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MMA Analysis: Where Do Stars of UFC on FOX 2 Go from Here?

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When the Ultimate Fighting Championship made their first showing on the FOX platform most walked away from their television screens disappointed – It took Brazilian bomber Junior dos Santos a little over a minute to put away Cain Velasquez and take a seat at the top of the division.

Don’t get me wrong, the fight was exciting and action packed but it was still only 64-seconds [And yes, that is what she said] and once again many watching UFC on FOX tonight might would have left with a similar feeling of disappointment.

This time out the UFC featured three interesting match-ups, two of which were title-eliminators.

Opening up the FOX telecast was a middleweight tilt between former UFC middleweight title challenger Demian Maia facing rapidly rising star Chris Weidman – Weidman stepped in on eleven days’ notice having a battle outside of the cage having to shed 40-pounds of water weight to be on target when he stepped onto the scales.

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This dramatic cut in weight played a big factor in their scrap, both combatants are accomplished on the mat but won’t be putting out any kickboxing instructionals anytime soon – Both were respectful of what the other could do on the floor so the fight didn’t make it there often.

By the time the third round rolled around it resembled a brawl that broke out at a retirement home with two guys throwing punches with no force behind them in super-slow motion. Come to think of it, it would probably make for a fun video game but can’t say the same for good television.

Following it up was a battle to determine who will face UFC middleweight champ and consensus pound-for-pound king of the sport Anderson Silva in one of the biggest fights in the promotions history, reportedly in a soccer stadium in Brazil.

Chael Sonnen strutted around the windy city this week with a replica UFC championship but to get his grubby little mitts on the real deal he had to get past “The Ultimate Fighter” season three champ Michael Bisping – What he needed was a performance similar to his dismantling of Brian Stann months prior but it seemed the Brit didn’t get the memo.

If you had of told me that Michael Bisping would bully the wrestler against the cage and nullify Sonnens wrestling game for a lot of the fight I would have probably laughed in your face but that’s what he did, early on Sonnen secured some thunderous takedowns but wasn’t able to keep him down and Bisping controlled a lot of the bout early on.

The most dominate round came in the end with Sonnen taking control, he put the striker on his butt early and kept him there for the better part of the round with an effective top game while seeking a rear-naked-choke finish along the way.

Finally, the bout that received top billing was ready to save the day with former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans testing four-time All-American wrestler and the toughest man to wear pink, Phil Davis.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the bout to set peoples worlds on fire either – A tentative and cautious Evans showed off why there’s a real difference between amateur wrestling and wrestling inside the octagon.

Despite his wrestling pedigree Evans was able to put Davis down early and often, the previously unbeaten Davis repeatedly paid the price for using his leg kick with it being the main reason Evans was able to sweep him and put him on the floor.

In all honesty if you watched the first two-rounds then walked away you wouldn’t have missed much because it was wash, rinse, repeat as the former top dog at 205-pounds showed that he’s on a different level than the inexperienced challenger.

As always, I’ll take a look at each of the main card winners and see who they should be paired up with next.

Rashad Evans:

Well, this one’s a bit of a no brainer – “Suga” Rashad Evans has wanted to step into the cage with his former friend and training partner Jon Jones since he stepped up to the plate against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to take the belt that Rashad was gunning for.

You have all heard the story of their fallout more times than you can count so I won’t bore you with it again, I will however tell you that this bout will take place at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia in the featured fight for UFC 145, provided that Evans comes out unscaved after tonight’s performance.

With their built-in storyline and two silver tongued fighters this one will turn out to be one of the most anticipated fights of the year so circle April 21 on your calendar immediately.

Chael Sonnen:

Once again, not one that requires a lot of thinking – Sonnen has slandered, insulted and done just about everything conceivable to get under the skin of the man he came within minutes of defeating in 2010 and it seems that he is finally going to get his rematch now.

Sonnen might not have made the statement that he wanted tonight and if this version of the gangta from the street of West Linn, Oregon showed up to face Silva it would be a long night for him so he better come prepared, especially if this takes place in the champions backyard.

Provided that he spends more time worrying about what he will do inside the cage rather than his post-fight interview like tonight it should make for a fantastic fight just like their first go around.

Chris Weidman:

It’s no secret that I am a supporter of Chris Weidman and have been for quite some time now, ever since I saw him be competitive with one of the most accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts in the game today Andre Galvao at the 2009 Abu-Dhabi World Submission Grappling Championships I knew he was someone to keep an eye on.

Today in the eyes of many he took a huge step-up from up-and-comer to being a player in the ranks at 185-pounds but in my eyes let’s not throw him into the deep water right away.

The UFC on FOX broadcast team praised the All-American wrestler for being a top-ten ranked middleweight pre-fight but that was being a little generous, the reality is he’s still 27-years-old and has the better part of a decade to be around in the octagon, give him a little more time to develop.

Pairing him up with the winner of the upcoming Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara bout that is scheduled to take place on the UFC on Fuel 2 card in Sweden would be an appropriate fight giving him three or four fights to be groomed into a contender, instead of being pushed too quick like we saw happen with Phil Davis tonight.

As always, send your hate mail in 140 characters or less to @justinfauxmma

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