Two wily welterweight veterans squared off on Saturday night in Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story. The two had a combined 22 UFC fights with a record of 15-7 before throwing down. Story and Pyle entered the fight heading in different directions.
At age 37, Pyle is on an impressive three-fight streak of knocking opponents out (he is actually 6-1 in his last seven fights). Story, who was the hottest prospect in MMA in 2010, is on a 2-3 skid, where his only wins have come against the less-than-memorable fighters Brock Jardine and Quinn Mulhern.
The two combined for a crafty, exciting match that saw some big hits and slick grappling. Pyle ended up getting the better end of a close split decision that had some (but not all) fans displeased.
So what did we learn?
The Welterweight Division Is Really, Really Stacked
Mike Pyle came into this fight with 6-1 record in his last seven fights. Rick Story owns wins over Jake Ellenberger, Thiago Alves and Johny Hendricks. Neither Pyle nor Story is close to the welterweight Top 10.
That is absurd and shows how deep the UFC's talent pool is at 170 pounds.
Both Pyle and Story would be champions in any other promotion in the world by now, but they find themselves miles away from a shot at UFC gold. The same, unfortunately, goes for guys like Dong Hyun Kim and Mike Pierce.
That, though, is the blessing and the curse of a crowded division.
The UFC Has a Problem with Mike Pyle
Yeah, seriously. While Pyle is one of the craftiest dudes in the division, there is no way around the fact that he has minimal name recognition and an advanced age.
He just keeps winning, though, and the UFC is running out of ways to keep him from moving toward the belt. It's tough to give an explanation why Pyle shouldn't fight a guy like Nick Diaz or Robbie Lawler next.
Unfortunately for him, he will likely wind up against Nate Marquardt or Siyar Bahadurzada.
Rick Story's Days Near the Top of the Division Are Over
You might not agree with the decision. Regardless, Story is 2-4 in his last six bouts.
It's strange, really. Story, after all, owns wins over Thiago Alves, Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks. Those are elite fighters.
Still, he is racking up losses, and that six-fight winning streak from a few years ago seems further and further in the past. Story's job may be on the line right now, and he will need a win desperately in his next fight, if he isn't cut in the coming weeks.
UFC 160 Is Totally Stacked
Seriously, look at the preliminary card on this event. It's absurd how many established or worth-watching fighters are on this card. If you could watch any card so far in 2013, this would be the one to check out.
While some haven't been happy about how the split decisions have been going, that doesn't mean it has been a bad night of fights. In fact, it's been excellent.