What a strange night. With Brian Ebersole’s chest arrow, Bisping’s hateful knee to Rivera’s dome, Sotirop getting upset, and the majority draw in the main event, UFC 127 was a weird night of fights. Say what you will about the lack of importance of some of the match-ups and the anti-clamactic ending to the main event, but for better or worse this was a memorable card. Because I wasn’t hugged enough as a child and now require constant attention as a result, read on as I share my thoughts on the fights and, more specifically, where these guys should head next.
Jon Fitch vs. BJ Penn
I’m not about to call this decision a monumental travesty like some people, but let’s face it: Jon Fitch should have had his hand raised at the end of the night. The argument that Penn won the second isn’t entirely unreasonable, yet it makes a helluva lot more sense to score it for Fitch. Sure, Penn had his back for a bit and secured a takedown. At the same time, Fitch’s reversal and subsequent damage from the top has got to outweigh anything Penn did. And anybody who says the third was a 10-9 should be committed. That’s a goddamn 10-8 if I’ve ever seen one.
As with any draw, these two need to have a re-match. And if Georges St. Pierre puts the stamp on Jake Shields like most rational individuals expect him to, Fitch-Penn II should be for the vacant welterweight title. If Shields pulls off the upset, then I’d have Fitch and Penn fight once again to determine the top welterweight contender, with the hope that it’s the first non-title five rounder in UFC history. That way we could potentially avoid another messy majority draw decision.
More thoughts after the jump.
Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera
Intentional knee to the dome aside, I think Bisping might be ready for a title eliminator. I know, I know — beating Jorge Rivera shouldn’t be enough to earn a top contender fight, but combining this win with his two previous wins over Akiyama and Dan Miller means Bisping is on a nice little win streak against some tough opponents. I’d really, really like to see Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen if the former title challenger can clear up his personal problems sometime in the near future. The pre-fight build-up would be nothing short of extraordinary, the fight would likely turn out to be a slobberknocker, and the winner would be ready for a crack at the middleweight title. If Sonnen’s unavailable, Yushin Okami is going to need a high-level opponent sometime soon.
As for Rivera, it’s back to the middle of the pack. Considering his age and his limited skill-set, it looks like Saturday night was El Conquistador’s last shot at making a run towards title contention. What impact the illegal knee played in the outcome of the fight is unknown, but I think the result would have likely been the same no matter what. Bisping is simply the better fighter.
George Sotiropolous vs. Dennis Siver
Siver’s stellar takedown defense dictated this fight. With the win, he puts himself in title contention and sends Sotirop back to the drawing board. As far as future opponents go, I like the German fighter against either Takanori Gomi or Melvin Guillard.
Sotirop came into this fight with a ton of hype. Despite that, his ineffective wrestling game caused him to lose a pretty clear cut decision. If he can shore up the glaring holes in his game, pick the right opponents, and win a few more in a row then he could potentially put himself back in line for a title shot. I think a good next step for Sotirop would be a fight with Matt Wiman or the winner of Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson.