The first pay-per-view of 2013 left many questions in the UFC, especially around the heavyweight title.
Alistair Overeem was expected to take care of Antonio Silva and make his way to a title match with Cain Velasquez later this year.
However, Overeem failed to respect the striking of Silva, and “Bigfoot” finished him with a bevy of rights in the third round.
What’s next for Velasquez now? Does Silva move into a title fight, or does he need another marquee win to earn a rematch with the champ?
How about the featherweight division? After Jose Aldo took care of Frankie Edgar, where does the Brazilian go? Does Edgar remain at featherweight, or does he bounce around for bigger fights?
Let’s take a further look at the action that went down from the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
No rematch needed between Aldo-Edgar
Frankie Edgar became the rematch king after winning the UFC lightweight title from BJ Penn a few years back. “The Answer” successfully defended the belt against Penn, then fought Gray Maynard twice.
After finishing off Maynard, Edgar battled Benson Henderson twice, dropping both.
Some called the decision for Jose Aldo unfair, but “Scarface” did enough in my mind early on two earn the win (though not by the two 49-46 scores that were read). There is no need for an immediate rematch, however, because Edgar never really threatened Aldo.
There are a handful of featherweights looking to test their skills vs. Aldo in Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas, so let’s move on with the division.
Where does Edgar go from here?
Edgar isn’t likely to receive a title shot in the near future again at either lightweight or featherweight, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a draw.
Edgar has proven to the world he is one of the gutsiest fighters in all of MMA and he always comes to fight.
So, what could be in for the future? How about a fourth meeting with Gray Maynard? Both fighters have talked about it before, and while the fact that they compete in different weight classes now, I don’t think many would oppose to seeing it happen.
Who does Velasquez face now?
Are Roy Nelson or Stefan Struve really the best choices to face Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title?
After Alistair Overeem was stunned by Antonio Silva, Nelson and Struve were likely left smiling in front of the TV. Both have fights set for early in 2013, and Velasquez needs a challenger.
Silva was rocked and bloodied by Velasquez in 2012, so a push for a rematch may be tough to make. Of course, finishing Overeem like he did, “Bigfoot” does have a nice pedestal to preach from if he wants the champ.
What the hell were Evans and Nogueira doing?
Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira completely deflated the arena with their snooze-fest of a co-main event.
After the heavyweights brought the fans to their feet, Evans and Nogueira exchanged high fives for the better part of three rounds before “Little Nog” was declared the victor.
For Evans, this fight could leave him to ponder his future inside the Octagon. The former champ seemed out of it and failed to ever let his hands fly or work his excellent takedowns. Instead, he peppered the lead hand of Nogueira time and time again for no apparent reason.
While Nogueira didn’t really inflict much damage either, he at least pushed the tempo and will likely place himself in a marquee match later this year.
The Strikeforce fighters can fight
Tyron Woodley made an impact in his UFC debut, blitzing Jay Hieron and finishing him just seconds into their prelim bout.
Bobby Green figured out Jacob Volkmann and scored a submission victory, while Isaac Vallie-Flagg defeated Yves Edwards.
All in all, not a bad night for Scott Coker’s former fighters inside the Octagon.
Woodley made the biggest impact, as he has a strong resume and went toe-to-toe with Nate Marquardt last year before falling in the fourth round. Expect Woodley to receive a main card push following his win.