I planned on writing a similar post-mortem for “the biggest event in UFC history” that went down this past weekend, but last night’s non-PPV card was much better than UFC 148.
These things happen pretty often in MMA and are the main reason that I try to catch every card – though the PPV names are much larger, that doesn’t guarantee an entertaining card. And save for the main event, UFC 148 was pretty dull in my eyes.
But that’s in the past. Let’s recap the best of last night’s Fuel card:
Weidman Makes A Statement
Middleweight prospect Chris Weidman was 8-0 coming into last night’s headliner against Mark Munoz, but the outcome was up in the air pre-fight. Munoz was on the cusp of a title shot and Weidman was coming off of a unanimous decision over Demian Maia that was anything but decisive.
I expected Munoz to win a hard-fought battle, but Weidman clearly had other plans. He put Munoz on his back about 35 seconds into the fight and dominated the former D-1 National Championship wrestler.
Weidman came out in the next round and did more of the same, taking him back down for about a minute. When Munoz finally got back to his feet, I expected him to turn it around. For such a high-caliber wrestler, Munoz has never performed a submission to end a fight. He’s a very confident striker who has four UFC victories by knockout.
But Weidman outclassed him in the stand-up game as well, finishing the fight with a beautiful elbow and followed up with about 100 punches too many to an already unconscious Munoz (I don’t know what referee Josh Rosenthal was thinking).
But nonetheless, that was all she wrote. I’m sure that even those who predicted a Weidman win expected it to be…a challenge. With that win he’s officially in the title picture, but does he deserve the next shot at Anderson Silva? More on that a little later.
Watch Out for the (Other) Middleweights
The next middleweight contender is still up for debate, but the lower-ranked 185’ers certainly impressed. Andrew Craig and Francis Carmont aren’t household names in the least, but both pulled off impressive finishes llast night.
Craig (8-0) was badly hurt in the second round against Rafael Natal and a finish looked imminent. But somehow Craig recovered minutes later to land a sick head kick to knockout the Brazilian. Craig has now won his first two fights in the UFC (the first against Australian Kyle Noke in enemy territory). While his game isn’t flashy, he could use a step up in competition for his next fight.
The same goes for Francis Carmont. The Frenchman (19-7) pulled off his second straight rear-naked choke, this time finish Karlos Vemola. Just like Craig, he was in trouble for a portion of the fight, but escaped to pull off the submission. He’s looked good in his first three UFC fights and looks even more ready than Craig to take the next step in the division.