It's an active time of the year for the world of mixed martial arts, coming off two impressive pay-per-views as we gear up for the return of the sport's biggest crossover star. But it isn't all about Ronda Rousey and her quest to regain her throne as the queen of women's MMA. There's a lot going on in the sport, as usual.
Last Saturday's UFC on FOX card, designed with the goal of promoting future superstars for the promotion, provided some fun fights with results that UFC as a business entity probably wasn't too thrilled about. But the unpredictable nature of the sport is part of the reason why the fans are as passionate and dedicated as they are.
This article takes a look at the biggest headlines making the rounds and dissect what they mean for the organization and the sport as a whole.
Here's the 5 biggest storylines of the week coming out of UFC on FOX: Van Zant vs. Waterston
5. Two Highly Touted Prospects Fall In Sacramento
The main event of 17 December's free card was Paige VanZant facing off against Michelle Waterson. From the moment she debuted for the company the UFC has thrown their marketing muscle behind VanZant in an attempt to create another star for the women's MMA division. She has all the tools outside the cage - she's attractive, well-spoken, and charismatic - with an appearance on Dancing With The Stars - yet when it comes time to throw hands, outside of her last KO of Bec Rawlings she's been less than spectacular.
Her opponent Michelle Waterson is a hot prospect in her own right and someone fans should keep their eyes on, but many expected PVZ to walk away with the victory. She was the focus of the promotion, but despite her best efforts she tapped to an RNC in the first round. Paige will be back, but it's time for the UFC to accept that she's not ready for the spot they're trying to force her in.
In the co-main event, Mickey Gall, the man known for ending CM Punk's brief foray into the world of MMA (or did he?) took on UFC posterboy Sage Northcutt. The two had a nice little tussle but Gall's ground game proved to be too much for Sage, submitting him with an RNC of his own. Northcutt is impossibly polite and maybe the fact that he has the demeanor of a missionary building schools for homeless children rather than someone paid for inflicting violence is a weakness that his opponents will continue to exploit.
Much like PVZ, Northcutt is nowhere near ready for the spotlight he's been thrust into, so maybe it's time to shift it on to Mickey Gall and see if he's up to the pressure. He's already showing a tremendous amount of confidence, saying that if he drops to 155 he'll be champion within two years.
Brad Hamilton is a writer, musician and marketer/social media manager from Atlanta, Georgia. He's an undefeated freestyle rap battle champion, spends too little time being productive and defines himself as the literary version of Brock Lesnar.