After the UFC’s latest extravaganza in Brazil this past weekend we assess which fighter’s stock rose or fell as a result of their performances on the night.
Aside from a big scare in the second round, Franklin was very much in command of his rematch with Wanderlei Silva and despite now being 37 years of age and having been out of action for the best part of 16 months he showed excellent cardio and was moving around the Octagon like a man 10 years his junior.
Franklin’s always been much better suited to the 185lb division and has only ever lost to Anderson Silva at middleweight so it’s good news to see him finally heading back in that direction and it offers him a new lease of life with a number of interesting match-ups potentially on the horizon for him now.
Werdum’s looked the real deal in both of his UFC fights against Roy Nelson and then Mike Russow since returning from Strikeforce and most notably has much improved stand-up which has been a problem for him in the past.
He should get a higher profile opponent next time out, and if he can maintain his current form then getting into title contention certainly isn’t out of the question in the longer term.
Dias didn’t set the world alight at the weekend, but comfortably earning a decision win over Yuri Alcantara in his promotional debut shouldn’t be overlooked given that his opponent came into the bout with an impressive 27-3 record including a 13 fight winning streak – two of those in the UFC.
Dias never looked troubled, extended his own stellar career record to 21-1-1 and he’ll now be installed as a significant player in the UFC’s 145lb division.
It’s been on the cards for a while, and last night Russow’s bubble finally burst, bringing an end to an 11 fight winning streak that’s largely flattered to deceive.
Nobody expected him to have much of a chance against Werdum and that’s exactly how it played out. As a result of this loss I expect that Russow will now take a big drop down the pecking order and it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing him in a high profile bout like this in the UFC again.
Rony ‘Jason’ / Godofredo Pepey
It might be a bit strange to include a new winner of ‘the Ultimate Fighter’ in this column, but after being hyped up as a killer in the cage, ‘Jason’ looked anything but as he scraped past Pepey in a lackluster fight.
It’s not the end of the world and it may have been a case of ‘Octagon jitters’ in his debut in front of a huge crowd, but it’s not good news when UFC president Dana White singles you out for criticism post-fight so don’t expect to see him being fast-tracked up the featherweight ladder for the time being.
Pepey finds himself on even shakier ground after logging in an even worse performance and he’ll have to step up his game next time out or face an early exit from the UFC.
There were a couple of brief flashes of ‘The Axe-Murder’ in this fight – most notably in the second round, but in general Silva looked a shadow of the man who at one time ruled PRIDE with an iron fist.
The fact that the only other time he sparked to life with a late flurry in the final round ended with him getting dropped to one knee by Franklin only served as another reminder that his chin isn’t what it once was, and at the age of 35 and approaching his 50th career fight I think he’d do well to follow Tito Ortiz’s example and announce that his next fight will be his last.