Before UFC 108, Mike Chiapetta (then of NBC) stated that the worst shows on paper tend to deliver more than those people are anticipating. Last night proved him correct all these years later. UFC 133 wasn’t the card that people wanted, a fact made by the amount of fans and scalpers who were unloading tickets far below face value as the event drew closer. Originally planned to have two title fights, the card soon became a bastardized version of itself with Tito Ortiz saving the PPV by stepping in on short notice. Now a day later, let’s take a look at where the fighters and promotion go from here.
Rashad Evans: Besides getting a guaranteed title shot against the winner of Jon Jones vs Quinton Jackson, that was the best Rashad Evans I’ve ever seen. Before the event I stated that ring rust was not going to be a factor for him and it turned out that I was correct. He looked absolutely incredible and no matter who he fights for the title, I’m excited to see how much more he’ll improve with this new camp.
Tito Ortiz: He has no reason to hang his head. Yes, no one likes losing, but showing up on short notice and saving a doomed card takes cajones. This obviously won’t make his sternum hurt any less but this is the Tito Ortiz that everyone should remember. He did this for the fans and the promotion, forever the hero of the UFC. I would have preferred him retiring on the Bader win, but hopefully he walks away with dignity and gets to train up and coming fighters from now on.
Vitor Belfort: Shots to the back of the head aside, this was a great showing by the Phenom. At the post fight press conference he tried to make a case for another title shot against the winner of Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami. Dana White put the kibosh on that. Instead, I’d like to see him fight the winner of Mark Munoz and Chris Leben.
Yoshihiro Akiyama: He’s gotta drop down to welterweight. He looks so small against middleweights and his three fight losing streak shows he can’t compete. If he stays at 185, the only fight that really makes sense for anyone at this point is Akiyama vs Wanderlei Silva in Japan. And that’s if the promotion gives either fighter another shot.
Brian Ebersole: Thank you. Hopefully a fight with Mike Pierce is in your future.
Dennis Hallman: What were you thinking? There’s not much left for you in the UFC. I expect you to be cut.
Constantinos Philippou: Decent showing on short notice, but left a lot to be desired. Hand speed was slow and he looked gassed in the third. Maybe a fight with Ed Herman?
Jorge Rivera: I like Jorge but I really hope this is the last time we see him in the UFC. He is 39 years old and there’s nothing else for him to accomplish in his career.
Rory MacDonald: This kid is the future of the division and maybe even the sport. He’s looked great in his UFC career, including his loss to Condit. The UFC hasn’t thrown him to the wolves yet and with teammate Georges St. Pierre sitting at the top of 170, it may be tough to speed up his progress. Maybe a fight with Charlie Brenneman or Rick Story?
Mike Pyle: Back to the drawing board. Looked good early on but just couldn’t handle the better fighter. Many may disagree with this, but a fight with Thiago Alves makes sense in my mind. Alves has a name but is no longer the top welterweight we once believed. Or Paulo Thiago. Or even a returning Mike Swick.
Alexander Gustafsson: Kid is the future of 205. People are talking about Jon Jones and Phil Davis. Gustafsson has the physical tools to be a great 205er when he grows into his body. Maybe a returning Thiago Silva? Maybe Rich Franklin now? I dunno, but I like to see where he goes from here.
Matt Hamill: Looked awful. Won’t be cut but he’s not as good as the UFC tried to say he was. Maybe the winner of Vera/Marshall?
Chad Mendes: Title Shot against either Florian or Aldo. I like either match up and this kid has developed from a boring wrestler to a pretty complete fighter.
Rani Yahya: Probably the wrestling mats. Those shots were atrocious. He needs to figure out how to get a fight to the ground. Training with some wrestlers will help.
The Rest of the Card: Menjivar, Brown, Natal, and Hendricks live to fight another day. Nam Phan got jobbed again by the judges (should have been scored a draw), Paul Bradley probably gets cut, Pace and Pierce get another shot.
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