Impressive night in Texas (UFC Fight Night 57 Review)

ufc_fn57The UFC is a tough business to be in and it is a lot more than just the path that people have to climb to make their way up to a spot where they can live comfortably. It is about trying to stay as one of the top fighters in the UFC for an extended periods of time. Moving up in the rankings is hard enough in the UFC as fighters have to navigate the minefield that is the fight game. Anything can happen and anything can derail a fighter’s move up the rankings. An injury suffered in a fight could do anything from end a career to give the fighter a month-long medical suspension. That injury may not happen in the fight though as even in training fighters can see their career end or a fight cancelled. Too many of these smaller injuries and a career can be finished after too many cancelled fights. Even a loss can be devastating as a fighter can be moving up the rankings only to lose one fight and drop far down to rankings forcing them to start all over again. It is a very dangerous line to walk as you not only need to win but you need to win exciting and yet not be too reckless to get knocked out or caught in a submission. Only the best of the best can stay on top for a long time and many have to find different ways to do just that. Frankie Edgar is one of those fighters as he is one of the best fighters in the UFC and has been one of the best fighters since he joined the promotion in 2007. He rose through the lightweight division winning six of his first seven fights. That earned him a title shot against BJ Penn in 2010, which he won with a unanimous decision. So started the reign of Frankie Edgar in a time when the lightweight division was becoming the most talented division in the UFC. The only problem for Edgar was that he was one of the smaller lightweight fighters and the bigger fighters were eventually going to wear on him. That happened in 2012 when Benson Henderson beat him for the title. A rematch was no better and Edgar was in a tough spot as he remained a great fighter but was not going to come easy to another title shot. Instead he decided to remain on top by switching weight divisions and dropping to featherweight. That move in weight classes gave Edgar an immediate title fight against Jose Aldo, one that Edgar would lose. Despite the loss Edgar made sure he stamped his mark as one of the best fighters in the lighter weight classes. He was looking to keep his standing among the best in the division at UFC Fight Night 57 when he took on Cub Swanson in a fight that would go a long way to determining the next top contender in the division. It was going to be easier said than done as Swanson was himself looking to get to the top of the division after rattling off six straight wins heading into the fight. As Edgar looked to keep his time at the top going Swanson was trying to stay there after recently putting himself in the top. Both were ready to face-off with similar styles but different attitudes. Edgar is a technical striker with a wrestling base that tends to win in decisions. Swanson is a much more aggressive striker with a Jiu-Jitsu base who loves to finish fights anywhere. Both fighters came into the fight looking to take it to different ends. Swanson wanted it standing where he could use his creative striking to knockout Edgar while Edgar was looking to grind things out on the ground. The fight started with a clear division of those strategies as Edgar tried to get the takedown and Swanson tried to avoid it. The first two round saw Edgar get the takedown while the second saw Edgar grind out an entire round on top staying busy enough and not giving the referee a reason to stand them up. That is how the fight continued as Swanson realized just how hard it was to stop Edgar from the takedown. He continued to be taken to the mat with Edgar unleashing ground and pound. Eventually Edgar wore Swanson down and in the fifth and final round Edgar locked in a rear naked choke to end the fight. It was a complete win by Edgar who proved that he remains one of the best fighters in the UFC. For Swanson it was his first loss in a very long time and he will need to take the lessons from the loss to work out the kinks. He will not fall too far behind but will need to get back to winning impressively if he hopes to get a title fight. Edgar could be one his way to a title fight after beating the #2 fighter in the division as a rematch with Aldo is likely in the future.

The lightweight division was in the house once again at UFC Fight Night 57 as the co-main event featured two fighter trying to make their way through the most talented division in the UFC. Bobby Green represented the new fighter trying to continue to make an impression in the weight division. He has been the exception to the rule in the lightweight division as he has risen quickly through the ranks. He has become the #7 fighter in only four fights in the UFC which is not an easy thing to do in the division. His opponent at UFC Fight Night 57 has had a much more typical path in the division. Edson Barboza has remained in the rankings for the majority of his time in the UFC. That has come largely because he is one of the most exciting lightweights in the UFC. Loving to finish fights and finish fights in a big way, Barboza has made a name for himself and yet has never climbed the ladder far enough to earn a title fight. Since entering the UFC in 2010 Barboza has been a part of some of the most exciting finishes in UFC history but seems to lose his most important fights that would put him over the hump and into the title conversation. Now he had a chance to start another run at the title after losing to Donald Cerrone earlier in the year and following it up with a TKO win over Evan Dunham four months ago. If he could add to that win with a big finish against the #7 fighter in the division he is sure to move up and continue this new run that he has just started. Green meanwhile was looking for a chance to continue his rise up the rankings and earn serious consideration in the title hunt. Both faced off with the same though in mind, they wanted a finish. They were ready to do just that in any way possible whether it be by submission or on the feet.  As the fight started it was clear that Green wanted to get into a brawl and unleash his hands to earn the KO. That is exactly what Barboza was trying to avoid as he remained on the outside with a good reach advantage. Barboza remained on the outside while stopping to unleash a big punch or a big kick every now and then. The small pockets of offence were enough to stun Green and bloody him. It was clear that throughout the fight Barboza was getting his way sticking and moving while staying out of the range of Green. That was reflected in the judge’s decision as Barboza took the win via unanimous decision. It was Green’s first loss in four fights and is sure to set him back but if he can come back with big wins and finishes he will be back in the title conversation soon enough. For Barboza it was his best win yet and he will move into the top 10 in the division. He is likely one or two fights away from a title shot if he can continue to win and win impressively against better fighters.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
Frankie Edgar made a statement at UFC Fight Night 57 with a dominant performance that earned him a Performance of the Night Bonus for his submission of Cub Swanson in the latest finish in UFC history

Performance of the Night
Any time that the heavyweights enter the octagon a bonus is not far away and that was true again when Oleksiy Oliynyk earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his knockout of Jared Rosholt after looking out on his feet earlier in the fight

Fight of the Night
The Women’s Strawweight title has yet to be determined but the division is making its mark already as Paige VanZant and Kailin earned a Fight of the Night with VanZant taking the win with a third round KO

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Frankie “The Answer” Edgar def. “Killer” Cub Swanson
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 5)

Main Card:
Edson “Junior” Barboza def. Bobby “King” Green
(Unanimous Decision)

Chico “The King” Camus def. Brad “One Punch” Pickett
(Split Decision)

Oleksiy “The Boa Constrictor” Oliynyk def. Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt
(KO; Rd. 1)

Joseph “The Beefcake” Benevides def. Dustin Ortiz
(Unanimous Decision)

“Handsome” Matt Wiman def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
(Unanimous Decision)

Undercard:
Ruslan “Leopard” Magomedov def. Joshua “Cuddly Bear” Copeland
(Unanimous Decision)

Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez def. Luke “The Bigslow” Barnatt
(Majority Decision)

James “The Texicutioner” Vick def. Ryan Hinds
(Unanimous Decision)

Akbar “El Caballero” Arreola def. Yves “Thugjistu Master” Edwards
(Submission; Armbar, Rd. 1)

“12 Guage” Paige VanZant def. Kailin Curran
(TKO; Rd. 3)

Doo Ho “The Korean Super Boy” Choi def. Juan Manuel “Fenix” Puig
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II (Saturday, December 8th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)
Main Event: Johnny “Bigg rig” Hendricks vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler [Welterweight Title]
Notable: Anthony “Showtime” Pettis vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez [Lightweight Title]
Notable: Travis “Hapa” Browne vs. Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub

The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale (Friday, December 12th; 9:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (The Pearl at the Palms Casino)
Main Event: TBD at conclusion of TUF 20 [Women’s Strawweight Title]
Notable: Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira
Notable: Joe Proctor vs. Yancy “The Kid” Medeiros

UFC on FOX 13: Dos Santos vs. Miocic (Saturday, December 13th; 8:00 pm ET)
Phoenix, Arizona (U.S. Airways Center)
Main Event: Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic
Notable: Nate Diaz vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Notable: Alistair “The Reem” Overeem vs. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve

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