If you dropped upwards of $50 on UFC 163 last night, you’re probably pretty frustrated right about now. This isn’t to say that UFC 163 was the worst pay-per-view in recent memory – although it certainly wasn’t the best – but that it failed to meet expectations across the board. The main event saw a fairly solid fight end early after the challenger, Chang Sung Jung, dislocated his shoulder and the champion, Jose Aldo, took advantage of that fact in brutal fashion. Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Lyoto Machida somehow managed to lose to Phil Davis despite landing harder, cleaner strikes, more strikes overall, dictating the exchanges, taking virtually no damage, stuffing 80% of Davis’ takedowns, and being better by virtually any acceptable metric. And while there were some bright spots from the other fights, it just wasn’t enough to overshadow that feeling that what should have been simply wasn’t in the fights we really cared about.
The main event itself, in a way, was hampered from the get-go. In the first round the Korean Zombie checked an Aldo leg kick, possibly breaking Aldo’s right foot. As a result, the champion was forced to call upon his other weapons. In particular, he favored the jab he developed prior to his last fight against Frankie Edgar. Because he’s an exceptional fighter, Aldo was able to still take the fight to Jung without his primary weapon, but began to slow in the third. Whether that’s because Aldo is getting too large for the division and was fatigued from cutting weight or because fighting on a broken foot kind of sucks, I don’t know. But Jung began to gain some momentum heading into the fourth round. There, as he threw a right cross, Aldo countered with a left hook over Jung’s outstretched arm. As Jung’s arm was exposed to the awkward momentum generated from colliding with Aldo’s hook, his shoulder dislocated. The Korean Zombie gritted his teeth and tried to pop the arm back in, but Aldo smelled blood, took him down, and unloaded with ground and pound. While it may not have been enough to stop a fight against a healthy Jung, Herb Dean noticed Jung was unable to defend himself and stopped it.
Messy as it was, at least the main event had a definitive finish. I’m not sure what more can be said about Phil Davis’ “win” over Lyoto Machida that hasn’t already be said. Virtually every media observer scored the fight 30-27 for Machida. Some will argue that Machida “didn’t do enough,” which is ridiculous. By any standard – if you argue Davis landed more takedowns, it could be argued stuffing eight as opposed to allowing two inconsequential ones is more significant – he did more than Phil Davis. There really isn’t any room for debate here. People will toss around the phrase “don’t leave it up to the judges,” or some variation thereof, which is an exceptionally stupid reaction to have. Fights go to the judges. When they do, the judges ought to be able to score them competently. If they can’t, they shouldn’t judge fights. Simple as that. Machida isn’t under obligation to change his style; whether or not it requires patience to appreciate, it’s undeniably effective. Unfortunately, in MMA, effectiveness doesn’t always beat incompetence.
With all that said, there were some legitimate bright spots on the rest of the card. Anthony Perosh had a stunning 14-second knockout of Vinny Magalhaes. I’m not really sure if this is a bright spot considering Magalhaes is a much more interesting fighter than the 40 year-old Perosh, and he’ll probably end up cut because of this, but it was a shocking, exciting finish nonetheless. Ian McCall got back on the winning track with a Fight of The Night performance against Iliarde Santos. And John Lineker made a big entrance into the UFC flyweight division (OK, catchweight division) with a vicious TKO of Jose Maria Tome. Don’t be surprised to see Lineker get fast tracked to a title shot against Mighty Mouse with another win or two, assuming he can make the weight; the man has legitimately earned his nickname “Hands of Stone.” (Sorry Sam Stout. “Hands of Polyester” is still available, though!)
Still, it wasn’t enough to make up for what could have – or what should have – been. Aldo will hopefully move up in weight after this and, as much as I feel bad for poor T.J. Grant, get an immediate title shot. Hopefully against Anthony Pettis. For Jung, he’ll have to work his way back into contention. Assuming he recovers well, that shouldn’t be too hard, although I can’t say I’d favor him against Frankie Edgar. As for Phil Davis, I doubt this performance will land him a title shot, especially as Daniel Cormier looks to drop down to 205 after his fight with Roy Nelson. Machida deserves a rematch, but he won’t get one. Regardless of how effective, intelligent and even artful his style is, most fans just don’t have the patience for it. And unfortunately, it appears some judges don’t as well.
Jose Aldo def. Chan Sung Jung via TKO (punches), 2:00 of Round Four
Phil Davis def. Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision
Cezar Ferreira def. Thiago Santos via Submission (guillotine choke), 0:47 of Round One
Thales Leites def. Tom Watson Unanimous Decision
John Lineker def. José Maria via TKO (punches), 1:03 of Round Two
Anthony Perosh def. Vinny Magalhães via KO (punches), 0:14 of Round One
Amanda Nunes def. Sheila Gaff via TKO (elbows), 2:08 of Round One
Sergio Moraes def. Neil Magny via Submission (triangle choke), 3:13 of Round One
Ian McCall def. Iliarde Santos via Unanimous Decision
Rani Yahya def. Josh Clopton via Unanimous Decision
Francimar Barroso def. Ednaldo Oliveira Unanimous Decision
Viscardi Andrade def. Bristol Marunde via TKO (punches), 1:36 of Round One