(A tough night in so many different ways. Photo courtesy of SI.com)
Even our supercomputer had trouble dealing with the data from a bizarre main event at UFC 97. We had to hit it with a broomstick a couple times just to keep it chugging. Not a great Saturday night for the UFC, but at least it’s over now. Let’s see who’s up and who’s down.
Anderson Silva -129
Against Cote, the computer was willing to cut him some slack based on past performances. But two lackluster showings in a row, followed by an inability or unwillingness to comprehend why fans might have been unsatisfied, that equals a big drop. Is this the Silva we can look forward to from now on?
Thales Leites -176
You get the opportunity of your lifetime and spend most of it flopping onto your back? We think you’re going to regret that decision. How Leites thought this strategy might yield a victory is a real mystery. What the UFC can do with him now is another.
“Shogun” Rua +92
We still don’t really know what kind of shape he was in, but it was obviously good enough. He did what he had to do to stay relevant, and who knows, maybe it’s the beginning of a Frank Mir-esque comeback for Rua. Now put him against someone who isn’t on the downside of their career and let’s see how he does.
Chuck Liddell -78
It’s been a hell of a career, but ending it now is the right choice. He’s simply not the same guy he was, and you have to be thankful to Dana White for insisting that he come to terms with that fact. Thanks for the memories, Chuck.
Sam Stout +55
He looked resilient in victory over a tough opponent. The fact that this was Fight of the Night says more about the general weakness of the card than it does about this performance, though.
Matt Wiman -49
He’s a credible fighter who also puts forth a great effort, but he’s starting to feel like a permanent middle of the pack lightweight at this point. For job security purposes, that’s a bad place to be.
Krzysztof Soszynski +63
He barely broke a sweat submitting Stann, and pocketed an extra $70,000 for his trouble. There is life after TUF for “The Polish Experiment." He’s earned it.
Brian Stann -59
A tough way to go out in your UFC debut, but what did we expect? The guy has fewer than ten pro fights. Give him time to develop more, possibly on Spike TV Fight Night cards.
Cheick Kongo +68
Putting a beatdown on a guy who’s not making his UFC debut is a welcome change for Kongo. He’s an absolute beast when he wants to be, but a title shot is definitely a fight or two away. First he has to prove that he can hang with the big wrestlers in the heavyweight division. Kongo vs. Carwin, anyone?
Antoni Hardonk -60
He looked lethargic and overwhelmed almost immediately. Makes you wonder, what’s an 8-5 heavyweight doing on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view? Are they that hard up for big men?
Luis Cane +49
He just might have what it takes to turn into a legitimate light heavyweight contender. He fought smart and didn’t get overly aggressive, though he knows how to hurt when he wants to.
Steve Cantwell -41
“The Robot” hung tough but was simply outclassed for much of the fight. Up next, a rubber match with Stann? Might make for a decent night of free fights.
Nate Quarry +45
Some signs of life from Quarry, who used vicious elbows to open up and put away a tough Jason MacDonald. That should put him back in the middleweight hunt, though his potential rise seems limited as long as guys like Silva and Maia are at the top.
Jason MacDonald -48
All the love from the Canadian crowd couldn’t help him, even though he got the fight to the mat like he wanted. Again he looks to have too few answers for a good ground-and-pound attack.
Denis Kang +40
Finally got his first UFC win after shooting himself in the foot during his debut. Now let’s see if he can return to form against an opponent who really matters.
Xavier Foupa-Pokam -33
A difficult first bout in the UFC yields predictable results. At least he hung in there for three rounds.
Ed Herman +46
Hey, remember him? Almost won “The Ultimate Fighter?” No? Well, turns out he’s still around and can still pull out a victory when he has to. How ‘bout that.
David Loiseau -49
You’ve gotta feel for “The Crow.” Things just never come together for him when he really needs a win. Guess he’s still good to have around if you’re putting on a show in Canada, though.
Eliot Marshall +36
Beating the guy who made the finals is a good way for a recent TUF alum to prolong his career. Or maybe it’s just another sign that making the finals doesn’t necessarily mean that much.
Vinny Magalhaes -50
Gets knocked out by the wrestler Bader, then decisioned by fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Marshall. What’s left for him? Unemployment, if he can’t prove he belongs in the Octagon soon.
UFC 97 -83
The fight card was noticeably weak aside from the top two bouts, and only one of those delivered. Seems like the UFC can phone it in and still sell out in Montreal, but how long will that last after this disappointing show? Let’s put it behind us and look forward to a stacked summer.