(After knocking out Josh Barnett, Travis Browne performed the Warmaster’s trademark throat-slashing victory gesture, which means that legally, he now owns Barnett’s soul for all eternity. / Photo via Getty.)
By Mark Dorsey
Featuring an eagerly awaited rematch between the greatest middleweight of all time and the undefeated phenom who took his belt, UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 was one of the most anticipated UFC cards of 2013. Thankfully, the highly entertaining main card did not disappoint. Showcasing great performances, unsportsmanlike conduct, leg-snapping horror, and a fart heard around the world, UFC 168 left us no shortage of things to talk about. Here’s our clear-eyed look at what went down on Saturday night.
• With the state of WMMA still burgeoning, the co-main event of Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate was an important fight for solidifying Women’s Bantamweight as a legitimate and financially viable division for the UFC. Thanks to the highly publicized rematch between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, the UFC’s two biggest female stars had a high-profile PPV stage to showcase their skills. Thankfully, for the UFC and the fans, Rousey and Tate did not disappoint. Rousey put on a dominating performance and capped it off with a third-round submission victory. The best part? Tate made the fight competitive.
“Cupcake” managed to last three rounds and in the process took Rousey down, escaped multiple submission attempts, and threw some good upkicks from the bottom that had Ronda using caution. On the whole, Tate was outclassed by the better fighter but she showed that Rousey is not invincible — and that’s a good thing. Rousey is an incredible athlete but the UFC cannot base their entire WMMA venture on one fighter. They need contenders and they need the fans to believe that those contenders stand a legitimate chance of winning; otherwise, interest will wane quickly. Rousey looked great, but beatable. That’s exactly what needed to happen. With Sara McMann, Cat Zingano, and Alexis Davis all serving as reasonable challenges, the future of the women’s bantamweight division is looking bright.