Last night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship presented UFC 163 live from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Heading into the card, there wasn’t much talk about the actual fights, only the possible fights that can be created with wins by certain fighters. Some of those fighters won and those next fights are possible, while others lost (or not). What was the biggest news to come from UFC 163 and what is next for each of the biggest winners and losers?
Jose Aldo defeated Chan Sung Jung via TKO in fourth round to retain UFC Featherweight Championship
In the main event, Aldo put his 15 fight winning streak and his UFC featherweight title on the line against the Korean Zombie. It was a fight that not many people gave Zombie a chance of winning, but an injury to the foot of Aldo in the first round could have opened it up for Jung to get the win. Instead, the man who usually uses his leg kicks to set the pace for the rest of the fight was forced to change his game plan. He instead went to his underrated ground game and took Zombie down five times and controlled the fight. The end of the fight came in the fourth round when Jung injured his shoulder and the champion began kicking him with high kicks and Aldo finished it with punches.
For the challenger, he will still be a fan favorite, but realistically, he never had a chance to win this fight. He will continue to be a top contender in the UFC featherweight division, but won’t see a title fight again. The next possible fight for Aldo could be one that many fans want to see. He could get a chance to fight for the UFC lightweight title currently held by Ben Henderson. If Henderson can get passed Anthony Pettis later this year, that might be the next best fight for Aldo.
Phil Davis defeated Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
In this light heavyweight title, a Machida win would have almost clinched his chance to compete for the title he once wore around his waist. A win by Davis wasn’t expected by many and wouldn’t have meant as much for his chances to fight for the title as they did for Machida.
When the action began, it was Machida who controlled the first round. It wasn’t an exciting round, but did end with Davis in the advantageous position, which could have been the difference for some of the judges. In the second round, it was Davis who took control. It was a round that again ended with Davis on top and a round that there was no doubt that he won. The third round was really up for grabs for both fighters. Machida did an astonishing job of preventing some takedowns from the former wrestler and the round ended with both fighters trading punches. When it came time to announce a winner, it was Davis that stole the fight and improved his career record to 12-1.
For Davis, the next step in his career should be another top challenger in the division. He needs it to prove that his win against Machida wasn’t a fluke. Who it could be remains to be seen, but I don’t think he has done enough in his career at this stage to warrant a shot at the title. For Machida, he will need to go back to the drawing board and find out where his career is going. He was hoping to get through Davis to get a chance to redeem his previous loss to Jon Jones, but now, that rematch is out of the question.
Cezar Ferreira defeated Thiago Santos via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in first round
This middleweight fight was to help the MMA world determine who the next star of the division would be. It was a fight that Ferreira was determined to be the victor of and at the 47 second mark of the first round, he was. He rocked Santos early and continued to strike him before Santos dropped and left his neck available for the taking. He locked on the choke and the fight was done.
For Ferreira, the winner of the The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, this win was his second straight in the UFC and one that will make plenty of fighters in the UFC worry about facing off with him. He isn’t ready to fight the best middleweights in the world, but his UFC career is off to a solid start and if he continues his impressive run, has a chance of a long career.
Thales Leites defeated Tom Watson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
The man who once fought for the UFC middleweight tournament made his return to the promotion in front of his home nation. Leites was last in the UFC in 2009 after losing to Anderson Silva and Alessio Sakara. Since being released from the promotion, he was 6-1 and warranted a return. It was the third fight in the UFC career of Watson and ended up being his worst performance yet. He dropped the unanimous decision ruling to Leites. Watson’s run with the UFC could be over soon, but for Leites, this is the beginning of his second chance in the best promotion in the world.
John Linekar defeated Jose Maria via TKO in the second round
This fight was supposed to be contested in the UFC flyweight division, but Linekar came in overweight. Linekar forfeited a portion of his purse and the fight was contested at the catchweight of 129 pounds. The first round of this fight was exciting and saw both men trading strikes. It was a fight that at end of the first round could have gone either way. Instead, in the second round, Maria looked to be injured and was finished after Linekar pounced. Whether or not this fight was contested at its proper weight has no bearing on the possible success Linekar will have in the UFC.