UFC Picks: 10 terrible title matches
Upcoming championship fights
This year already looks to be a promising one for the UFC, especially in terms of championship matches.
Jose Aldo defends the featherweight title against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Demetrious Johnson will make the first defense of his UFC Flyweight belt against Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson. Renan Barão will put his UFC Interim Bantamweight championship against Michael McDonald.
The first women’s bantamweight title match will also take place as champion Ronda Rousey takes on Liz Carmouche. Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz will square off in a highly anticipated match for the welterweight title and Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight title on the line against Chael Sonnen.
Since its inception in 1993, the octagon has had its share of world title holders, tournament champions and Ultimate Fighters.
Although fans may get upset because their favorite fighter is having a match before a title, like in the case with Rousey and Carmouche main eventing UFC 157 while former champions Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida fight in the co-main event, titles matches deserve to have their place at the top of the fight card, no matter who is fighting or what belt is being contested.
With the exception of the women’s bantamweight title, every championship in the UFC has had one or two matches that left spectators on the edges of their seat. However there have also been title matches that for one reason or another, left a bad taste in the mouths of fans and critics.
Here are 10 examples of UFC title matches that did not live to fans expectations and had less-than stellar results.
Renan Barão vs. Urijah Faber for the UFC Interim Bantamweight championship at UFC 149
This past year was a rough one for the UFC, especially when it came to having to change fight cards due to injury. Urijah Faber was supposed to face bantamweight champion and Dominick Cruz at UFC 148, but an injury forced Cruz from the fight. An interim match between Faber and Renan Barão was made the headliner for UFC 149.
After a night of less-than-stellar matches, the interim-bantamweight title match had Barão keep his distance while using a Jose Aldo-like strategy of attacking Faber’s legs with kicks while Faber lacked the aggression that he brought to his previous fights.
UFC President Dana White said in a post-fight press conference that he felt like he was at “UFC 33 all over again.”
Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites for the UFC Middleweight championship at UFC 97
After tearing through fighters like Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson, UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva found himself in a less than exciting match against Thales Leites.
For five rounds it was either no action or Leites on the ground. The fans were not having any of this and began chanting for their hero “GSP” as well as other obscenities.
Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia for the UFC Middleweight championship at UFC
UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva was once on the verge of being cut from the organization.
At UFC 112, Silva took on fellow Brazilian Demian Maia. While a match between these two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experts could have an exciting battle on the canvas, the bout mostly consisted of Silva dancing around and taunting his opponent.
UFC President Dana White, who refused to put the title around Silva’s wait, had threatened to cut Silva if the middleweight champion ever performed like that again.
Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn for the UFC Lightweight championship at UFC 112
Speaking of UFC 112, there was a highly anticipated lightweight title match between B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar.
While the lightweight division is known for its explosive matches, the bout between Penn and Edgar promised to be one of the ages.
The match mostly consisted of the fighters feeling each other out with Penn getting a few strikes and Edgar using the stick-and-move-strategy. While Edgar became champion, many felt Penn won the fight. The two would meet again at UFC 118 with Edgar once again remaining victorious.
Mauricio Shogun Rua vs. Lyoto Machida for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship at UFC 104
This match had back-and-forth action between two of the UFC’s most popular and dangerous light heavyweight fighters: Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
What made this fight terrible is the controversy that surrounded the decision. The judges scored the fight for Machida, but there were many fans, fighters and critics and Dana White, who thought Rua had won the fight.
This fight was something of a trend-setter as it seemed that “bad judging” became more common in UFC fights. The result prompted a rematch where Rua beat Machida in the first round via TKO.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields for the UFC Welterweight championship at UFC 129
Georges St-Pierre was defending his UFC Welterweight title against former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields, in his native country of Canada. While the crowd was hot for the UFC champion, St-Pierre decided to play it safe and keep the fight on the feet rather than go to the canvas with Shields, who has been regarded with having one of the best ground games in all of MMA.
The fight was mostly on the feet, with St-Pierre throwing overhand rights. Shields would bust open St-Pierre’s nose and after losing sight, the UFC champion was more careful for the rest of the fight.
St-Pierre would get the decision and once again be criticized for his “safe fighting.”
Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship at UFC 46
Randy Couture and Vitor Belfort are two legends who have earned the respect and love of MMA fans. During their rivalry, Couture and Belfort met in a rematch for “The Natural’s” UFC Light Heavyweight championship.
What was expected to be a brawl turned into a referee’s stoppage after the seam from one of Belfort’s gloves cut Couture’s eye. Although Belfort won the championship, this may have been seen as a fluke as it was Belfort’s glove that did the damage.
Couture and Belfort would finish their trilogy with the Natural winning back his title.
Tito Ortiz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship at UFC 33
UFC 33 has been regarded as one of the worst fight cards of all time and the main event title match between Light Heavyweight kingpin Tito Ortiz and Vladimir Matyushenko helped solidify that claim.
Ortiz, who was originally supposed to face Vitor Belfort fought Matushenko for 25 minutes in a match that had little to no action. Both fighters had less than 100 strikes and fewer than 10 takedowns.
After defending the title against Matyshenko, Ortiz faced Ken Shamrock and would help bring the UFC to a new level.
Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn for the UFC Superfight championship at UFC 9
After losing to Ken Shamrock in their superfight title match at UFC 6, Dan “The Beast” Severn went on to win The Ultimate Ultimate tournament five months later. They meet again in Detroit for Shamrock’s UFC Superfight championship; however there would be new rules.
During this time, Senator John McCain was at war with the UFC and started a letter writing campaign to ban the UFC. Detroit would eventually the UFC to hold their event, but there were special limitations to the event such as: no closed-fisted strikes and no headbutts.
Although Severn was able to bust Shamrock open after a few elbows, most of the fight consisted of the champion and challenger circling one another and the crowd throwing things into the octagon.
The Beast would win the fight and the superfight title by split-decision. Before he retired, Severn tried to talk Shamrock into a rematch, but Shamrock said no.
Steve Jennum vs. Harold Howard for the UFC 3 Tournament championship at UFC 3
It was billed as Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock…or it would have been had the two men were fit to compete finals of the tournament.
A rivalry that started at UFC 1, Shamrock and Gracie had made it to the finals of the eight-man UFC 3 tournament; however Gracie had bowed out in the semi-finals due to exhaustion while Shamrock was injured after winning his semi-final match. Enter Harold Howard and Steve Jennum.
Howard had advanced to the finals after winning his quarterfinal match and then getting a bye to the finals after Gracie forfeit. Unlike Howard, Jennum was a replacement fighter for Shamrock and had not fought in the previous rounds of the tournament.
Jennum won the fight and the championship in 87 seconds by TKO. After UFC 3, the UFC made qualifying matches for replacement fighters.
Tells us what you think?
What are some of the worst UFC title matches you have seen? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA