Vitor Belfort was the night’s biggest winner. He knocked out Michael Bisping with a nice head kick in the second round of the main event in front of his adoring Brazilian fans, and he won an extra $50,000 in Knockout of the Night cash to boot. C.B. Dollaway and Daniel Sarafian took home Fight of the Night honors for their competitive clash. And Ildemar Alcantara snatched Submission of the Night and 50 Gs for his sweet kneebar on Wagner Prado. But there are others equally deserving of our praise. Here they are.
Most In Need of a BJJ Class: Wagner Prado. Holding the embarrassing rank of blue belt despite being a professional fighter from Brazil, Prado just looks lost on the mat. When he got schooled by Phil Davis, it was easy to shake that off. After all, Davis is a world-class grappler. And it’s not like getting submitted by IIdemar Alcantara – a Brazilian who actually knows how to grapple, is anything to be shamed by either. But, looking like a fish out of water on the ground in two fights in a row is not good. And a kneebar? Really? Who falls for that shit at the top level beside Prado and Brock Lesnar?
Always the Bridesmaid: Michael Bisping. Since entering the middleweight division in 2008, Bisping has racked up a very respectable 9-4 record. The only problem is that every time he’s been pitted against a top opponent in a big fight – the kind where title shots are awarded, he comes up short. Now Bisping has dropped two out of his last three, and unless some extraordinary set of circumstances plays out at 185 in the near future, he’s out of the title picture for at least the next year while he tries to get back on track. However, at 33 years old with 28 fights to his credit, this may have been Bisping’s last shot. It’s bittersweet, really, cause as much fun as it was watching him get blasted with that kick, we’re now deprived of witnessing the criminal beating he would have undoubtedly received from Anderson Silva.
Worst Officiating Moment of the Night: Up for grabs. Take your pick between Yuri Alcantara’s no-contest for his legal shots to Pedro Nobre’s head, or Thiago Tavares taking about eight unnecessary elbows to the temple. In Yuri’s case, it was a bad refereeing call, as well as a broad confusion of just what constitutes a blow to the back of the head that cost him a W. Although I hear the UFC still paid him his win bonus, which is very cool of them. In Thiago’s case, he was going to lose no matter what happened; he just didn’t need to eat that many elbows in the process. Even in a beer induced stupor I can recall hollering at the television for the ref to get in there, then when it was quite apparent that wasn’t going to happen, for Thiago to let go of that fuckin’ leg and protect his head for the love of God. Regardless, both instances lead us to our next distinguished honor…
Dana White’s New Favorite Shitty Ref: Dan Miragliotta. Not quite sure what was up with Big Dan last night. Usually he’s a very solid ref. With in-cage officiating, it’s usually best not to judge too harshly. Referees are tasked with making split-second decisions that affect fights, fighter safety, fighter pay, divisional standing, organizational planning, and public perception. It’s a substantial responsibility. However, there was nothing split-second about allowing Tavares to get needlessly bashed in the head repeatedly. Big Dan wasn’t across the cage when that was occurring. He wasn’t getting up from a fall. He wasn’t standing there picking a wedgy out of his ass. He was RIGHT there, watching it happen. I can give a pass for the head strikes transgression because I’m not sure there’s a person out there who knows what’s really what on that. But allowing a guy to get mercilessly beaten when it’s so obvious he’s done requires a calling out. Somewhere in the world Steve Mazaghatti breathes a sigh of relief.
Most Undeserved Fearsome Reputation: Ben Rothwell. Can we finally put to bed the whole undefeated IFL thing, as if the IFL means anything anymore? Good. Because Ben Rothwell is a fighter who, while big, strong, and undoubtedly tough, has some seriously suspect MMA skills. The guy just doesn’t seem to do anything particularly well, at least at the UFC level. Sure, he knocked out Brendon Schaub, but that sort of thing tends to happen when a 260 pound man touches the jaw of a guy whose chin is constructed of bubble gum and rubber bands. They’ll wisely keep Big Ben around, big-ass heavyweights always draw attention. But let’s be honest here, Rothwell is a gatekeeper…at best.
Empty Gas Tank Award: Daniel Sarafian. At 5-9, Sarafian is one of the middleweight division’s shortest members, along with Rousimar Palhares and Hector Lombard – both 5-8. His vertically challenged comrades at least have a thing they’re known for: Palahres for unsportsmanlike leg-locks and batshit insanity, and Lombard for vicious KO power and a vast understanding of how to emasculate a foe by using a brilliant verbal flank to attack his dick size. Sarafian, if he’s to remain at 185, carrying all that muscle and continuously gassing out, needs a shtick.
Weirdest Call Out: Vitor Belfort. In his post-fight interview, Vitor thanked the almighty for giving him the ability to kick dudes’ asses, as he always does. He then went on to call for a title shot. Understandable, considering he’d just knocked off a top contender in Michael Bisping. Only Vitor wasn’t calling for a shot at Anderson Silva, he called for a shot at Jon Jones. Is Vitor a middleweight, a light-heavyweight? It’s not too clear right now. One thing is clear though: he aint getting’ no title shot. It was only four months ago that he lost to Jones. The thought of Vitor at 205 is interesting though. After Jones demolishes Chael Sonnen, he and Vitor would make for some fun pre-fight shit talking.