The UFC Fight Night 30 event came to us yesterday from the UK, and the card had several highlight reel moments, as well as some flat and weird endings. The British referees seem to allow the action to go a little longer than their American counterparts, and in some cases that can be good, and in some cases it can be bad. In the main event, Lyoto Machida flattened Mark Munoz while making his debut at Middleweight. What could be next for Machida?
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Machida’s drop to Middleweight has been seen in some circles as a sign that Anderson Silva could be retiring soon. Silva, who up until his recent loss to Chris Weidman, had a stranglehold on the division, and as a training partner of Machida, the two stayed in separate weight classes. Machida is in the Middleweight division for the belt.
And Machida looked sharp and he retained his power. Munoz came out a bit tentative and Machida delivered the KO in the opening round anyway. Vitor Belfort has a tough upcoming fight with Dan Henderson, and Ronaldo Jacare looked outstanding in taking out Yushin Okami, so Machida is right in the mix of top challengers already.
A lot hinges on the result of the Weidman-Silva II bout scheduled for December. Another Weidman win leaves the division wide open, and likely sends Silva into retirement. If Silva wins, Silva could still retire, leaving the title belt vacant. If Silva does not retire, a rubber match with Weidman is likely necessary, whch means everyone has to wait.
Other contenders in the division, such as Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold are hurt, and they are likely at least another win away from being truly top tier. If Machida were to fight either of them, he would be favored at the books.
What is the UFC doing with Gegard Mousassi? He fought once and won, and he has fallen off the face of the UFC. The Mousassi is talented enough that he is a contender in the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight division, but the UFC must get him off the sidelines. He was matched with Alexander Gustafsson before an injury to Gustafsson derailed the fight, so he is in the mix with high level guys already. Machida versus Mousassi would be an incredible fight, and one that the winner could be given a clear path to the title shot. The top tier in the middleweight needs a non Brazilian.