Last night (Jan. 28. 2012), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) looked to replace the sour taste that Junior dos Santos left in the mouths of mainstream fans with his 64-second knockout of Cain Velasquez back in Nov. 2011 after months of build up and hours of pre-fight brouhaha.
Unfortunately, UFC on Fox 2: "Evans vs. Davis" from the United Center in Chicago, Ill., fell flatter than Kate Hudson, but for very different reasons. It certainly wasn't for lack of creative matchmaking, which had critical implications on the line in at least two of the three televised bouts.
And it certainly wasn't because the fighters featured on the FOX card lacked personality. If anything, several of them have a little too much.
Nonetheless, UFC on Fox 2 failed to deliver, despite almost 60 minutes of mixed martial arts (MMA) action. Quite the opposite in terms of length when compared to the first show, but again, essentially the same result.
Follow me after the jump to see where it all went wrong:
Let's begin at the top with the main event between light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. It was scheduled for five rounds and it ultimately went the distance. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very close fight whatsoever.
Evans, a promotional dinosaur with nearly 15 fights inside the Octagon to his credit, was just too slick and too experienced for the much greener "Mr. Wonderful." "Suga" stalked Davis all night long, closing the distance and daring the Penn State University wrestling standout to take him down.
On occasion, Davis obliged; however, it was far from the dominant effort that everyone knew it would take for him to hold down Evans and beat him up to win the fight. Evans was super aggressive and left his chin hanging out all night for Davis to touch, but he didn't.
Kicks, punches, takedowns, takedown defense, ground and pound, submissions: Evans' well-rounded bag of tricks was on full display in the "Windy City."
In fact, Evans' rock-solid performance was among the few bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring evening of MMA fights. He continues to do what he is expected to do, and in exchange, he finally earned his much-deserved title shot against Jon Jones in the UFC 145 main event in Atlanta, Ga., on April 21, 2012.
Nonetheless, mainstream fans, for the most part, don't have the luxury of hindsight and overall appreciation for a specific outcome. In other words, the fight didn't do anything to make new fans want to tune into the next FOX show, much less pony up $50 to watch Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans settle their score at the Philips Arena three months from now.
And that's what this big network television experiment is really all about, isn't it?
The juicy battler between outspoken adversaries Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping had all the ingredients to deliver an MMA masterpiece: Ego, (contrived) drama, loudmouths, title shots and two very talented fighters who are very talented in two very different areas.
Once again, what came out of the oven didn't taste anything like what we had all cooked up in our wild imaginations.
Sonnen made good on his promise to immediately walk across the cage and takedown Bisping and punch him in the mouth. But, that's right about when his gameplan took a slice to the right. That's because "The Count" got to his feet and did a solid job of staying there for the better part of two rounds.
It was no secret that Sonnen's key to success is a smothering, punishing top game that wears down opponents. Bisping is among the most well-conditioned athletes in the sport today, meaning that the only thing that really got tired was Sonnen and his recycled shtick.
The British fighter remained on his feet for far longer than anyone anticipated. And he even snuck in some nice shots that seemed to stun Sonnen. He did well in the clinch alongside the fence, even scoring a takedown. Once again, a bright spot that very few could appreciate.
It wasn't enough, however.
Sonnen came out in the third round and did his thing. He even secured full mount and drew some blood with his strikes from the top position. Bisping was never really in any type of danger -- neither fighter was, actually. And that was the problem.
Just an okay fight with a better-than-expected performance from Bisping and an almost-disastrous outcome for Sonnen, who came way too close to missing out on the rematch of the century with Anderson Silva later this year. Like I said last night, fight fans got the result they more than likely wanted, but had to suffer through an average fight and an bizarre post-fight speech to get it.
And I'm not really sure what to see about the sloppy, ugly and amateur-looking fight that Demain Maia and Chris Weidman turned in to kickoff the telecast. So, I'm going to keep it short.
We all knew that Weidman took that fight on just 10 days notice because of the injury to Mark Munoz that forced the fight card reshuffle. It was possible that he would not be in top form and be able to turn in his best performance.
But, that wasn't even close. Not by a longshot.
And what's Maia's excuse? He should have rolled the "All American," who could barely keep his hands up throughout the fight. He had more than enough time to come in polished and prepared, but he clearly wasn't.
But, that wasn't even close, either. Not by a longshot.
Perhaps we'll get more answers in the days and weeks ahead. That was just an awful-looking, slow-motion fight that had the ringside announcers searching for excuses for both fighters to explain to the viewers at home the potential reason(s) the fight they were watching was so dreadful.
That's not good. It's terrible, really.
Oh, and by the way, Weidman won a unanimous decision, not a split as originally announced. Amazing. Tsk-Tsk, Demian.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC on FOX 2: "Evans vs. Davis" in the comments section below.
Did it live up to your expectations? Are you excited to see Jones and Evans finally throw down? Did Bisping get robbed? Is Weidman poised to make a run at the 185-pound division's elite? Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC on FOX 1 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Evans vs. Davis" event right here.
While you're at it, check out our fight-by-fight recaps, video highlights and immediate reactions for the UFC on FOX 2 action:
- UFC on FOX 2 results: Rashad Evans dominates Phil Davis en route to decision win
- Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis full fight video highlights from UFC on FOX 2
- UFC on FOX 2 results: Chael Sonnen beats Michael Bisping, earns title shot against Anderson Silva
- Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping full fight video highlights from UFC on FOX 2
Demian Main vs. Chris Weidman
Last, and certainly not least, check out our complete UFC on FOX 2 results recap of the FUEL TV "Prelims" right here.