The Winners

Jan 19, 2009



Now that everyone has had a chance to digest the happenings of UFC 93, it’s time for me to step down from the clouds (read: roll out of bed) and tell you exactly what to think about things you already have an opinion on. I sense there is a chance for some disagreement here.

With that in mind, let’s jump in and take a closer look at the winners and losers of UFC 93, including the man with two nicknames, a math teacher trapped in the Hodge Conjecture (look it up) and a Brazilian who thinks he’s a Japanese military commander.

All that and more from your favorite MMA writer, not counting all those other writers you actually like.

The Winners

Hollywood Rules Ireland

Thanks to some favorable judging and that permanently cocked right hand of doom, Dan Henderson walked away from his main event match with Rich Franklin sporting a fresh “W” on his record and a chance to earn a second title tilt with pound-for-pound impresario Anderson Silva.

First, though, Henderson has to make it through a season of coaching borderline sociopaths on “The Ultimate Fighter” with his sanity intact. Assuming he doesn’t end up in a rubber room, he still has to take out Michael Bisping before getting another crack at the Baryshnikov of violence.

The Irish Hand Gre … whoops! I mean, The Celtic Warrior

Remember when everyone had a good laugh at Marcus Davis for saying he had the best hands in MMA on “The Ultimate Fighter”? Well, it looks like the greatest punch line in SpikeTV history has more than a bit of truth to it. Davis showed uncommon boxing acumen in utterly outclassing Chris Lytle on the feet for the bulk of 15 minutes. With another win to his name, it may not be much longer before Davis starts forcing the issue on a title shot.

While no one should be doubling down on a future title reign for Davis, let’s not forget that Matt Serra proved Andy Warhol right with his brief run as welterweight honcho.

Anyone Nicknamed ‘The Hitman’

It was all aces for both Martin Kampmann and John Hathaway at UFC 93, as they notched impressive and important wins on the undercard. For Kampmann, it was his debut as a welterweight, and against Alexandre Barros he quickly showed that the weight cutting had done nothing to snuff out his livewire offensive arsenal.

With all that pressure, at least Kampmann wasn’t a Brit fighting an Irishman in Ireland. That distinction belonged to John Hathaway, who rose to the occasion beautifully in his UFC debut by sending hometown hero Tom Egan to the pub for some counseling.

Considering the success these two had, I’d like to announce I shall be known henceforth as Tomas “The Hitman” Rios.

The Irish Fighting Championship

Another overseas show and what looks like another overseas success for the UFC. While building inroads all over the map, the UFC has managed to cultivate a rabid following throughout the United Kingdom by bringing some of the best they have to offer across the pond and shining a light on local talent.

With the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” set to shine a light on this vintage fistic rivalry, expect for the UFC’s future forays in the U.K. to be an even bigger spectacle than what we saw this past weekend. If the UFC is smart about this, officially branded kilts will be the fashion must-have of the season.

Living on a Belch(er) and a Prayer

Sometimes it’s better to be the smarter fighter than the better fighter, and that was exactly what Alan Belcher had going against Denis Kang. Despite being behind on the scorecards against a far more experienced opponent, Belcher did the smart thing and waited on Kang to have one of his inevitable mental malfunctions. When the time came, Belcher was ready and quickly capitalized on Kang’s self-destruct sequence.

One of these days, Kang is going to make like the Predator and lie on the mat laughing maniacally as his self-destruct timer ticks away and Arnold Schwarzenegger runs frantically for cover. The best part is that wouldn’t even crack my top-10 list of surreal MMA moments.

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