Here are some random bullet-point thoughts about UFC 77 and where they go from here.
- First and foremost, I think Anderson Silva has firmly supplanted Fedor Emelianenko as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. His complete dismantling of Rich Franklin on Saturday night was an unveiling of sorts; we always knew Silva had to be considered one of the best in the world, but his second victory over the former champ cemented it. The fight was slightly more competitive than the first one, mostly because Franklin escaped from the first round, but at no point was Silva in danger. In fact, he looked like he was even having fun, mixing some dance moves in while dodging Franklin’s punches. There’s nobody in the middleweight division who could even have a remote chance of beating Silva, save for perhaps Dan Henderson, and he’s not dropping down from light heavyweight, so I suspect that Silva will be the middleweight champion for as long as he wants to be. Silva’s brutal beating of Franklin has probably ended Ace’s career, as well, because he mentioned retirement after the show. He might as well retire — after all, he’s not going to beat Silva, so what’s the point of sticking around the division?
- Tim Sylvia is the most boring fighter in the world, and that makes him a pretty unpopular guy, but he took care of Brandon Vera from the outset of the fight to the finish. I hate “octagon control” because it’s boring and it’s Tim’s specialty, but even in the few exchanges that happened Sylvia dominated. Vera’s lone good shot was an illegal knee to the temple while Sylvia’s knees were on the ground. While I don’t want to see Tim Sylvia fighting for a title shot, I’ve no doubt that it’s probably going to be him vs. Noguiera for the belt in 2008, unless Couture can iron out his differences with Dana White.
- The announcement of signing of Brock Lesnar took me by surprise, not because I didn’t expect them to sign him, but because there’d be no rumors lately that he’d be announced at the show. Good surprise by UFC, and I’m looking forward to seeing who his first UFC opponent is. I think Lesnar is the future of the heavyweight division and he’s going to be a scary, scary fighter once he’s had a few fights under his belt. Remember, Lesnar’s first fight ended when his opponent tapped out while being PUNCHED — not a submission move, but an actual tap out just because Lesnar was punching him so hard. He has to cut weight to make 265, which nobody else outside of Tim Sylvia has to do. Needless to say, I’d love to see him fight Sylvia because there’s no way Tim will be able to push him up against the cage wall like he does with so many other fighters.
- UFC 78 doesn’t have a ton of stars on the card, but it does have a few up and comers — Michael Bisping takes on Rashad Evans, and Houston Alexander fights in the co-main event of the night. I’m always pumped to see Houston Alexander, and if he wins the fight, you’ve got to think he’s on the short list of guys to fight Rampage. I think Forrest Griffin should get an immediate title shot after defeating Shogun last month, but if Alexander is able to beat Thiago Silva at 78 in dramatic fashion then he should be next in line. I think Houston is for real, and he’s fighting a guy who is undefeated in UFC, so it should make him a contender with a victory.