Top Performance: Jon Jones. It wasn’t that he won – he was supposed to win. It wasn’t the sweet americana he busted out – he’s a submission machine. It was the perseverance he displayed. Caught in a nasty armbar early in the first, Jones fought through, and even with a damaged arm he battered Vitor Belfort for the remainder of the fight, and may have won back some fans in the process. Jones had never been put in a bad position before, and he showed us a little piece of his heart, and for a fighter who stumbles over his words, that sort of communication is more than enough. Nothing wrong with being a man of few words; hint, hint.
Least Appreciated: Demetrious Johnson. The Toronto fans weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure with the flyweight championship fight, even though it was a non-stop, back and forth affair. The problem with the little dudes is that even though they’re great fighters and can probably go ten hard rounds without gassing, the element of excitement is absent when fans know there’s pretty much no chance at a finish. Nonetheless, it was a great performance that did not warrant the boos. Mighty Mouse clearly won the belt, and with the dough he earned maybe he can, finally, get those ears taped back.
Fight that Should Never be Spoken of Again: Matt Hamill vs Roger Hollett. If you had to take a major dump and figured this fight was a good time to handle that bit of business, then good for you. You missed nothing. The fight was just bad all around. Hamill looked slower then ever, and Hollett showed that a fighter can actually make it to the final bell without producing any offensive output whatsoever. It was impressive, really, just not in a good way.
Mugged of a Bonus: Vinny Magalhaes. Vinny’s armbar on Igor Pokrajac was a thing of beauty – the setup, the technique, the finish. And it was early in the first round when Igor was fresh. Jon Jones ended up taking home the Submission of the Night bonus though, and while his americana was damn nasty, it was against round four Vitor who was already beat to shit. Perhaps the powers that be were taking into account level of competition. Perhaps they figured Igor played right into Vinny’s hand with his ill-advised takedown and that was bonus enough for Vinny. Who knows? But the UFC does like to keep the fight bonuses on the main card, and that’s kind of a little bit of bullshit.
Best Bloodbath: TJ Grant vs Evan Dunham. These guys earned their Fight of the Night money by standing center cage and beating the God for saken shit out of each other. Grant showed excellent stand-up, particularly his jab, while Dunham employed a strategy of using his face to block punches, and the ensuing bloodbath was opera-level beauty.
Best Knockout: Cub Swanson. Competing with Seth Baczynski’s super-impressive knockout over Simeon Thoresen on the Facebook portion of the event, Cub had his work cut out for him, but he ended up winning the Knockout of the Night loot with his awesome KO over Charles Oliveira. Oliveira got cracked, took a step back, kind of as if his mind was contemplating sending the signal to his body that he was really knocked out, then dropped like a sack of potatoes. Both KO’s were awesome, but one was viewed by very few people on Facebook, while the other was on the main card.
Least Samson-esque Hairdo: Charlie Brenneman. Ole Charlie likes to sport a serious afro, that’s just how he roll. But if he’s hoping to derive some divine powers from it, like the great biblical slayer of Philistines and wrestler of lions, Samson, then he’s on the wrong track. Since putting himself on the map with a win over Rick Story, Brenneman has gone 1-3 – losing by submission once and getting knocked out twice. Sure, maybe that stoppage was a tad early, but I wouldn’t call it ‘bad’ by any measure. He got dropped, and was getting pounded when the referee stepped in. Only then did he shoot for Kyle Noke’s leg. Maybe he would have been fine had Josh Rosenthal not stopped it, maybe he would have gotten beaten through the canvas. Either way, if he rocks the ‘fro for stylistic purposes then fine. If it’s for some sort of godly powers, then his next training session should be with a barber.
Most Heart-Breaking Loss: Lance Benoist. Losing the majority of a fight, only to come alive at the end and beat the snot out of your opponent, and damn near earn a finish, then to lose the decision must really suck, especially when you have to go through life with the name Lance.
Highest Ranked Fighter to Finally Beat a Top 10 Opponent: Michael Bisping. One of the fighters MMA fans love to hate, Bisping is a strange case. He’s a Top 5 middleweight despite having never defeated a Top 10 middleweight, until this past Saturday night that is. Bisping was able to avoid the huge punches of Brian Stann and take a clear-cut deicsion. And now he wants his title shot. I’m not sure a win over Stann warrants that shot, and I doubt the UFC will grant it. More than likely, Bisping will have to win another one. A three fight win streak is impressive, but not when two of those wins are to a senior citizen and a guy who likes to get naked and loot churches.