COMMENTARY | Chael Sonnen defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua via guillotine choke submission in the main event of UFC Fight Night 26 on Saturday night. Sonnen's victory capped off a successful first telecast on the brand new FOX Sports 1.
Here are four thoughts on the main card:
Is Alistair Overeem done?
There comes a point in most fighters' careers when the mind says "yes" but the body says "no." I'm beginning to wonder if Alistair Overeem has reached that point. He's still one of the best heavyweights in the world, and he was dominating his fight against Travis Browne until the stoppage, but a second straight knockout loss changes everything about his future.
Overeem has taken plenty of damage throughout his 14-year career. In fact, he's been finished by either technical knockout or knockout seven times in his MMA fights alone. He's also taken his fair share of knocks during his kickboxing career.
A fighter's chin can only take so much; look at what happened with Chuck Liddell. He earned a reputation for having one of the best chins in MMA until Rampage Jackson knocked him out. Yet Liddell was never the same after that fight. I wonder if that is what's happening with Overeem. His knockout loss to Antonio Silva was brutal, and now it took one powerful Browne front kick to put him out. It will be interesting to see what happens with Overeem next.
What does the UFC do with Urijah Faber after his dominating win over Iuri Alcantara?
Urijah Faber has lost his last five title fights, but he may be inching closer to another shot at a belt after recording his third straight victory. The problem is the person he'd likely face (Renan Barao) has already beaten him handily, which is why the UFC is in a tough spot with Faber.
Putting Faber up against Barao would be a tough draw, despite his popularity, but what other fights are out there for him? My guess is Michael McDonald, who put together an outstanding performance against Brad Pickett on the undercard. If Faber beats McDonald, then a rematch with Barao would be the only fight that makes sense. Regardless, the UFC's options with Faber are limited.
Who will Matt Brown face next?
Matt Brown posted his sixth straight victory when knocked out Mike Pyle on Saturday night. In most cases, a six-fight winning streak is usually enough to earn a title shot. Still, there's a problem with Brown's resume: he hasn't beaten a top-five welterweight. Don't get me wrong; it's not Brown's fault that he's yet to face an elite 170-pounder. The UFC provides the opponents, not Brown. Now it's up to matchmaker Joe Silva to book Brown in a fight against a top guy. It would be great to see what Brown could do against Carlos Condit or Nick Diaz. Until then, it's hard to justify awarding Brown with a title shot based on his victories over mid-level competition.
Where does Shogun Rua go from here?
Chael Sonnen's impressive submission victory over jiu-jitsu black belt Shogun Rua has some interesting implications on both fighters' careers. Sonnen entered the bout on a two-fight losing streak. Now he appears set to get his pick of quite a few opponents at either middleweight or light heavyweight, including the always game Wanderlei Silva.
Rua came into this fight having lost three of his last five fights. Many of them were against high-level opponents, but it's important to remember that Rua often struggled with his cardio in those bouts. Against Sonnen, Rua never really appeared to be in the match, and with his surprising submission loss, his career is at a crossroads. He looked nothing like the motivated fighter that knocked out Lyoto Machida three years ago. Instead, Rua has often seemed bored and apathetic in his recent fights. Maybe that's just his personality, but I'm starting to wonder if he still wants to compete in the octagon.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Chael Sonnen
- Urijah Faber
- Alistair Overeem
- Shogun Rua
- Matt Brown