Last week I wrote that Chris Weidman was a year away from contending for the middleweight championship. I was dead wrong. Weidman's utter and total domination of Mark Munoz tonight silenced any doubt I had about the 28 year-old New York native.
Comparisons are already being drawn to Jon Jones, and honestly it's hard to disagree. Like Jones, Weidman has learned the game at a scary rate. Like Jones, Weidman is one of the most athletic men in his weight class. And like Jones, Weidman is rising up the ranks at a meteoric pace.
Based on talent alone, Chris Weidman is the no. 1 contender at 185 pounds. Honestly, I'd take him to beat Anderson Silva in a title fight. The reason being is his wrestling ability, and Anderson's lack thereof.
Weidman's take-downs are on the level of Chael Sonnen's, and I find it highly doubtful that Weidman will commit a critical error like Chael in a fight against Silva. A cautious Chris Weidman who makes the fight a wrestling match can beat the Spider.
If I was UFC referee Josh Rosenthal, I wouldn't expect any Christmas cards this year from Mark Munoz. There is letting a fight go to long, and then there is doing what Josh Rosenthal did.
Mark Munoz did his best Matt Lindland impression and received at the very least, ten unnecessary blows. There is no defending Rosenthal here. Munoz wasn't just not intelligently defending himself, he WASN'T defending himself. Josh Rosenthal usually does a fine job of refereeing, but he didn't tonight.
The second most impressive performance of the night for me was Rafael Dos Anjos's decision victory over Anthony Njokuani. He continues to impress me from fight to fight, and I think he'll be able to make a run in the lightweight division. He has the potential to make to the tier of lightweights below the elite.
Anthony Njokuani has some of the best stand-up in the lightweight division, and Dos Anjos was able to out-class him tonight on the feet. Evading the majority of Njokuani's significant strikes, Dos Anjos relied on a heavy mixture of leg kicks and his power left to win the stand-up. He also exhibited great strength with his take-downs throughout the fight.
The stand-up of Dos Anjos is good, but I think he can make it great if he adds a third weapon to it. The reason being is that his power left becomes relatively predictable throughout the fight, and if he mixes it up with another strike that isn't his leg kicks, he will be able to win a few knockout of the night bonuses in the future.
Earlier mikser wrote a great fanpost about the unreliable statistics in MMA. False statistics were showered all over tonight's broadcast. One of the major ones occurring in the Dos Anjos/Njokuani fight. During the second round, UFC showed a stat that stated Dos Anjos had landed 20 leg kicks up to that point.
I decided to question that statistic, and re-watched the fight multiple times up to that point while recording Dos Anjos' leg kicks. What I found is that he landed only eight leg kicks out of the eleven that he threw. It's understandable to be incorrect, but to be so incorrect that you nearly doubled the correct amount of leg kicks in a statistic is beyond stupid.
The bottom line is that we are a long away from having accurate statistics in MMA. The reason why statistics are valuable in sports is they because provide an objective perspective in a subjective environment, and the problem with MMA stats is that it is subjective.
It's difficult to tell which strikes landed, and it's easy to miss them in a combination. Not to mention the idea of differentiating between significant strikes and regular strikes. It's a process that needs a lot of work, and shouldn't be exposed to a national audience until it is perfect.
Two consecutive UFC events, two consecutive Team Alpha Male first round victories. TJ Dillashaw submission victory over Vaughn Lee showcased his wrestling ability and relentlessness.
Vaughn Lee will be kicking himself about this fight for a while. He was easily winning the stand-up, but he over-committed in an exchange which lead to him being taken down and finished. Had Lee been cautious with his strikes by popping in and out of pocket and scoring points, he probably would have gotten his hand-raised tonights.
But probably means nothing in Mixed Martial Arts. Once Dillashaw got a hold of Lee, he never let go, until the referee pulled him off. Dillashaw showed that he has a menacing ground game, and with improvement in the stand-up area of his arsenal, he can be a formidable bantamweight.
Also on the main card, Francis Carmont garnered another UFC victory against Karlos Vemola. Carmont won this fight because of his calm attitude and patience. He weathered the storm that was Vemola's guillotine attempts, and Carmont methodically submitted Vemola in the second round with a choke.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a few of the Facebook prelims which were quite memorable.
The most memorable fight of them all was the one between Andrew Craig and Rafael Natal. After nearly losing the fight and being dominated, Craig knocked out Natal with a come-from-behind head kick that will make this year's highlight reel. Craig isn't a world beater, but he is a scrapper that can sustain himself in the UFC with his heart and durability.
Bruce Leeroy (Alex Caceres) was put on his back throughout most of the fight against Damacio Page, but he didn't falter. In fact, he thrived. After multiple submission attempts from the bottom, Caceres finally was able to submitted Page with a triangle choke in the second round. The continual improvement of Bruce Leeroy is a great sign for the bantamweight and the UFC because he is a charismatic and entertaining fighter.
Despite actually winning, Marcelo Guimaraes was a loser tonight. Ranked in No. 2 in the 2012 World MMA Scouting Report, Guimaraes was expected to run through Dan Stittgen, but he did anything but that. Winning a split decision over Stittgen in a rather lackluster fight, the stock of Marcelo Guimaraes took a big hit tonight.
Although not many people tuned in for tonight UFC on Fuel event, it's memory may live on in retrospect as the event that Chris Weidman as one of the top fighters in the world.