UFC BrasiliaTakeaways: Cris Cyborg Obliterates the Competition, But Who’s Next?

September 25, 2016

Not too long ago, Cris Cyborg was persona non grata in the UFC. Ronda Rousey was the darling of the company and its leaders didn’t believe they needed Cyborg.

Times have changed.

For Cyborg and the UFC, and for Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, it’s a new era, albeit for different reasons. Somewhere in the middle of Cyborg and Silva is Renan Barao trying to find his place again at the top of the mountain.

UFC Fight Night Brasilia also reminded us that underdogs can still win, and even knock out the so-called 15th best fighter in the world. And we may have experienced the emergence of the next great UFC color commentator.

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UFC Brasilia is in the books. Let’s look at what matters going forward.

Renan Barao Bounces Back

When Dominick Cruz was on the shelf, Renan Barao was dominating the bantamweight division. He won the championship and some were even calling him the best fighter in the world. But then he met T.J. Dillashaw, who rewrote the script and made a human out of Barao, knocking him out twice. So his fight or flight instincts kicked in and he flew to the featherweight division, where lost his first fight to Jeremy Stephens. But Barao proved there’s still a lot of fight left in him against Phillipe Nover, winning a unanimous decision. Barao looked quick and aggressive. He may have another championship run in him.

Dominick Cruz Has Mic Skills

We already know Dominick Cruz is one of the best fighters in the world. At UFC Brasilia, he showed he’s also one of the best announcers. His technical expertise inside the cage crossed over to the booth. Cruz was non-emotional, simply giving the straight-talk, explaining each fighter’s skills and weaknesses. His analysis of the Barao match was fun to listen to, and he put Cyborg over in a big way, legitimizing her as more than just a spectacle fighter. She’s a threat to everyone.

Lina Lansberg Gave Other Fighters Hope

Lansberg pretty much took a beating from Cyborg throughout the fight, but she showed something along the way. She showed that she could take a great punch. She showed that she had the skill to tie Cyborg up. She showed that she could make Cyborg work for a knockout. This gives hope to other fighters that if they have a great game plan, there may be a way to defeat Cyborg. Could Holly Holm pull off a master strategy, like she did against Rousey, and defeat Cyborg in a dream fight? Lansberg survived long enough to give some fighters hope.

Bigfoot’s Big Problems

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is a great UFC fighter. He holds a victory over Fedor Emelianenko, after all. But he has lost five of his last six fights — all by knockout — one of which was to Frank Mir, who is not a big puncher. Silva’s chin is questionable these days. He’s had a great career with some shining moments. Silva may be about to bounce back, but he’s getting knocked out too often for him to be considered a force in the heavyweight division anymore. Maybe he should be one of those guys who transitions to the next stage of his career, and ends it in Bellator.

Cris Cyborg: Who’s Next?

It’s undeniable: Cyborg is a beast. She’s a great striker, in great condition. Who can beat her? It’s pretty clear now why Rousey didn’t want to do a catchweight fight at 140 pounds with her. It’s hard to imagine Rousey overpowering Cyborg into a judo throw then slapping on an armbar. She might be able to do it, but unless her stand-up has improved, she’s never going to get through Cyborg’s offense. So where does that leave Cyborg? She could barely get her weight down to 141 pounds for the Lansberg fight. She’s clearly not getting to 135. The UFC doesn’t have a 145-pound division. Cyborg said after the Lansberg bout that she just wants big fights in the UFC and she is not worried about a championship. That’s too bad. The UFC should create a 145-pound women’s division and see what happens. Holm is the most obvious fighter who would have any chance right now against Cyborg. Let’s see the fight at 145 pounds.

Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina.

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