By Jesse Holland
Special to UFCmania
"There goes the neighborhood ..."
UFC 68 is in the books and what should be elation has quickly become anxiety.
Randy's win was the feel-good moment of the night and while I'll concede that I glowed like an expectant father during the post-fight interview, that little voice in my head (no, the other one) kept wondering what it meant for the bigger picture.
See as a columnist and part-time mental patient I like to have everything neat and orderly. I could take the easy way out and blame the Army for my OCD but hey, they're in enough hot water without me.
The UFCmania fighter rankings are due out later this week and I can't help but wonder how the Couture win and Sobral loss will affect the order of operations. Let's also take into consideration the performances by Hughes and Franklin.
What criteria should we use to accurately rank a fighter?
Babalu fans have told me (after the Liddell KO) that you can't rank a fighter based on wins and losses. Instead examine the entire body of work. In contrast, Sylvia detractors were probably at the front doors of Camp Miletich Sunday morning with pitchforks and torches calling for his removal from the rankings altogether.
Personally, I think that like everything in mixed martial arts, a combination of theories is most effective. I have the Miletich boys at number two in each of their respective weight classes, but interestingly enough, I don't have any of them picked to regain their lost titles. And despite what UFCmania will tell you about my track record in picks, I again go to the readers who remind us to examine the entire body of work.
Oh wait, I still come up short. Well, never mind about me let's get back to the fighters.
Imagine how Andrei Arlovski must feel right now. He was floored by "The Maine-iac" in their second fight and was outstruck in their third. Then he had to sit ringside and watch a man old enough to be his father do everything he couldn't (or wouldn't): Dominate Tim Sylvia.
And Brandon Vera, who chose lump sum over annuity, may be wondering if he made the right move defecting to the doomed EliteXC. Yes, doomed. Watch Shamrock/Gracie and tell me they're here to stay.
I'm of the opinion that Mirko Cro Cop might feel a bit cheated. I think he wanted to be the guy to silence the piston-jawed Sylvia, and in devastating fashion too. Now that probable outcome has lost some of its flavor thanks to "The Natural".
Speaking of Randy, I'm not sure how I feel about his eventual showdown with Cro Cop. I think it's a fantastic match-up (and my days of picking against Randy are over), but I don't know who to root for.
And who is the recovery fight for Sylvia? Mir is washed-up (sorry Frank), Gonzaga will most likely be coming off a loss, and who in their right mind wants to see Sylvia/Arlovski four? There are a lot of unanswered questions in the heavyweight division.
Perhaps the outcome of Imes/Herring at UFC 69 can answer some of them as well as the winner of Arlovski/Werdum at UFC 70. Who knows, by then Zuffa may have purchased PRIDE or brought in Antonio Nogueira. Hey, anything can happen.
Just ask Randy.
Another match-up that's lost some of its luster is Ortiz/Sobral. On paper this was one for the books, kind of a road to redemption as both were considered top contenders despite two tough losses to Liddell.
Babalu needs out of the UFC so that he can find himself and Ortiz will have to be content playing spoiler for the TUF generation. Lambert might think he's vaulted to the top of the food chain, but with Rampage, Jardine and Evans all chomping at the bit, he won't be there for very long. Lambert/Bisping could be a possibility assuming Sinosic sticks to the script.
In the end "The Uprising" was more of an upheaval of sorts.
As a result, the rankings are not as black and white as I'd like them to be and there are a lot more questions in each division now than there are answers. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. Sometimes you need to shuffle the deck or deal out of turn to keep things fresh. A lot is riding on the outcomes of the upcoming pay-per-views and that should add another level of excitement to them.
The more I think about it, I wouldn't have it any other way.