UFC 166 delivered with a wild night of fights. Fans were left standing on their feet as Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez exchanged punches back and forth in one of the nastiest fights I have ever seen. At the top of the hour we witnessed the heavyweight trilogy come to a close when Cain Velasquez successfully defended his title against challenger JDS in their third meeting.
After the card, everyone, including UFC president Dana White, claimed that UFC 166 was “the best card ever.” After getting to watch the whole card, I wasn’t disappointed, but I couldn’t disagree more. The card delivered, but you can’t put classic events and fights in the paper shredder just because a decent report came along with an A-.
Claiming that a card “is the best,” is just a great way to market the event. If fans hear that the event didn’t deliver, what makes them want to watch it? Stating that the card “is the best,” puts it on high replay alert. It works all the time, and in fact, it worked on myself.
I wasn’t able to watch UFC 166 live and ended up purchasing the replay based on all the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great night of fights and I was not disappointed in the purchase. I just don’t think that other cards that were better in my opinion, should have to suffer because fans, spectators, journalists, and company owners get caught up in their own web of marketing. It’s the out with the old mentality that makes past events just wasted memories.
UFC 166 had many finishes and great fights, but in no way did this card mass other cards like UFC 1, UFC 4, UFC 31, UFC 34, UFC 47, UFC 49, UFC 44, UFC 52, UFC 79, UFC 92, UFC 100, UFC 116, UFC 132, UFC 136, UFC 139, UFC 144 and UFC 146.
When I hear the term “best card ever,“ I expect great fights, finishes and to never ever forget what I have seen. UFC 166 delivered, but give it a few months and certain fights on the card will be irrelevant. When you mention cards like UFC 49, every fight on that card is still burnt into my brain.
UFC 49 featured big names like Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Randy Couture, Yves Edwards, Chris Lytle, Joe Riggs, Josh Thomson and of course Nick Diaz. The night featured the anticipated rubber match between light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture.
Every fight besides one ended in substantial fashion. Only one fight went to a decision that night, and it was a classic battle that any true mma fan will never forget between Karo Parisyan and Nick Diaz. Diaz and Parisyan put on show and delivered in one of the best fights ever. Both men battled on the feet and went toe to toe when it came to grappling and the clinch. Parisyan won via split decision and the fans were left wanting more. I still want more of that fight.
The night itself started off with a bang as Chris “Lights Out” Lytle and Ronald Jhun brawled it out. Lytle would use his striking to set up a nasty guillotine choke in the second round. The second fight of the night still resonates in my mind and is one of the best highlight reel KO’s in UFC history. If you have never seen the Yves Edwards head kick knock out of Josh Thomson, do your eyes a favor and let them witness this KO magic.
The next two bouts would last a total of 1:38 as Mike Kyle and Matt Lindland would be left staring at the lights with help from Justin Eilers and David Terrell. Both of those knockouts are classic in my book. The night would just get better with the Diaz/Parisyan fight and a Joe Riggs submission victory. If the event couldn’t get any better, fans witnessed Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell do what he does and knock out Vernon White in the first round. That co-main event delivered, unlike the one at UFC 166.
Now, when you talk anticipated rematches, yes JDS/Cain 3 was much needed, but who can forget about Vitor/Randy 3? Maybe this fight was more anticipated to me and others due to the fact of how their second fight ended. Was this a better fight cause the challenger won?
If JDS won, would UFC 166 top UFC 49? I don’t think so. Randy and Vitor was a better fight because it wasn’t one sided. Cain and JDS didn’t live up to the hype in my opinion. After watching their second bout, it was clear that Cain was the better all-around fighter, and he proved it.
When Vitor and Randy fought for the third time, it was anyone’s title to claim. Couture beat down Belfort in a bloody war (tko doctor’s stoppage), left the fans frozen in their seats, and left with the UFC light heavyweight championship. This is still my favorite card from top to bottom.
What’s your favorite UFC card of all times?