UFC 133 is in the books following “Sugar” Rashad Evans’ (16-1-1) “Fight of the Night”-winning TKO victory over “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (16-9-1). Also victorious were “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (20-9) who dispatched “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-5) in vintage fashion, Brian Ebersole (41-14-1) who won the battle of weird chest hair vs. tiny Speedos against “Superman” Dennis Hallman (45-14-2), “Costas” Constantinos Philippou (8-2) who won out over tested veteran “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-9), and “Aries” Rory MacDonald (12-1) who defeated “Quicksand” Mike Pyle (21-7-1) in the main card’s opening bout. However, along with the obvious wins and losses that come on the records, there are the less obvious career implications that follow the night’s events. MMA Gospel is here to explore these moments with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Rashad Evans: The night could not have gone much better for Rashad Evans. He survived an early rough spot against Tito Ortiz to rally back and win the first round then survived a deep arm-in Guillotine in the second to unload and finish his rival in brutal fashion. On top of the win which reaffirms his place as number one contender, he bagged a “Fight of the Night” bonus to the tune of $70,000. Perhaps the biggest win for Rashad, however, was the change in his style. The safe, lay-and-pray style he adopted at Greg Jackson’s camp following the loss of his title was nowhere to be found as “Sugar” looked for the sweet spot with every blow thrown.
Tito Ortiz: Love him or hate him, fans have to respect Tito’s overall performance at UFC 133. He took the fight on two weeks notice and threatened Rashad twice, almost finishing him with a choke hold in the second. Perhaps most important was the fact that despite circumstances providing him ample opportunity, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” utter not a single excuse for the loss. No questionable injuries, no blaming the short notice, no previously unmentioned illnesses interfering with his camp, just Tito admitting that he gave it everything he had and still lost. Tito is a fighter most fans watched grow in the Octagon, now it seems fans will finally get to watch him mature.
Vitor Belfort: Vintage Belfort beatdown. That’s all that Belfort’s one-sided KO victory over “Sexyama” can be described as. Belfort came out energized and in rare form and it showed early. Within two exchanges it was obvious that the Japanese superstar was completely outclassed by Belfort’s unbelievable hand speed and power and within three exchanges Belfort left Yoshihiro unconscious on the mat. It was all there – the focus, the speed, the power, and most frightening, the hunger that characterized the early Vitor Belfort. The fighters of the UFC middleweight division would be ill advised to allow their children to watch the card should they face “The Phenom” because he has shown that he is now the deadliest fighter he has ever been.
Brian Ebersole: A man with an arrow pointing at his chin shaved into his chest hair squaring off against a fighter in the smallest manties ever seen in the Octagon sounds more like a pro wrestling comic relief skit than a legitimate professional fight. However, the eccentrically shaven Brian Ebersole survived an early Rear Naked Choke attempt from vaunted ground fighter Dennis Hallman en route to a TKO victory that marks the second major upset the whimsical master of the cartwheel kick has scored against a UFC veteran. The win proves that Ebersole is no flash in the pan fluke; he is a serious competitor and anyone who takes him lightly due to his sardonic sense of humor will pay for it.
Constantinos Philippou: Jorge Rivera was as experienced an opponent as one can find at middleweight. He was a solid test for the young Greek prospect but “Costas” took control and managed to eek out a Split Decision in their competitive if less than entertaining bout. Exciting or not, the win puts Philippou on the right track to building a solid career for himself in the UFC. He has earned his shot, now it’s just a question of what he will do with it.
Rory MacDonald: MacDonald came out guns blazing, ready to prove that he deserves to get another crack at the welterweight elite and he did just that. It took just under four minutes for the young stud to put away the grizzled submission artist in Mike Pyle and silence any critics he had remaining following his one-sided decision win over Nate Diaz (12-8). The TKO win is Rory’s third in four fights in the Octagon and it sends a bold statement that he is ready to face the big boys.
Jorge Rivera: Rivera needed a win badly at UFC 133. His trash talk blitzkrieg prior to UFC 127 and the resulting KO loss left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths, especially to newer casual fans. The loss to the young and relatively unknown Philippou also means that it has now been 18 months since the last time Rivera recorded a victory in the Octagon. While it’s doubtful he will be cut from the promotion, Rivera may be looking at a trip to Strikeforce following the narrow defeat in a lackluster bout.
Dennis Hallman: About the only thing worse than wearing the tiniest Speedo in UFC history is getting brutally TKO’d in the tiniest Speedo in UFC history. Dennis Hallman was hunting fir his third straight UFC win and the validation he needed to get back into title contention as a welterweight but instead he lost position following an early Rear Naked Choke attempt and got beaten to a pulp by Brian Ebersole, the man with funny shapes shaved into his chest hair to mock his opponents.
Yoshihiro Akiyama: “Sexyama” has massive crowd appeal, especially in the coveted Japanese market that has eluded Zuffa for so long. However, the Japanese golden boy can only suffer defeat so many times before his legitimate place on the UFC main cards, especially Pay-Per-View main cards, becomes completely unjustifiable. A 1-3 record in the Octagon with three straight losses may well be the breaking point that sees “Sexyama” sent back to the Land of the Rising Sun or at least the Spike TV aired prelims.
Mike Pyle: Pyle’s train of victorious UFC appearances was effectively derailed at the brutally efficient hands of young up-and-comer Rory MacDonald at UFC 133. While it is highly unlikely that Pyle will receive walking papers from Zuffa over the loss, it knocks the 35-year-old fighter several notches back down the many-runged welterweight ladder. Ascending the mountain towards the UFC Welterweight Championship is almost like climbing the stairway to heaven – the division is so deep and the aging Pyle can’t afford a setback like this one if he ever hoped to witness the view from its peak.
For the full list of UFC 133 fight results and bonuses, click here.