UFN 33 was a “g’day” in Brisbane for fans of MMA. The card featured lots of action including a vicious return to form from Mauricio Rua and a sloppy-but-spectacular brawl between headliners Mark Hunt-Antonio Silva. The crowd was also on full blast, scoring a show full of entertaining efforts. Some quick thoughts: Nice to see up-and-comers like Alex Garcia and Justin Scoggins deliver on their hype / Happy trails to Julie Kedzie, one of the classiest ladies in the game / Nam Phan should get one more shot at bantamweight before being cut / Pat Barry needs to drop down to 205 pounds or find a new place of employment / Ryan Bader is extremely talented but far too robotic to ever earn a spot at the top of the division / I’ll believe “Shogun” is back when he beats someone more notable than James Te Huna / A rematch between Silva-Hunt will never live up to their initial encounter but should be booked nonetheless because there’s no doubt the tilt would deliver another dose of edge-of-your-seat antics. (PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) Evans and Cormier are set to square off in February at UFC 170 and that’s okay by me, though I’m a bit concerned by the possibility of their similar styles and friendship resulting in a relatively boring bout. Both are wrestlers by trade who pack power and neither is particularly athletic, so a stalemate could certainly surface once the cage door closes. Regardless, a win for either means a lot, so the stakes are high. Evans could string together his third straight instance of success, putting him back in position to challenge for a championship with one more victory in his pocket, while the unbeaten Cormier has an opportunity to show his decision to drop down to light heavyweight was the right move by taking out a divisional staple while earning a likely a title-shot in the process as well. (PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) Askren is now officially a member of ONE FC but got more attention for not being signed by the UFC than inking a deal with the Asian organization. It’s downright shame someone with Askren’s in-ring ability wasn’t given an opportunity in the Octagon simply because Dana White had an issue with his style, especially when considering some of the UFC’s biggest stars aren’t all that different in terms of strategy. White also mentioned Askren’s lack of experience against big stars but, again, the UFC brings fighters in all the time who are newcomers in that regard. The reality is, Askren is an unbeaten former Olympian who held gold in one of MMA’s biggest companies and also is an ace when it comes to self-promotion. He’s Chael Sonnen 2.0 with better grappling. Likewise, he’s also finished as many opponents as he’s outpointed. The UFC will obviously survive with or without Askren’s services, but the credibility of their cause took a hit based purely (once again) on White’s temperament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) Shields has barely skated by in his last two tilts, scoring Split Decisions against Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. However, he won’t be able to coast against Lombard when they lock horns in March at UFC 171. As a former Olympic judoka “Lightning” isn’t afraid to grapple if need be, but his stand-up is vastly superior to Shields’ and it will only take him a handful of strikes to end things. Beating him will definitely be a tough task for Shields, but then again he’s the type of fighter who will gladly blanket Lombard en route to a decision nod and definitely has the ability to do so. (PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports) Pettis recently confirmed he’ll be out until mid-2014 if not a little longer based on a recent injury. When he returns to the ring, it appears he isn’t interested in facing any of the sport’s top contenders but instead wants to duke it out with Diaz after the Stockton scrapper spewed some smack about Pettis’ ability. However, I don’t see that match-up materializing for a few reasons. First, Diaz has been very clear about wanting to compete as a welterweight, stating he doesn’t get paid enough to continually cut down to 155 pounds. Secondly, Diaz snapped a two-fight skid by beating Gray Maynard at the Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale and wasn’t competitive in either defeat. He’ll need to win at least two more tilts before leapfrogging more-deserving contenders and, considering how deep the lightweight division is, doing so will be much easier said than done. (PHOTO CREDIT: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) Believe it or not, it’s been more than 18 months since the hard-hitting welterweight saw action in the Octagon. Fortunately, it appears he’s now on tap to return in the first quarter of 2014 after recovering from a series of injuries assuming he stays healthy (and that’s a big “if” given his recent history). Still, Alves is always entertaining to watch, and the UFC could definitely use another big name in the division. He’ll need a warm-up fight before a full return to form but potential pairings with opponents like Matt Brown, Carlos Condit, or Hector Lombard at some point next year are definitely tempting enough to get my salivary glands going. (PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Pishna-MMAWeekly) The UFC’s March 8 card in London is still developing but the organization will have a hard time coming up with a clash with as much “Fight of the Night” potential as Pickett-McCall. Flyweights have proven themselves to be entertaining in general but McCall and Pickett are specialists when it comes to delivering high doses of excitement. They’re both well-rounded, have extremely deep gas tanks, and are durable. Look for the bout to feature a ton of scintillating stand-up exchanges and more than a few furious scrambles on the ground. Truly, any fan missing this match-up will end up regretting it the next day once the MMA world is talking about what a tremendous tilt it was. (PHOTO CREDIT: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre is set to take to the stage on Friday afternoon where he’ll announce his plans for the future. To give a quick recap, St-Pierre made some statements after his controversial win over Johny Hendricks regarding the need to take a significant chunk of time off to handle some personal business and even teased the possibility of retirement. UFC President Dana White has already expressed reservations about GSP’s plan, acting as though the period of action St-Pierre missed to recover from a torn ACL was a vacation of sorts. For starters, White needs to zip his lips. “Rush” worked his tail off in rehab and fought an absolute beast in Carlos Condit upon his return. St-Pierre reserves the right to get himself together before continuing his career, just as White can create an interim title on a whim if so desired. Personally, I would rather see a motivated, healthy St-Pierre than one who is burnt out. The world will found out more in a few days but, regardless of his decision, I’ll remain supportive of one of the classiest, most competent competitors to come along in UFC history. (PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) Sadly, Del Rosario finally passed away this week after struggling to survive in the wake of a massive heart attack leaving him on life support. Things were looking better for the UFC heavyweight after it was revealed he had regained brain activity but, unfortunately, it was only a temporary respite from the dire circumstances at hand. If anything else, the 30-year old’s death should remind us all of how precious life is and that tomorrow is promised for no one. Keep Del Rosario’s memory in your heart and make sure to tell the people you love how much you care. (PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) It’s a shame Matt Brown-Carlos Condit fell apart after the former went out with an injury but UFC on FOX 9 is still a stout show. There are some excellent undercard efforts in the form of Pat Healy-Bobby Green, Edson Barboza-Danny Castillo, and Zach Makovsky-Scott Jorgensen, as well as main card clashes like Joe Lauzon-Mac Danzig, Chad Mendes-Nik Lentz, and Urijah Faber-Michael McDonald. And, of course, you can’t forget about the rematch/title-fight between flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and consensus #2 Joseph Benavidez. The duo duked it out en route to a closely-contested Split Decision win for Johnson first time around, but Benavidez has been on fire ever since and is arguably the favorite to win despite being the contender rather than champion. P.S. – It’s all on free (or almost free) television! (PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Welcome back to the 10-Point Must! Every week I’ll give my thoughts on ten topics from the past seven days with hopes the readership will contribute their takes as well in the Comments section. This time around, subjects range from an update on
’s future to some freshly-minted match-ups to the untimely death of Georges St-Pierre Shane Del Rosario.