The UFC’s first ever foray into Australia is complete after this past weekend’s UFC 110 which took place live on February 21st from the Acer Arena in Sydney.
Heavyweight phenom Cain Velasquez (8-0) stole the show as he knocked out the legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Noguiera (32-7-1) in the first round of their main event fight.
Velasquez now joins Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, Junior Dos Santos and company in an overly crowded field of top heavyweight contenders. Mir and Carwin will do battle for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 111 in March to see who will face Brock Lesnar in his return to the cage, health permitting of course.
Meanwhile, for Noguiera things aren’t as defined. Still just 33 years of age, the veteran of over 40 fights has to get back to the drawing board after simply losing to a better fighter at this moment in time. Noguiera looked excellent in his August win over Randy Couture and there’s nothing to say he has regressed in the last five months. Velasquez just wouldn’t let us find that out.
Also emerging out of 110 was the Arizona State light heavyweight prospect, Ryan Bader who scored a knockout win over Keith Jardine late in their bout. Bader, 26, improved to 12-0 with the win and certainly staked his claim to start fighting some top contenders.
On the other hand, Jardine (14-8-1) is quickly becoming the 205 lb division’s gatekeeper. He has been unable to string together a win streak longer than two in the past three years and that has seen his status at a top contender tumble.
Wanderlei Silva was able to earn a unanimous decision win over fellow middleweight Michael Bisping in their co-main event fight, yet looked rather wild and sloppy in doing so. Neither fighter was impressive, sadly. One positive thing coming out of this fight is Bisping, hopefully, will realize he’s nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.
And finally, in the fight of the night, the Australian native George Sotiropoulos (12-2) out jiu-jitsu’d the BJJ black belt and favorite Joe Stevenson (36-11). In doing so, he looked extremely impressive. Sotiropoulos has certainly earned himself a top five fight in the near future.
So with 110 in the books, we turn our eyes to March and the UFC’s debut on Versus on March 21st and UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy.