I went into UFC 163 not exactly expecting that much. Name value on the card was sorely lacking outside of the top two fights, and there wasn't any indication beforehand that the event was going to be wall-to-wall action. So now that the event's over, did it exceed my admittedly low expectations? Not really. It was an average event with some blowouts, some slow fights, and a surprise or two. The surprises fell on both sides of the fence, which I'll get to below. But honestly, there's not exactly a glut of winners that I'm going to have to narrow down here. Only one person truly stood out, and he wasn't even fighting.
Jose Aldo - Was it a vintage Aldo performance? Not even close. Breaking his foot with the first kick of the fight was probably the reason with that, along with an unusually timid Zombie. But Aldo still clearly won every round of that fight and there was no point in the bout where Jung looked to be turning it around. There's still no doubt that he's the best 145er in the world. A laundry list of featherweight challengers along with a possible move to 155 add some intrigue to Aldo's situation in the near future. But as for last night, he simply did enough to get the job done.
Anthony Perosh - If there is anyone in the world that predicted The Hippo by TKO in the first minute, that person should go buy a lottery ticket. It might have seemed like a long night for Perosh - after all, 14 seconds is twice as long as his last fight. But it's pretty amazing that a 40-year-old (most sites list him as 41, he insists he's only 40) BJJ guy is now 4-1 as a light heavyweight in the UFC. It might be a bigger feel-good story if he was American, but whatever. I've never heard anyone ever say a bad word about Perosh, and I'm happy he's getting some props and recognition.
Ian McCall - Uncle Creepy's so much fun to watch and he's a little ball of charisma, but I really wish he would just fight a little smarter. He apparently broke his hand so it might explain some of his actions, but his insistence on returning fire whenever he gets tagged is something he really needs to rein in. On the other hand, the man just picked up his first UFC win and got a FOTN bonus check. He might not have been all that happy with his performance, but he's clearly one of the few winners on the card.
Brian Stann - I was never a big supporter of Stann during his fight career, and honestly didn't think his slick Fuel analyst work would carry over to the announce booth all that well. I was wrong. Stann was on point all night and did a seriously excellent job in his first go as a color commentator. He didn't over-emphasize things, he didn't go on tangents, and he did a great job of being honest without sounding biased. I think he has a bright future in that job and I hope he gets another shot soon. A three-man booth with Goldberg and Rogan might be an interesting experiment for a card in the near future.
Chan Sung Jung - I seriously wonder whether the Korean Zombie came in with a pre-existing injury and just didn't tell anyone. He did the same thing with the Poirier fight, but he certainly wasn't conservative there. In this fight, he didn't fight like he normally does at all. I respect gameplans and all that but if your style brought you to the table, it'd make sense to stick with what works at least some of the time. The injury sucks and he's a warrior for trying to pop his shoulder back in and continue fighting, but I feel like I didn't see the real KZ in there last night. That might hurt his divisional standing more than a potential injury layoff.
Lyoto Machida - Look, it's pretty clear to me that Machida won that fight. He outstruck Davis standing in all three rounds and landed the harder shots. Giving up two takedowns in the last 30 seconds of a round, especially where one led to absolutely no offense from the person on top, shouldn't negate four minutes of fairly solid work. I refuse to prop Davis up as a winner, but it should probably be noted that Machida's style does him no favors with judges. A little more offensive output might cement more rounds for him and keep him away from these types of issues more often. But in the end, the loss is a huge hit to Machida's standing at 205 and that's why he's on the loser's list.
Vinny Magalhaes - Wow. Just wow. The man totally disrespects his opponent in the lead-up to the fight, and says that he should be released if he can't being a guy like Perosh. Then he gets dusted in fourteen seconds. Yes, he probably would have been released after that dismal performance. Instead, he made a show of leaving his gloves in the cage, signaling that he's probably going to retire. Are we really supposed to make a big deal out of a 10-7 fighter with zero signature wins choosing to hang 'em up? I sure hope not.
Rani Yahya - I don't really care if he won his fight with Josh Clopton. It just seems like Yahya doesn't really care all that much about MMA at times. He hasn't really improved much about his MMA game in the last few years other than turning into an average striker. We all know he's a fantastic grappler and he proved it by getting to dominant positions with ease over the first 10 minutes. But once he got there, what did he do? Nothing. There was no urgency to finish at all, and that had nothing to do with Clopton's defense. It just seemed like he was going through the motions, and that's extremely frustrating to watch. Don't talk about title shots if you don't even have the motivation to submit Josh Clopton.
Chris Watts - I rarely rag on individual judges because it just gets tired. But how in the world did Watts give the third round of Machida/Davis to the American? I don't agree with Davis getting the nod from the other two judges in rounds 1 and 2 either, but at least there's a case for it if you're in love with takedowns. Davis didn't take Machida down in the third though, and he was outstruck. How the hell can you justify awarding the round to him then? Davis himself thinks he won the third, but I cannot understand the logic in that assertion. It's ridiculous. Watts is admittedly a decent judge if you review the record, but this particular scorecard was indefensible in my eyes.