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Intrigue-filled card doesn’t disappoint


I’m not sure how far the list extends, but there are certain things in life that rarely disappoint.

Your dog. Finding money you didn’t know existed. Making that yellow light.

An Ultimate Fighting Championship card with all sorts of intrigue.

The thinking was, UFC 175 would offer such a show Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

That was before Uriah Hall broke a toe in the first round of his middleweight bout to the point that part of it was pointing toward Idaho and an exposed bone was pointing toward Wyoming.

Which pretty much guaranteed a memorable evening for those watching.

There were fireworks …

A day after the skies lit up across the valley for July Fourth festivities, Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida offered their own sparks in a main event middleweight fight.

Weidman won a unanimous decision to retain his belt for a second time, but not before Machida offered glimpses of the former light heavyweight champion who was so impressive in another era.

“He was quicker than I thought he would be,” Weidman said. “Every time I thought he would do something, he did the opposite.”

There was mastery …

Rick Pitino once gave someone his best 15 seconds.

Ronda Rousey needed only 16 to dispose of Alexis Davis in a bantamweight co-main event and hammer home this question as she did Davis’ face: Is there anyone who can come close to hanging with the baddest woman on the planet?

The few names haven’t changed.

Cris “Cyborg” Justino might. But there is still the issue of whether the Invicta featherweight champion could make 135 pounds, and if UFC president Dana White will come off his stance that he won’t sign her after a positive test for steroids in 2012.

Because, you know, the UFC has never welcomed or kept a fighter with performance-enhancing drug issues …

Enter eye roll here.

Holly Holm might give Rousey a fight. She’s a former boxing champion and a mixed martial arts fighter who is the bantamweight champion for Legacy Fighting Championship. There is also Gina Carano, who last fought in 2009 and has since turned more to acting and modeling. She would sell tickets and pay-per-views. She turns a lot of heads.

I’m not sure she would last longer than Davis.

It appears that bare, the cupboard of those capable of competing with Rousey, who is 10-0, has successfully defended her title four times and won all but one of her professional fights in the first round.

It’s good for business if she keeps winning.

Dominance sells.

But it might be nice to see a second round every now and then.

Even the Pitino kid once gave us more to write about, and he lasted a second less than Davis.

There was stomach-turning toughness …

Hall showed why White considers him a rising star.

He also showed an ability to deal with serious pain. He broke his toe on a front kick in the first round against Thiago Santos, but still scored a unanimous decision over three rounds.

They say Hall is often too nice for this sport. I’m thinking the exposed bone and the way he dismantled Santos over 15 minutes might change some minds.

Or this could: “If life comes at you hard and you get knocked in the face with punches, get up and say, ‘You’re a bitch,’” Hall said.

There was concern …

Feel for Stefan Struve today. The heavyweight was scratched from his fight against Matt Mitrione after Struve suffered a panic attack and blacked out in his locker room beforehand.

The same Struve who was told in August he had a bicuspid aortic valve that potentially could jeopardize his ability to fight. The condition restricts the flow of blood and oxygen between his heart and aorta. It’s serious.

They weren’t going to take any chances with Struve on Saturday, and that’s a good thing. The last thing anyone wanted was a potentially much more serious moment playing out during a fight.

There was this truth …

Friendship sure has a way of standing in the way of potentially great UFC fights. Urijah Faber did as expected, beating Alex Caceres by a third-round stoppage via rear-naked choke, but what does it mean for the guy who is 31-7 and one of the all-time best in his division?

Faber is good friends and a training partner to new bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, and there has been this standing unwritten rule among top UFC fighters that when it comes to opposing someone so close, it’s not something either desires.

“I don’t want to fight Urijah,” Dillashaw said before the card. “We’re best friends. It’s pretty tough to ask me to try and beat him up. Martial arts is more of a team thing. We respect each other a lot. It’s different from boxing.

“I guess if there were enough zeros on a (paycheck) that would put a smile on both our faces, we might agree to it.”

I guess it really does always come back to money.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.