UFC Fight Night 93 went down this past weekend in Hamburg, Germany. While the European cards may lack the star power of the North American PPV and Fox events, they tend to deliver on action and interesting storylines from an array of unique characters. If you missed it, here’s five things we learned from the UFC’s return in Germany.
The Warmaster still has it
He doesn’t get older, he gets better. Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski traded leather in the very first exchange of the fight which saw both behemoths take a knee. However, after the blood rush settled it was Barnett who was able to take control of the fight and the synched in a rear naked choke in the third round, forcing the tap from Arlovski. Alternating wins and losses since returning to the UFC, this was his second main event slot within a last year, proving his importance to the promotion. With only a few wins in the heavyweight division required to get yourself into title contention, Barnett may still have time on his side and with performances like the one he showed on the weekend is still a threat to most of the top 10 ranked fighters. How about a rematch with Mark Hunt next, who has been a perennial contender in the UFC as of late? Pride Never Die.
Gus back on track
No style points on offer here but it was immensely important for Alexander Gustafsson to get back to winning ways just to get some of his confidence back. Getting the better of his former training partner, Jan Blachowicz, over the course of three rounds leading to a unanimous decision was a good start to a new campaign as he now will no doubt continue his build toward a third title shot. It’s unclear how long Jon Jones will be out for but if the suspension is six months then how about Jones vs Gustafsson 2 at UFC 206, which takes place on December 10th, back at the scene of their first match at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Canada.
Bader sends Latifi to the dark side
Is Ryan Bader the most under appreciated fighter in the light heavyweight division? With is only loss in the last three years coming to Anthony Johnson – the third best 205lb’er behind champ Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones – Bader is now 6-1 in his last seven and his latest was a highlight reel knockout of Ilir Latifi very reminiscent of Jose Aldo’s knockout of Chad Mendes at UFC 142. As Latifi ducked his head down, Bader threw a vicious right knee which caught the Swede flush on the chin, catapulting his body backwards in an arch before his head bounced off the mat. If Jones indeed get suspension amounting to a year or more, then how about Gustafsson vs. Bader? Two top contenders, vying for a title shot and a fresh match up at 205lb.
Evans-Smith builds momentum
After a rocky start to her UFC tenure that saw Ashlee Evans-Smith lose to Raquel Pennington via submission at UFC 181, the Californian has started to build some momentum. Following her win over Marion Reneau this past February, she was able to best Veronica Macedo in Germany. Securing a TKO victory after a barrage of elbows in the third round was enough for the referee to step in and stop it. With the 135lb championship belt becoming the hot potato of the UFC’s women’s division it can only take 3-4 wins before you can stake a claim for a title shot – and Evans-Smith is half way there and looking more promising with each outing.
Germans win home game
German’s Peter Sobotta and Nick Hein got their hands raised in victory thanks to unanimous decision wins over Nicholas Dalby and Tae Hyun Bang respectively in what was the first event to be broadcast free to air in the country since 2009. Increasinlgly seen as the spokesmen of the sport in a country where politics have stunted MMA’s growth in the past, with the support of the UFC’s continued efforts to bring annual events to the market it can only mean good things for the next generation of MMA fighters to come out Germany.