With the start of July the MMA world anxiously awaiting the re-match between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in less than two weeks, the landscape of many title pictures has been significantly shifted.
Many of the cards that took place in June caught some heat for being weak, but due to the countless injuries that have plagued so many fighters, it appears as if the Fall season will host many more important fights as opposed to Summer, which was the plan. Despite the shallow cards, when main event rolls around during a major MMA card, the excitement level is unmatched.
I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if right off the bat, I didn’t note the retirement of the greatest heavyweight of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, from MMA. After a dominant victory over former UFC title contender Pedro Rizzo at last week’s M-1 event, Fedor announced his retirement from the sport. For a decade, Fedor was unbeatable, dominating everyone within the ranks of PRIDE, Affliction, and M1. While he is certainly in the discussion of being the greatest of all time, I feel as if his quality of opponents, and failure to transition to the UFC will hinder his position in the future.
Two more legends of the sport, Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva squared off in a rematch at UFC 147 from Brazil. This fight was a perfect example why older, veteran fighters shouldn’t be taken out back and shot after losing a couple of fights. An exciting fight, with a main-event feel to it, Franklin was able to use superior footwork to earn a decision victory. Silva nearly finished Franklin in the second round, but exhausted himself while failing to do so, setting up three rounds of dominance from Franklin.
The tournament for UFC’s inaugural Flyweight champion finally found a finalist in June, as well. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, a former UFC Bantamweight title contender, took on Ian McCall in a rematch, as their first fight was ruled a draw after a major scoring controversy. Johnson, however, controlled the majority of the second fight with relative ease, and will now be facing Joseph Benavidez in the tournament final later this year.
Gray Maynard was able to keep his name among the top contenders for the UFC lightweight title, after spending the past two years chasing it. Taking on a top lightweight in Clay Guida, Maynard became visibly frustrated when Guida used footwork to stay away from him. Fans were quick to jump on Guida, accusing him of ‘running’, or ‘being scared’ of Maynard, apparently forgetting Guida has won six fight of the night, and two submission of the night awards. Maynard, however, has not stopped a fight in nearly six years, but Guida’s late round inactivity led to a huge Maynard win.
Fabricio Werdum also notched another big victory, beating the previously 15-1 Mike Russow, who was undefeated in four UFC bouts. Nobody gave Russow much of a chance, and Werdum did exactly what he should have, to a much less skilled opponent. After the fight, Werdum called out champion Junior Dos Santos, who is slated to defend his title against Cain Velasquez this year.
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