanimous Decision)

Undercard:
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone def. Evan Dunham
(Submission; Triangle Choke, Rd. 2)

Thales Leites def. Ed “Short Fuse” Herman
(Unanimous Decision)

Rick “The Horror” Story def. Brian “Bad Boy” Ebersole
(Unanimous Decision)

Erik “Goyito” Perez def. Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa
(Unanimous Decision)

Jason “The Kansas City Bandit” High def. Anthony “The Recipe” Lapsley
(Unanimous Decision)

Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis def. Will Campuzano
(Unanimous Decision)

Gian Villante def. Cody “Donnybrook” Donovan
(TKO; Rd. 2)

 

Upcoming Events

TUF 18 Finale: Maynard vs. Diaz (Saturday November 30th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: Gray “The Bully” Maynard vs. Nate Diaz
Notable: TUF Women’s Championship [Matchup to be Determined]
Notable: TUF Men’s Bantamweight Championship [Matchup to be Determined]

UFC Fight Night 32: Hunt vs. Silva (Friday December 6th; 9:00 pm ET)
Brisbane, Australia (Brisbane Entertainment Centre)
Main Event: Mark “Super Samoan”Hunt vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
Notable: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. James Te Huna
Notable: Pat “HD” Barry vs. Soa “The Hulk” Palelei

UFC on Fox 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez (Saturday December 14th; 8:00 pm ET)
Sacramento, California (Sleep Train Arena)
Main Event: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez [Flyweight Title]
Notable: “The California Kid” Urijah Faber vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald
Notable: Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs. Matt “The Immortal” Brown

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