Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wrestling-minded Welterweight fringe contenders, Tyron Woodley and Josh Koscheck, squared off on the main card of UFC 167 from MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, last night (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013).
Despite an impressive 11-2 record in mixed martial arts (MMA), Woodley came in with mixed results in the Octagon over a very small sample size. He knocked out Jay Hieron at UFC 156 before losing a very lackluster decision to Jake Shields at UFC 161. Woodley has an insane blend of knockout power coupled with an NCAA All-American wrestling pedigree.
Koscheck was on a snide as of late, having lost two straight to Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. The former title challenger was in dire need of a win at UFC 167 if he wanted to prove he still deserved to fight the best Welterweights.
Unfortunately, that win didn't come. Instead Woodley put a stamp on the biggest fight of his promising career with a highlight reel knockout over "Kos." Let's take a look back at his masterful performance from Las Vegas.
Koscheck wouldn't touch gloves at the outset, and it appeared Woodley took offense. He rocked Koscheck with a fast combo early on. "Kos" recovered to push Woodley up against the fence. The slow pace earned a restart from Herb Dean. Woodley landed a big shot and a leg kick, but "Kos" countered with a big punch of his own. Woodley floored Koscheck and began to rain down ground and pound. Koscheck was in trouble as Woodley smothered him.
But, he was resilient. Another restart saw Koscheck stalk Woodley only to eat a huge right hook and two follow-up shots that left "Kos" knocked out on the mat.
It was a huge statement win that gets rid of much of the bad taste left by Woodley's loss to Shields. Shields has a way of making his opponents look bad; Koscheck apparently does not at this point in his career.
Based on last night's performance, Woodley looks like a verifiable freight train at 170 pounds. His mixture of power and speed can't be taught. Faced with the right match-ups, Woodley proved he could put on electric performances inside the Octagon.
And perhaps the heat he garnered for his loss to Shields was a bit overblown. After all, Shields did just neutralize the ground attack of vaunted Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29 in late August.
Woodley is set to receive an even bigger name than the struggling Koscheck for his next bout. With many of the top contenders scheduled to fight soon and a very cloudy title picture, Woodley may be forced to sit out and wait while a top-level bout materializes.
He should make his first foray into the Welterweight top ten rankings, as well.
Koscheck is at a career crossroads with three straight losses. The nearly 36-year-old "Kos" has likely fallen too far down the crowded Welterweight ladder to ever stake another claim at legitimate relevancy. He's accomplished a lot in his career. Koscheck never got his hands around UFC gold but he made a ton of money playing the perfect heel.
His fighting future is definitely up in the air. It wouldn't be a surprise to see UFC amicably part ways with the experienced "Kos." There's really nothing left for Koscheck to realistically accomplish. The 170-pound division has sped past him and there is simply no reason for him to keep getting brutally knocked out.
Tyron Woodley got by far the biggest win of his career at last night's UFC 167. Did his knockout of Josh Koscheck make him an instantaneous player in the talented UFC Welterweight arena, or does Woodley still have something left to prove? And what will become of longtime divisional stalwart Josh Koscheck after consecutive knockout losses?