Title Pictures Form in Newark (UFC on FOX 15 Review)

ufc_on_fox15The UFC returned to Newark, New Jersey with plenty of important fights on the card as a number of fighters looked to move towards the title in their respective divisions.

As the main card began the importance of the fights was on full display as two fighters in the UFC’s newest division faced off.

The fight was important for the fact that the strawweight division is one of the most unpredictable divisions in the UFC with fighters continuing to surprise everyone and top contenders continuing to drop off.

The division is full of great veterans and young up and comers and so far the young fighters have taken over and have been slowly eliminating the old guard from Invicta.

One of the most promising young fighters has been Paige VanZant who only had five fights under her belt as she went into UFC on FOX 15.

She had impressed in her UFC debut when there was nobody talking about her and after that fight she immediately became the next star of the UFC.

Of course she needed more wins if she was going to fight for the title and she got her next fight against one of the trailblazers in women’s MMA.

Felice Herrig had spent years as a kickboxer and had put together a 10-5 record heading into her second UFC fight after spending time at the top of Invicta.

Herrig came into the fight ranked #8 and many thought that she could make a case for a title shot after Joanne Calderwood lost last weekend leaving no proven fighters left for strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

She just had to do what every veteran fighter has not been able to do so far in the strawweight division, beat a young promising fighter.

It has been the theme of the division since the start as even Jedrzejczyk was unknown before beating the former Invicta champion Carla Esparza.

With that in mind the veteran took on the 21-year-old VanZant in a fight that was going to go a long way to determining the future of the division.

The fight itself was what the strawweight division has been known for since it was created in the UFC, constant action.

Both fighters continued to try submissions and exchange on the feet but through all of the strikes and the wrestling VanZant seemed to be doing more and taking advantage.

The veteran seemed overpowered by the young up and comer as the pace was too much for Herrig and VanZant took another win in the UFC.

The fight was another impressive showing for the 21-year-old and the hype continues to grow around her.

She may not get a title shot immediately but there is plenty in her first two fights to show that VanZant might be the next champion of the strawweight champion and may only need one more impressive fight to get to that title.

For Herrig the loss was not the way that she wanted to try to make her impression on the UFC and she becomes just the latest veteran to fall to the new breed of strawweight fighters that are taking over the weight class.

The strawweights were not the only fighters looking to take advantage of the stage and change their division.

The middleweight division had three fighters with a chance to be the next challenge to Chris Weidman’s belt.

With Weidman set to take on Vitor Belfort there is a gap as to who can be the fighter that can move up and wait for the winner.

Heading into the fight it was Ronaldo Souza who had that position as the #1 contender in the middleweight division.

All he had to do was win his fight and he would stay standing as the top contender of the division and wait for the winner of Weidman-Belfort.

That fight matched him against a familiar foe as he took on Chris Camozzi, a last-minute replacement, in their second fight.

The first time these two faced off it was a win for Souza who submitted Camozzi in the first round and now it was time for Camozzi to try to take some revenge after taking the fight on one week’s notice.

As both faced off it Souza came in much more careful while Camozzi was clearly ready to throw with Souza.

That turned out not to be the best strategy as Camozzi ate some big shots early in the first round before the fight went to the mat.

Souza then dominated on the ground and proved that he is one of the best BJJ practitioners in the world.

It wasn’t long after the fight hit the mat that Souza passed to side control and eventually finished the fight with an armbar in the first round.

It was another bad showing by Camozzi against Souza but the fact that he took the fight on short notice means he will likely not fall too far in the division.

The win by Souza all but guarantees he will get a title shot after the Weidman-Belfort fight next month.

With that fight the main event became a practice in lining up behind Souza for a title shot as the #2 fighter in Lyoto Machida took on the #4 fighter, Luke Rockhold.

If either could win impressively they may very well jump Souza for a title shot but they were more likely fighting for a better place in line.

The fight saw Rockhold take the early advantage in the stand up and eventually getting the fight to the ground where he held control throughout the first round.

The second round was much the same but this time Rockhold made sure h didn’t let it go to another round.

Rockhold sunk in a rear naked choke to finish Machida and take the big win that is sure to move him up the rankings.

Machida took the loss and will once again have to go back through more fights if he wants to get back to the title conversation.

Rockhold took the win and could compete with Souza for a title shot but will likely have to wait for Souza to get his shot before he earns a title shot.

UFC on FOX was a success for three fighters while the others had to take losses and return to the drawing board.

The winners got the chance to prove that they belong in the title conversation and now it goes down to the matchmakers to figure out who belongs as the title challengers.



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