UFC 155 produced no shortage of accolades for its participants. Cain Velasquez is the new heavyweight champion. Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon each picked up $65,000 for Fight of the Night – Miller’s 5th bonus, Lauzon’s 12th. Todd Duffee took home Knockout of the Night honors. And John Moraga had the only submission of the evening, making him $65,000 richer by default. Although it was a sweet choke. These men get to strut around town like the studs they are, and bang the wives and girlfriends and sisters of their fallen foes. But what about the rest of the cast? Sure some of the fights were less than thrilling, to say the least, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some measure of recognition for these brave warriors.
Most Excruciating Press Conference Appearance: Yushin Okami. If you can stomach sitting through the post-event press conferences listening to the same moronic questions asked over and over again, you may have noticed Okami sitting there, stoic as ever, eliciting no attention whatsoever from the press. It’s actually brutal to watch. Thankfully, and presumably out of pity, a couple of reporters addressed him late in the conference, with one even inquiring about how he almost got shot by Chael Sonnen’s mom. That guy saved the day.
Best Innocent Dishwasher Look: Erik Perez. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you know most of the back end is worked by Latinos of questionable immigration status. They do the dishes, bus the tables, and clean up. And they’re pretty much the sweetest guys in the world. Erik Perez looks like one of these guys. He has an innocent face that I can so picture standing there working the automatic dish washer in a 90 degree kitchen for $4 an hour. But the dude is a stone cold killer who is now 3-0 in the Octagon – all by violent first round stoppage. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT fuck with the innocent looking dishwasher.
Best Freudian Slip: Joe Lauzon. In hands down the best moment of the press conference, and perhaps the history of the world, Lauzon described the blood pouring from the gaping hole in his head as, “The warmness spewing all over my face.” Yep, I swear to God he did.
Worst Gameplan: Chris Leben. When faced with an exhausted opponent, as illustrated beautifully by Cain Velasquez, one should put constant pressure on him, never allowing him to recover. What did Leben do when it was obvious that Derek Brunson was gassed to open the second round? He slowly walked him down looking to land that left bomb. He didn’t stalk. He didn’t clinch. He didn’t go for takedowns of his own. He just plodded along, looking for that one punch bomb, en route to a lackluster decision loss.
Most in Danger of the Unemployment Line: Melvin Guillard. Bet you never thought Mel would be in such a precarious employment situation. Guillard has now dropped four of his last five, and three of those were by first round stoppage. It’s clear Mel just cannot figure out how to win. Sure, we all know he sucks as jiu jitsu. But for a guy as athletic and explosive as he is, with such great takedown defense, he should be doing much better than he is. He seems to suffer from a double conundrum of a dangerously low fight IQ (remember, this is a guy who tried to fight off Jim Miller’s takedowns by throwing a plethora of flying knees), and the inability to find a middle ground for his mistake-prone explosiveness and his more laid back/take a valium approach. I suspect Mel will survive another day, but he’s on very shaky ground.
Most Botched Plastic Surgery Look: Junior Dos Santos. Sure, Joe Lauzon had a hatchet wound on his forehead, but Junior was just a complete wreck up from the neck up. He had bigger lips than Mick Jagger, and more bruises and cuts on his face than Ponyboy. Junior endured the kind of sustained beating that takes years off a person’s life. All I can say is, God I feel for his next opponent.
Worst Eyebrow Waxing: Jon Anik. I don’t know if Anik was in a rush and did a home job, or if his usual wax girl was out with scabies, but he needs to look at the tape, and reevaluate the cost/benefit analysis of waxing his eyebrows. His shit actually looked painted on, like an old lady does after a lifetime of plucking to one day realize, “Oh damn, I have no eyebrows left.” Not a good look for a guy who makes his living in front of a camera.