Middleweight Moving Day in Brazil (UFC Fight Night 36 Review)

ufc_fn362013 was a big year for the middleweight division in the UFC as the division ruled by the most dominant champion in UFC history would finally see a change. Anderson Silva would fall not once but twice to Chris Weidman meaning that the middleweight division would have a new champion for the first time since 2006. That would set the scene for the New Year as the division went from one of the most stable to one of the least stable in one fight. After Weidman defended his belt and was proven to be the champion by beating the best fighter in the world twice the division’s rankings were immediately in flux. For years Anderson Silva had cleaned out the division with the top fighters from the division losing to him multiple times and being caught in a wasteland of the division. They were clearly not good enough for a title shot but too good to fight the low ranked fighters and so they were caught between rising star and title contender. When Chris Weidman won the belt all of the fighters that had lost to Silva but were still ranked high were immediately given a bit of a second chance. They now had a fighter that many had not faced in the title spot and had a better shot of earning another shot, although it will not be easy beating the man who beat Anderson Silva, as they would now be able to face a new opponent with no record against them. So the division was thrown into a different position with the top fighters now jockeying for position to get that next title shot. Vitor Belfort will get the first shot at Weidman as the Brazilian who fought and lost to Anderson Silva twice will get another shot at the title with the new man at the top of the mountain. After Belfort the title contender has yet to be determined but at UFC Fight Night 36 that would be figured out. There were two big middleweight fights for Fight Night 36 as some of the best middleweights in the world were set to face off and an impressive showing could very well earn them the title shot against the winner of Weidman-Belfort. The main event would feature one of these fights as Lyoto Machida would take his shot at earning a title shot in his new weight class. After switching from Light Heavyweight to Middleweight Machida would immediately make an impression as the veteran UFC fighter would earn a KO against Mark Munoz to open his middleweight career. Now he would take on another MMA veteran in former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi who has fought since 2003 and entered the UFC last year with a unanimous decision over Ilird Latifi. Both fighters have been through everything in the world of MMA and both have developed into well-rounded fighters. Both fighters are known for their counter-punching ways as Mousasi started his career as a kickboxer while Machida is a well-known Shotokan Karate black belt. Both of these backgrounds have made these fighters great in the stand-up game but neither would ignore the ground game though as they developed into complete fighters and would take that to become two of the best fighters in the middleweight division. Now they would face off for the chance to fight for the title but would have to impress the UFC to get that shot. The five round fight would be a display of why many believe that Machida belongs in the middleweight division. It was mainly a stand up fight between the two but it was Machida that was doing whatever he wanted on the feet. Mousasi was just outmatched and it was evident in the scores when the judges would give Machida 50-45 scores for the unanimous decision win. The loss for Mousasi means he stays out of the top 10 in the division and will need to do a lot more work if he hopes to move up the rankings and earn a title shot. Lyoto Machida would take the win and although he could not finish the fight he was impressively dominant in his second middleweight fight. He will take the win and await the winner of the title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.

The main event was not the only big event for the middleweight division as two up and coming fighters would take their shot at impressing the UFC. Francis Carmont and Ronaldo Souza are both ranked in the top 10 of the division and would carry 5-fight winning streaks into Fight Night 36. Both have been very impressive in their UFC careers with both looking like the next UFC middleweight champions. Francis Carmont comes out of the Tri-Star gym in Montreal, home to the former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, and has used that gym to become a very dangerous fighter. Meanwhile Ronaldo Souza is considered the best BJJ fighter in the division and possibly in the UFC. He has 5 World Championships in BJJ but has recently let his hands go and has become a great striker. That makes him even more dangerous as he has the best ground game in the division but now is becoming a KO artist. Carmont is no slouch on the feet either with 6 Kos in his career along with 10 submission wins. It was a matchup of two fighters that had been waiting for their time to come into their own and were one impressive win away from earning a title shot in the middleweight division. The fight would be a display of the talents of Souza more than the talents of Carmon though. Francis Carmont clearly had worked on his ground game in preparation for the fight as he would show a new level to submission defence that he had not shown before. The fact that he had a lot of time to show this new defence was the problem though as Souza would choose to show that his BJJ was still there and would take the fight to the ground. While on the ground Souza would go after multiple submission attempts looking to end the fight early Carmont would not let that happen though as he would see himself in some very tight submissions but would get out and live to see the end of the fight. It was fairly obvious who had won the fight as Carmont only took control for a part of the second round but other than that was playing defence more than offence. Souza would take the unanimous decision win but it was not an extremely impressive one as he would not finish the fight like he had done in his past five fights. As a result a title shot is likely not going to be his next fight but he is not far away from getting that shot as one more fight might do it for him. Meanwhile Francis Carmont would take the loss for the first time in the UFC and will look to get back as he may have lost but he did impress and could be in the title conversation soon. UFC Fight Night 36 would figure a lot out about the middleweight division as the next contender has been found and rising stars have shown what they have for the future of a very interesting weight class.

 

Fight Bonuses:

Performance of the Night
The new bonus system will take away knockout of the night in place of performance of the night but that would not stop Erick Silva from picking up the bonus for his first round KO of Takenori Sato

Performance of the Night
Charles Oliviera would end the pattern of decisions on the night when he would earn a performance of the night bonus for his submission of Andy Ogle in the third round of the first fight of the main card

Fight of the Night
The main event would pick up the Fight of the Night bonus as Lyoto Machida would beat Gegard Mousasi in a dominant but entertaining matchup to end the night in Brazil by giving both fighters an extra $50,000

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida def. Gegard Mousasi
(Unanimous Decision)

Main Card:
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Francis “Limitless” Carmont
(Unanimous Decision)

Erick Silva def. Takenori Sato
(KO, Rd. 1)

Nico Musoke def. Viscardi Andrade
(Unanimous Decision)

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira def. Andy “Little Axe” Ogle
(Submission; Triangle Choke, Rd. 3)

Undercard:
Joe Proctor def. Cristiano Marcello
(Unanimous Decision)

Rodrigo Damm def. Ivan Jorge
(Unanimous Decision)

Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo def. Jesse “The Body Snatcher” Ronson
(Split Decision)

Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara def. Wilson Reis
(Split Decision)

Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes def. Maximo “Maxi” Blanco
(Unanimous Decision)

Ildemar “Marajo” Alcantara def. Albert “Einstein” Tumenov
(Split Decision)

Zubaira “Warrior” Tikhugov def. Douglas “D-Silva” Silva de Andrade
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann (Saturday February 22nd; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vega, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann [Women’s Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Daniel “DC” Cormier vs. Patrick “Durkin” Cummins
Notable: Rory “Ares” MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

TUF China Finale: Kim vs. Hathaway (Saturday March 1st; 8:00 am ET)
Cotai, Macau (CotaiArena)
Main Event: Dong “Stun Gun” Hyun Kim vs. John “The Hitman” Hathaway
Notable: Wang Sai vs. Zhang Lipeng [TUF China Welterweight Championship]
Notbale: Yang Jiangping vs. Ning Guangyou [TUF China Featherweight Championship]

UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa (Saturday March 8th; 3:00 pm ET)
London, England (The O2 Arena)
Main Event: Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson vs. Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa
Notable: Michael “The Menace” Johnson vs. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard
Notable: Brad “One Punch” Pickett vs. Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall

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