Many old fans, this one included, find themselves critical, or even apathetic to the current MMA climate. We often criticize the UFC for having so many shows, that nothing seems that special anymore.
But then, there are nights like tonight.
UFC 175 began with five straight upsets, continued with a cancellation due to a medical issue backstage, and finished with two memorable title defenses.
It was many things, but tonight at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, it never felt like “same old, same old.”
At the top of the card, Chris Weidman struggled with Lyoto Machida after three dominant rounds of aggressive striking and ground-and-pound. Machida came back to beat Weidman to the punch in round four and left the UFC middleweight champion confused in a razor-close fifth. It was a spectacular display of skill and grit by both men.
The co-feature saw women’s bantamweight titlist Ronda Rousey turn back Alexis Davis’ challenge in just 16 seconds. Rousey stunned with an overhand, drove Davis to the mat with a hip throw, and knocked her cold with a series of punches in kesa-gatame position. It was as dominant a defense, with as crisp an exhibition of skill and explosiveness, as one can imagine.
Elsewhere on the main card, Uriah Hall overcame a grotesque injury to defeat Thiago Santos. The middle toe of his right foot somehow bent back in a bloody mess in the first round. But somehow, Hall continued with his trademark acrobatic kicks throughout the fight, earning a unanimous decision victory. Bantamweight prospect Russell Doane also earned a decision victory in his second UFC appearance.
There was one scheduled bout which failed to impress on the main card — sadly, it failed to take place. Stefan Struve was reported to have fainted backstage by UFC commentator Karyn Bryant and others, and was pulled from his bout with Matt Mitrione to obtain medical attention. UFC doctor Jeffrey Davidson described Struve as suffering from “heart palpitations” and a “near-fainting spell,” and that the Dutch heavyweight appeared fine now, and was only under observation.
Struve was returning to MMA after a year off due to health issues, and unfortunately, his future would seem to be again in doubt. In the post-event press conference, UFC President Dana White announced that Struve had been released and was doing fine; but “needs to think about his health and future.”
Full results, including a play-by-play account of UFC 175, is available here.