Week 3 of NCAA action has come to a close. It was the most eventful week of the season thus far. There were a few ranked teams that were dethroned, many of which by other ranked teams. This was also the toughest week to narrow down all of the excitement into 3 stories. So let’s take a look at 2centsworthofsports.com’s top 3 stories.
#21 STANFORD UPSETS #2USC
Stanford Stadium was rocking as #21 Stanford Cardinals played host to #2 USC Trojans. Stanford has gotten the best of USC in the last three years, but those were teams led by now NFL rookie Andrew Luck. It was unknown if Stanford could keep the streak alive on Saturday night. The Cardinals proved they still have USC’s number in a 21-14 win over the Trojans. Cardinals running back Stepfan Taylor had a great performance, rushing for 153 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. Stanford’s Quarterback Josh Nunes threw the game winning 37-yard TD pass to Zach Ertz with 11:10 remaining in the final quarter. With this win Standford moves to 3-0 for the season while USC now has a 2-1 record. USC is bowl eligible for the first time in 2 years and will now need to fight if they want to make it to the National Championship this year.
PITT SHOCKS #13 VIRGINIA TECH
Pitt came out strong on Saturday against #13 Virginia Tech. Pitt scored 14 unanswered points on Tech in the 1st quarter and led the game at halftime by a score of 21-3. Pitt won the game 35-14 and received strong performances from QB Tino Sunseri and running back Ray Graham. Sunseri was 19-28 passing and threw for283 yards with 3 touchdown passes and only 1 interception. Graham rushed for 94 yards and had 2 touchdowns. It was another story for the Hokies who struggled early on defense and their offense could not bring them back into the game. Hokies QB Logan Thomas was 14-31 and threw 3 interceptions. This win will likely put Pitt in the top 25 ranking and move the Hokies into the back of the top 25.
ARKANSAS DESTROYED BY #1 ALABAMA AT HOME
Arkansas went into last week ranked #8 and were upset by LA Monroe. That loss had the Razor Backs plunge out of the top 25 rankings. This game was expected to be tough for Arkansas but not a complete blow out. The Tide beat the living crap out of the Razorbacks winning the game 52-0. Alabama’s leading scorer was running back Eddie Lacy who rushed for 3 touchdowns. The Razorbacks did not have one single decent performance. Their leading rusher in the game was Johnathan Williams only ran for 6 yards. Their leading receivers were Chris Gragg and Austin Tate who only had 19 yards receiving a piece. The Razor back had high hopes for the season which have been completely crushed in Weeks 2 and 3. It will be a long season for the Razorbacks this year.
The UFC returned to Loas Angeles, CA and the Staples Center on Saturday night. The event was the UFC’s 4th special on the FOX network. The main show on FOX featured four fights. Two of the fights featured Light Heavywieghts that would determine who will face the winner of the Jon Jones VS Dan Henderson for the division’s championship. UFC President stated earlier this week that the fighter who looked “Most Impressive” would get the future Light Heavyweight Title shot.
The show started with a Welterweight fight between Damarques Johnson and the returning Mike Swick. Johnson dominated the fight on the ground in the 1st round. When the 2nd round began the fight quickly turned around for Swick who was able to grab Johnson’s leg and take him down. While Swick was taking Johnson down when he delivered a knockout punch to Johnson and was victorious in his return to fighting after a 2 year absence.
The next fight had Joe Lauzon defeat Jamie Varner in a Lightweight contest via submission in the 3rd round. This was an incredible back and forth fight that had both men matched up pretty evenly. Varner seemed to get tired as the fight progressed. Lauzon took advantage of Varner’s fatigue with a triangle choke in the 3rd round that forced Varner to submit. Great showing for both fighters but this fight made Lauzon look like a star.
In the 1st of 2 Light Heavyweight bouts, Lyoto Machida defeated Ryan Bader in the 2nd round via knockout. Both fighters stood up during the 1st round and neither fighter took great risk or damage. Early in the second round Machida counter punched his way to a victory when Bader took a chance at charging at Machida with strikes. Machida looked good in this fight and ended it early like he was expected to do.
The Main event and final Light Heavyweight bout took place between Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera. This fight was won by Rua with a knockout in the 4th round. This fight was mostly dominated by Rua who had Vera on the ground for a lot of the fight and landed more strikes. Vera did looked good in the fight with the amount of punishment he was able to take and still push through. Rua won when he knocked Vera down to the ground with a punch against the cage and was able to finish it by punishing Vera. Rua admitted he was getting tired towards the 2nd round and it showed.
Lyoto Machida gets a future title shot.
(Photo By: Josh Hedges/Getty Images)
Dana White after the show was over announced that he felt Machida was “most impressive” and would recieve the future title shot. White’s decision was the obvious and correct one. Jon Jones is likely to be the Champion who will face Machida later this year or early next year. Jones does have to fight Dan Henderson who is a legend in the sport but probably will not be able to defeat Jones. Jones has previously defeated Machida so the fight will be difficult for the UFC to sell. That is the nature of the beast however and the UFC will just have to find a way to market the fight.
This was a solid show with good fights that did not go to decision. The UFC needs to continue to put good shows on FOX so that they can attract more casual fans. It would be to their advantage to put bigger fights on the FOX shows to expand the audience. The UFC feels their main focus should be PPV and not the network specials. At least this turned out to be a good show but the UFC needs to step up their game on FOX if they want to create new fans.
UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.
On Saturday night Las Vegas was home to what will probably be the biggest fight of the year for the UFC. The defending UFC Middleweight Champion Andson Silva took on his strongest challenger Chael Sonnen in their second fight. Silva was dominated for the majority of their first fight but pulled out a victory in the final minutes of the fight with a submission victory. That was 23 months ago, an immediate rematch was demanded by the fans. Due to several circumstances mostly involving Chael Sonnen that fight was delayed. The MMA World was able to witness one of the most anticipated rematches in the history of the sport on Saturday.
The crowd was really hot before and during the fight. Sonnen as he said he would refused to shake hands with Silva. The 1st round was all Sonnen. He took down Silva in the first minute of the fight and had him on the ground for most of the 1st round. Sonnen worked well on top delivering ear shots and from time to time was able to raise his body up and bring punches down on Silva’s head. I scored the 1st round 10-9 Sonnen, it was as close to a 10-8 round you can get.
The 2nd round started with the crowd chanting USA. Sonnen tried to take Silva down early but was unsuccessful. Sonnen went for a judo take down and lost his balance. Silva took advantage of the misstep and pounded Sonnen while he was up against the cage. Sonnen was rocked and could not defend himself anymore and the fight was called at almost 2 minutes into the 2nd round.
After the fight Silva said the the emotions were running high prior to the fight but its MMA and he respects Sonnen. Sonnen had no choice but to accept the show of respect and shake hands with Silva. Sonnen later said that he had his opportunity and that was all he could ask for, he also said that Silva was a deserving Champion.
Despite the loss this fight was beneficial for Sonnen. He was exposed to a greater audience with all of the hype surrounding the fight. He displayed his excellent promo skills and showed he is a really good fighter to many who may have never seen him before. He could be a big draw for the UFC in the future.
Silva will be a UFC Champion for 6 years in October. He has showed himself to be a true champion. Silva will undoubtedly go down in the history of MMA as one of the best champions not only in his weight division but pound for pound.
It is unknown what will be next for Silva however. He will probably not fight again until the end of the year or early next year. It has been rumored that he was considering retirement last year. While he is approaching the age and career length where fighters usually fall back I don’t see him retiring as champion. I believe Silva will continue to fight until he loses the belt. Silva cemented his legacy as a great champion even further on Saturday night and the MMA World will wait to see how long he can continue on as champion.