This UFC on Fox show is a big picture show. In pro wrestling, if you were to book the winners, you’d have Rashad Evans beat Phil Davis to set up his big fight with Jon Bones Jones. You’d also have Chael Sonnen slaughter Michael Bisping to set up his big fight with Anderson Silva. But it doesn’t always happen the way you want it to. The UFC has taken a risk in making both of these fights. If Davis and Bisping have an upset state of mind, those big fights become smaller fights and hurt the UFC’s bottom line. But that’s why this sport is so great. Anything can happen.
Curt Menafee says this is the first of four UFC shows on Fox this year. Well, at least if the shows bring in solid ratings or no one is violently hurt.
Menafee, Randy Couture, and Jon Jones are on the panel for the pre-game stuff. Menafee says that if Evans wins, he gets Jones at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
1. Chris Weidman vs. Demian Maia
You have a good wrestler and a great jiu-jitsu guy. Of course the first round is nearly all on the feet. Earlier, Maia seemed to be getting the best of it, but later in the round, Weidman was much more comfortable. Maia is telegraphing his right hand and Weidman was able to avoid it mostly. But Maia did land some nice knees. Weidman was varied with his kicks and punches. Weidman also got a takedown late.
Weidman had an early takedown and he fell immediately into side control. Weidman was tired for most of it and Maia was able to outstrike him, but not in any significant way. Pretty boring round until Weidman was able to secure another takedown and was working for Maia’s back. I think that last takedown and attempt toward submission may have secured him the round.
Maia is also tired and the third round suffered because of sloppiness. Maia was so tired that he went for a takedown, Weidman sprawled and Maia face planted. This isn’t necessarily the kind of fight that’s going to keep an audience. With Weidman having to cut so much weight, it was ripe for the taking for Maia and he just looks absurdly tired. I’d give the fight to Weidman simply because he closed rounds better and fought a smarter tactical fight than Maia did.
Winner: Chris Weidman by way of split decision
The scores were 29-28 once for Maia and the same twice for Weidman.
Bisping called Sonnen the UFC’s court jester. Sonnen cut a Saturday Night’s Main Event-like promo and said that fighting Chael Sonnen is hazardous to your health.
2. Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen
Very active first round. Sonnen was all over Bisping early on and Bisping was on his heels. He took him down seconds into the fight, but wasn’t able to keep him down. Bisping looked flustered, but figured him out. Bisping’s striking was crisp while Sonnen’s was wild. Sonnen’s stand-up was so wild that it looked like he was going to conk Bisping in the head when he missed his left hand.