Check out the answers to the key questions we posed going into last night’s UFC 108 event.
1. Who emerges victorious from UFC 108 – the strikers or the grapplers?
On this occasion there was success for both. Sam Stout showed the perfect way to neutralize a grapplers threat by demonstrating excellent takedown defense and making his opponent pay on the feet with some precision striking. Paul Daley also delivered by KO, though he was helped along the way by Dustin Hazelett’s reluctance to take the fight to the floor.
On the other hand Jim Miller easily overcame Duane Ludwig when the fight went to ground as most people had predicted, while Rashad Evans found that a return to his grappling roots was the key to claiming victory over Thiago Silva.
2. The UFC 108 card has been much maligned, but will the fights on the night exceed expectations and get the promotion off on the right foot in 2010?
It’s fair to say that the card exceeded most people’s expectations. The event delivered pretty much from top to bottom, with only the headline bout between Evans and Silva perhaps leaving a little to be desired.
Remarkably, six of the fights on the night were decided inside the first round, though in some cases, such as the Dos Santos – Yvel showdown it would perhaps have been nice to seen the action continuing a tad longer.
All in all for a card that had proven to be one of the most problematic in UFC history, the end product was definitely worth it.
3. Will the injury curse that struck UFC 108 claim any more victims?
Though the medical suspensions won’t be known until early next week the incident thankfully passed by without any major incident. The UFC will no doubt be keeping their fingers crossed that the worst of their injury woes is now behind them.
4. Four fighters on the card could potentially fight for a title in 2010 – Rashad Evans, Thiago Silva, Paul Daley and Junior Dos Santos. Will any of them take a significant step towards a title shot at UFC 108?
Junior Dos Santos certainly made a statement with his first round TKO victory over Gilbert Yvel. Adding to his previous victories over Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve and Mirko Cro Cop, it could be argued that he now has a more impressive octagon record than current top contender Shane Carwin.
Also boosting his profile at UFC 108 was Paul Daley, adding a Knockout Of The Night award to go with the TKO he claimed over Martin Kampmann in his octagon debut at UFC 103. Dana White has now stated that a fight with a top welterweight contender such as Josh Koscheck or Jon Fitch, or perhaps even Thiago Alves, may be next for the UK striker.
As for the main event, Rashad Evans is unlikely to have boosted his chances of a title shot with his decision victory over Thiago Silva, but he was always destined to face Rampage Jackson next anyway, and that fight is sure to have a bigger bearing on his title prospects.
5. Will the UFC’s gamble on controversial fighter Gilbert Yvel pay off?
Despite falling victim to Dos Santos, Yvel maintained his composure and avoided the controversy that has dogged his career in previous years.
He didn’t have much of an opportunity to showcase his skills this time round, but there’s still plenty of entertaining match-ups for the striker in the heavyweight division, and he remains a worthy addition to the roster.