MMA Access: Ricardo Lamas – Knocked Out Without Even Being Given A Title Shot
By Paige Berger
As the dust settles on what was a crazy three weeks in the world of mixed martial arts, we’re left with two weeks to reflect on the changes, results and fight announcements that occurred amidst the chaos before the mayhem undoubtedly begins again.
Two would be title challengers awoke from their unconsciousness to find they were no longer at the front of the line for a title shot. In the middleweight division the brash Brit Michael Bisping saw his title hopes dashed by hometown hero Vitor Belfort in Brazil at UFC on FX 7. In an even more unthinkable knockout, former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem was dominated in a lackluster performance against Antonio Silva at UFC 156 in Las Vegas.
As both of those weight classes are left scrambling for a new contender to feed to their respective kings, a true contender emerged in the featherweight division.
In the first fight of the main card at the UFC’s sixth appearance on cable giant FOX, Chicago native Ricardo Lamas turned in a performance more than worthy of a title shot in his hometown. Just two minutes into the second round the 30-year-old connected devastating elbows and punches to the head of opponent Erik Koch earning him a TKO victory. The win was Lamas’ fourth in a row and kept his record inside the Octagon a perfect 4-0.
Since coming to the UFC after the WEC merger, Lamas has destroyed the title hopes of three straight top contenders, and has only gone to decision once. His destruction has left Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and the aforementioned Koch wondering what went wrong and starting their climb to the top all over again.
With only one loss in the last 39 months, “The Bully” has finished four opponents while recording three very decisive decisions. He should be primed for the next shot at 145lbs powerhouse, and the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever seen, Jose Aldo. However, Lamas finds himself stuck in an era that’s seeing fighters awarded title shots via verbal jabs rather than hard work. Thus, he is left on the outside looking in as Anthony Pettis will make his divisional debut in a championship bout against Aldo in August.
The coming months will see Chael Sonnen and Nick Diaz both fight for a title after losing their previous matchup and Frankie Edgar just dropped his third straight title fight appearance.
Pettis is certainly more deserving than any of these men, but where the problem lies is in the division in which he’s deserving. “Showtime” has never fought at featherweight, and as recently as a year ago, refused to drop to that very division. The Duke Roufus prodigy claims he’s dropping because he doesn’t want to wait, yet he won’t be fighting Aldo until August. That’s six months from now. In the lightweight division, the one he doesn’t want to wait on, Benson Henderson is scheduled to take on Gilbert Melendez in April. Baring injury, there is no reason the winner of that bout wouldn’t be ready to go come August. This logic would seemingly render Pettis’ thought process invalid.
Now, Lamas is left on the sidelines wondering what is next for him. He’s cleared out the entire division – and done so in such a dominant fashion that it should be a no brainer to put him up against the champ.
He’s articulate, dominant, good looking and fluent in both English and Spanish. With the UFC’s impending expansion into Mexico and other Latin American countries, Lamas is the marketer’s dream and fighting for a title would only add to that.
* Photos courtesy of UFC.com
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