Flip the belt to the other guy and we have a terrific promo photo. - Victor Decolongon
Talking the amazingly stacked UFC 155 card and how the next two months are but a prelude to it.
An astonishing seven fights at UFC 155 feature fighters firmly within the top ten or top five in their division. UFC 154 may have the bigger stars in Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit, but right now, UFC 155 is on paper the best card the UFC has ever put on. It beats UFC 100 - although maybe not in eventual PPV buys - UFC 129, which had GSP and Aldo defending their titles, UFC 92, which was astoundingly stacked and UFC 144, still the best event of this past year.
At the very top of UFC 155, we have Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, the two best heavyweights (that have not had drug testing problems) battling for the championship. Long ago, I predicted that Cain and Two Saints would trade off the heavyweight title for years to come. The addition (and temporary subtraction) of Alistair Overeem in the mix makes for a terrific merry-go-round that could entertain us for years to come. This is the type of heavyweight fight that combat sports fans should be salivating over.
In the next bout, Phil Davis, who is at worst the sixth or seventh best LHW, battles Forrest Griffin, who is a former champion and still one of the fifteen best LHWs out there. Fans may be down on Davis for losing to Rashad Evans so badly before, but keep in mind that Mr. Wonderful has been in this sport for four years, while Rashad had eight at the time they fought. The bounce back with the extremely dominant performance against Wagner Prado was very fun to watch. Forrest may be a surly grump, but the man can still fight. This is the fight to see if Forrest can still get back to the higher echelons of the "new" LHW division that has sprung up after Forrest lost his title to Rashad. Given Davis's lack of KO power and Forrest's undeniable ground skills, I think this is a far more interesting match than most people give it credit for.
Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch are matching up in a title eliminator for the chance to fight Anderson Silva - although with the shuffling around of title contenders lately, a win here might not be a guarantee, but it makes for a strong, strong case. Weidman has undergone perhaps the best prospect-to-fighter transformation since Jon Jones and could get even better in the next couple of years. Boetsch the Barbarian has experienced a career resurgence at MW and his knockout of Yushin Okami is perhaps the finest example of the "down two rounds, make something happen" philosophy in the UFC.
Seeing Gray Maynard vs. Joe Lauzon, Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami, Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland and Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas on the card is like having warmed up real maple syrup on my fight pancakes. The other four fights are solid, but are not as divisionally important and we can call those the hash browns and bacon of this delicious, delicious combat sports meal. This could be the card of the year, despite multiple strong contenders for that honor already being in the books.
Too bad it's two months away. I can make do with Franklin vs. Le and the Asian prospects, watch the return of the welterweight king at 154, and roll with the crazy at Lombard vs. Palhares, but I'm salivating for JDS vs. Cain.