Five rounds: How far can Urijah Faber carry this second act?

UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber returned to the octagon on Saturday in his hometown of Sacramento, California, as a tough loser against prospect Ricky Simon. He abandoned the winner after an impressive final of TKO in the first round. Faber, 40, was asked after the victory for his next step, and was not shy in his ambitions.

"I think (the UFC bantamweight champion) Henry Cejudo called me a while ago," Faber told Michael Bisping. "I heard that Dana White said I was old, I know Dana White was old when he was 40, but I'm a young man."

What's left for Faber? Our MMA panel, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim, answers that and other questions from UFC Fight Night.

How far can Urijah Faber take this second act?

Okamoto: I'm starting to really question if the man is really 40 years old. And I can not be the only one. ABS. The locks. Good looking children Who looks like this at 40? I think Faber can still have very meaningful fights, even at 40, and I think if the cards fall well, the most important is the return of TJ Dillashaw in 2021. That's a long way, but I know for sure that Faber I would. I love having it, and it's one of the biggest fights, if not the biggest one, that I could still have, because of the history there.

I do not think he will return to a championship fight. I just do not have too many names in front of him, and frankly, I do not want to see Faber insert himself into the "mix" of the 135 pound title. Take a funny fight here and there, and depending on what happens, get that big payday in 2021 against Dillashaw.

Urijah Faber, at age 40, returned to the octagon on Saturday and knocked out Ricky Simon in the first round. Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports

Raimondi: This victory back opens great doors for Faber. Simon was 15-1, a 26-year-old prospect with a high reputation who entered. It was the favorite; Faber was the weakest in his hometown. At age 40, Faber was able to finish Simon in 46 seconds, the fastest knockout of his career. Wild Things This should lead to a great fight for Faber, but it is not clear what that fight is. Maybe a rematch with Renan Barao or Eddie Wineland?

There is still a lot to do in a bantamweight title, even though he and Henry Cejudo have expressed interest in him. Faber, however, is a member of the UFC Hall of Fame, a proven ticket seller and, obviously, he still has a lot of game left. I'm not sure if he should throw himself with a top-10 opponent yet, but if he wins one more he could be in that mix. If you win two more, maybe the title talk is not completely crazy.

Wagenheim: Faber rode into the sunset three years ago, and less than a year later, he was in the UFC Hall of Fame, a gold star for his legacy. Seeing him leave his corner on Saturday to meet Ricky Simon's featherweight, he could not stop thinking: Why Urijah, at 40, is risking the memory of that glorious song coming to ba …

And then he knocked Simon down with that big head shot, invaded him for the quick end and The California Kid had gotten over. Although it did not stop there. Faber immediately called the two-division champion Henry Cejudo. Why wait?

Does Faber deserve a shot in Cejudo's bantamweight belt? Of course, no. But the UFC pairing likes to follow the money. So I would not be surprised if Faber wins some green. I would do be surprised, however, if you win gold. Simon's quick KO was impressive, but as Urijah himself said, there are levels in this game. Simon is a long elevator ride below the Cejudo level, at this point in his career, anyway, since he is young, and a 40-year-old Faber is not at the champion's penthouse level either. There are more challengers who deserve than Urijah. However, I can not criticize the call.

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Okamoto: I mean, she could knock it out. That is the potential problem. She is so talented. She hits him so hard. She has experience. She has fought against Nunes before. Of course, he is likely to enter as a sizeable loser, but he has the size to deal with Nunes athletics and has numerous weapons on his feet. She can hit in the clinch, and at a distance. She has good cardio. His takedown defense has been ready in recent years. She is the legitimate contender No. 1. And although I probably will not bet that the reign of Nunes title comes to an end, I'm not excluding Randamie absolutely If they cross by the title.

Raimondi: De Randamie has suffered a lot of heat over the years, some of which they deserve. However, you feel that you are not willing to fight Cris Cyborg, "The Iron Lady" is a great fighter. If that fight with Nunes for the bantamweight title is next, De Randamie has a chance as good as any. GDR will bring a reach advantage, her exceptional amazing skills from years of kickboxing and an evolving MMA game with her in that fight. She has improved a lot since Nunes defeated her in 2013, which was her last defeat. Now, Nunes has also improved. Of course. But right now, when you look at women's bantamweight rankings, there does not seem to be anyone better prepared to face Nunes than Randamie.

Wagenheim: De Randamie was 37-0 as a professional kickboxer, winning four world championships. She can take a hand. But two years after he left kickboxing for good in 2011, he entered the UFC cage with Amanda Nunes, and the Dutch did not do so well. And the Nunes that gave Randamie a loss to TKO in the first round were not the same fighters as today's Nunes. "La Leona" has dramatically elevated her game, and I do not imagine that Randamie presents any problem that he did not have the first time. That they were none.

However, I agree that Randamie gets the fight for the title he won, if the UFC is willing to give a chance to a former champion, the promotion was eliminated for refusing to accept a challenge. But he would be more excited to see Nunes defend his 145-pound belt in a rematch with Cris Cyborg: Randamie's wife refused to fight.

Did Herb Dean make the correct detention call?

Okamoto: Look, trying to criticize a fight stoppage is difficult, because knowing when to stop a fight is difficult. I want referees to err on the side of caution, in general. Better to be safe than sorry, right? In this case, however, I think Dean stopped him too soon. I think Dean reacted to the way Ladd initially fell, which is not bad in itself, but he did not relax completely. She did not face the plant. She really restrained herself and was in the process of sitting down and slowly reaching for a leg. Does the outcome of that fight change if Dean lets it go a few more seconds? Probably not, honestly. But that is a main event, with a potential title opportunity on the line. The strike was early.

Germaine de Randamie eliminated Aspen Ladd in the first round in Sacramento on Saturday. Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports

Raimondi: At first, I thought absolutely no. It seemed that Aspen Ladd still had a fight in it. He turned to face De Randamie and sought to defend himself, maybe even attack with a takedown from the sitting position. After seeing it a few more times, I can understand what referee Herb Dean saw. Right after De Randamie's knockdown, Ladd was on his hands and knees, looking the other way, not defending himself because of the approaching blows. Dean intervened when De Randamie went for a follow-up shot, which she missed. By the time Dean was able to enter completely between then, Ladd was defending.

It was a call from Dean for a fraction of a second: they are very difficult to do. I can understand that the fans and Ladd want a little more time. She seemed to recover fairly quickly from the initial blow. But it was clear that Dean was trying to protect her from any unnecessary harm. I can not blame him for that, I just wish these situations were a bit more consistent in MMA as to when the fights stop and when the injured fighter is allowed to move on.

Wagenheim: Herb Dean is the best referee in this sport, and I will live with his criteria. Could he have given Aspen Ladd the chance to defend himself on the ground? Maybe, where he was sitting. But Dean was much closer than I was, and I could see things that the rest of us could not see. The job of an arbiter is to protect the combatants, and unless it is a flagrant mistake, this is not all, I will not kill Herb for a detention call like this. I am much less annoyed by what could be an early strike than by a late strike. For me, references should always err on the side of security.

How much did Aspen Ladd's shares fall with tonight's result?

Okamoto: Not much in my opinion. She was playing with the house money. This was an important step in the competition for Ladd, and it is easy to simply attribute it to "too much, too soon". It also has some controversy in unemployment, although I personally do not invent much in that. If you think the strike was early or not, the fact is that Ladd got absolutely rocked Within the first 20 seconds of the fight. She was not ready for this place, or this opponent. That does not mean that your roof is lower than it was last weekend. I still have incredibly high hopes for Ladd. You just hope that the disappointment and the damage she suffered in this fight does not take her too far.

Aspen Ladd, on the right, suffered his first professional loss on Saturday against Germaine de Randamie. Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC / Getty Images

Raimondi: An incremental fall, if that. Ladd is 24 years old. She is not even close to her best athletic moment yet. There is a great possibility that she will be a future UFC champion. Ladd is complete and has a great killer instinct, which you really can not teach. She was caught by a kickboxer expert with a world of combat sports experience that is more than a decade older than her. Happens. No one remains undefeated forever, for the most part.

All Ladd needs is one more victory to get back on track, and two more could put him in position for a title shot. This is only a small setback, especially considering that many thought the fight should have continued when referee Dean intervened to stop her after De Randamie's takedown hit. The only part of the Ladd game that needs to be sharpened right away is the weight cut. Even if she was nervous on the scale, which caused chills and a few seconds of fear, this is a problem that needs kicking. That's much more than a red flag than a knockout loss for De Randamie.

Wagenheim: The main events are supposed to provide answers, but this did not produce anything other than questions, at least on Ladd's side, after seeing it eliminated with the first blow that Randamie threw.

Did the UFC push the 24-year-old too fast? There was certainly an experience gap between her and her 35-year-old opponent, who has been fighting as a professional since Ladd was 5 years old. But Ladd had a high rating, so at some point he should be called to prove what he has. De Randamie had been away for more than a year and had fought only once since February 2017. If there was a moment to enter with a veteran like De Randamie, this was the time. (Until it was not).

To what extent does this loss cause Ladd to return to the bantamweight division? The direct answer is that a loss is not the end of the world; It is how a fighter responds that matters in the long term. But I wonder if the bantamweight is the place for Aspen in the first place. Did you see her on the scale on Friday morning, shaking and staggering and not looking like someone who should be in a cage fight in 18 hours? What effect did the unbearable weight cut have on her? It's hard to say after only 16 seconds, but no one will ever convince me that a wrestler who looks like that in the weigh-ins can appear on the night of the fight at his best.

What was your favorite fight of the night?

Okamoto: Faber against simon I'm a fool, ok Close second is Josh Emmett against Mirsad Bektic. The close third is Andre Fili against Sheymon Moraes. But I was lucky to be Octagonside for the co-main event, and if I'm honest, all this warmed my heart. The strike The knockout I've been covering this sport for 10 years. I've seen Faber fight in Sacramento many times. It was like a step back in time for me. I loved.

Ryan Hall improved to 8-1 as a pro with a victory over Darren Elkins on Saturday in Sacramento. Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC / Getty Images

Raimondi: When Ryan Hall is fighting, I can not look away. Then, I would have to choose Hall's unanimous decision victory over Darren Elkins here. Nobody in the UFC fights like Hall, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu savant. He is a throwback to another era of MMA, when the specialists ruled the place. However, it is clear that Hall has made great strides in his coup. He dropped Elkins with a rotating kick and left lefts.

Hall is a master strategist, he does not get many punches, and if he does not take you to the ground, he could hit you on the head with something that is not orthodox. The fans booed him a little because he would not be involved in a fight. But as far as I'm concerned, Hall is seeing appointments.

Wagenheim: Give me more fights from Ryan Hall. How about next Saturday? What about tomorrow? I will look at it. For me, there is an endless intrigue in the unorthodox, whether in martial arts or the arts in general. Hall seems to be creating at the moment, splashing on the canvas like an abstract painter, improvising as if he were in a jazz club. It's frustrating to fight, I know, but that's part of its appeal. Hard elite guys like Darren Elkins, a 35-year veteran of the previous 31 professional fights, go in there with the skinny Hall, ruthless and sleepy-eyed, and do not know how to attack him or even defend himself. Elkins was so hypnotized by Hall's apparent maneuvers that he fought against the maneuvers, that he was first wounded by a great kick, and then by a great blow. Hall put together a complete fight, and I was completely entertained.

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