UFC 168 and RU Fighters in 2013
By SGT Awesome
On December 28th, 2013 the UFC will finalize an insane year for the premiere brand of mixed martial arts. While I could wax philosophical for ages about a changing of the guard, a passing of giants or how Tim Kennedy makes me giggle on Twitter, I shall refrain and instead look quickly back at the year for Ranger Up sponsored fighters and then look forward to what should be an amazing final card of the year.
The first Ranger Up-sponsored fighter to hit the Octagon in 2013 was February 23rd at UFC 157. She was also the very first woman to step into the Octagon… ever. Liz Carmouche entered the ring and would end up giving Ronda Rousey her toughest fight to date. While the final result was ultimately the same as the rest, there was a moment in the fight that I was honestly worried that I would witness the first death in the Octagon. Liz had taken Ronda’s back and had her head twisted so far that I personally was almost paralyzed just by watching. It was a great fight to let the masses know that the ladies meant business and were here to stay! Liz would go 1-1 in her next two fights in the Octagon, finishing a tough Jessica Andrade and losing a lackluster decision against a very tough Alexis Davis.
The next fighter to enter the cage was UFC veteran Brian Stann. On March 3rd he went full Marine against Wanderlei Silva. The two beasts went toe to toe… nay, they went fist to chin, over and over, until finally Brian’s gigantic, granite, chiseled mandible failed first. To the remiss of fans everywhere, it would be his last fight in the Octagon as he would retire months later to be a full time model for Ranger Up.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 (Carwin vs Nelson) winner Colton Smith would be the next Ranger Up sponsored fighter to make his debut in the Octagon on May 25th. Unfortunately, the cards would not turn well for Ranger Smith. Faced with incredibly stiff and skilled opposition, he was TKO’d at UFC 160 by Robert Whittaker. Then at Fight For The Troops 3 he would be choked out by submission specialist Michael Chiesa.
Finally on July 6th, perennial Strikeforce title contender, Special Forces sniper, and Ranger Up’s best looking fighter in a girl’s wig, Tim Kennedy entered the Octagon to represent America in the first of three America vs Brazil fights on the Independence Day card. He faced literally the world’s best grappler and managed to out-grapple him to what the fans would describe as a boring unanimous decision.
Throughout the year Tim had matches against opponents appear and disappear like everything else in Vegas. To counteract this trend he would take to Twitter to find his own opponents and once Lyoto Machida decided to dodge him for an easier fight, Kennedy decided to dip into his ridiculous side. He challenged virtually every UFC fighter in his weight class and many outside of it until finally Rafael Natal (not the tennis guy) bravely stepped up to fight him on short notice in front of thousands of fellow Soldiers at Fort Campbell in the main event of Fight For The Troops 3. After people stopped chanting “Ranger Up,” Tim remembered he was in a fight and not a beauty contest and quickly knocked out Rafael.
As of this moment, Mr. Kennedy is the only Ranger Up sponsored fighter in the UFC entering 2014.
Speaking of America versus Brazil, we finally get the rematch of that epic UFC 162 main event. Let’s look at a few of the main fights.
Starting with the big boys at Heavyweight we have Josh Barnett vs Travis Browne.
I really am almost too excited for this fight to address it. They are both stalwart fighters who finish far, far more often than not. While the long term veteran (and future standup comedian) Barnett is maybe a bit more versatile, Browne is a knock out artist most recently putting walking steroid Alistair Overeem to sleep. Browne is longer, but smaller. He is not as well rounded, but younger… ahhhh. I don’t know!!! OK, fine. I’ll go Browne by TKO.
The penultimate bout is the rematch of Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate.
My wife forced me to watch some of this season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring these two as coaches and it made me question some of my life choices. While Tate is certainly not innocent in their ridiculous “feud” Rousey does nothing but make me hope she does end up fighting Cain Velasquez. The only time I’ve ever wanted someone to lose more than Rousey is when I watch any fight with Michael Bisping… but it’s close. Unfortunately, this will end in Rousey armbar, and if you think differently I’ve got some beach front property in Atlantis to sell you for cheap!
Finally we have Chris “How’s your face now?” Weidman versus Anderson “Haha, I’m playing… oops” Silva 2.
This is the fight that every single MMA fan has been talking about since July 7th. Even after Jones-Gustafson and GSP-Hendricks. This is easily the most anticipated rematch if only because of the controversy surrounding it. While it sounds silly now, many people after this fight thought Silva threw it. Having watched it live, let me tell remind everyone of a real fan’s immediate post fight thoughts:
“AHHHHHHHHHH! AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Seriously. My mind is still blown from watching it. How on Earth do I analyze this fight? Five rounds?? Does Silva come out hungrier than we’ve ever seen him? Does Weidman keep his cool and follow his game plan? Both can win this fight in any area at any point. The one thing I think is least likely is it not ending in a finish. I think both fighters want to make this fight definitive and leave fans without a doubt on the winner.
I pick… Silva by TKO. I just don’t see the greatest fighter of our generation making the same mistakes again.
Let us know your picks in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. If anyone picks all of the fights 100% correctly you get to fight Tim Kennedy in a Kumite Death match!