People can continue to rag on the UFC Flyweight division. Complaints about lack of depth in the division might have some truth to them, but complaints about the quality of fights that the division have put on need to be laid to rest. With the co-main event of this card filled with trash talking and bad blood, the UFC Flyweight Championship headliner took a back seat to the Welterweight grudge match. In the end, it was the Flyweights who turned in a Fight of the Night performance while the Welterweights stunk up the arena and were showered with boos for the majority of their fifteen minute dance-routine.
In the main event UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson put on a dominant display, outstriking, outhustling and straight up outworking the overmatched challenger John Moraga for four straight rounds. Clearly up on the scorecards, Johnson decided not to coast for a victory and continued to press on, his efforts were rewarded as he earned the first stoppage of his Flyweight career with a late submission via arm bar. In the co-main event the action was light and neither man looked overly interested in getting knocked out by an opponent who had talked so much trash. In the end Rory MacDonald used an excellent jab to badly outstrike Jake Ellenberger for the full fifteen minutes. Despite the dominant performance, MacDonald did nothing to up his stock in the division, as the action-light affair was showered with boos and even earned some rage from UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference.
As usual, it’s time to take a look at what’s next for the UFC main card winners and losers, and take a look at where they go from here.
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Liz Carmouche defeated Jessica Andrade via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 3:57 of Round Two
21-year old Brazilian newcomer Jessica Andrade looked fairly impressive in the first round. She was well composed and picked her spots wisely, but was often overmatched physically by Liz Carmouche. In the second round, Carmouche completely took over. Andrade rushed Carmouche but was slammed to the ground for her efforts. From there Carmouche mounted the Brazilian and began a vicious ground and pound onslaught. Andrade survived and rolled for a good three and a half minutes, but Carmouche was with her every step of the way, holding dominant positions and continuing to drop bombs. Eventually referee Herb Dean had seen enough and he stopped the fight with just over a minute left in round two.
What’s next for Carmouche? There’s a bit of a crowd forming at the top of the Women’s Bantamweight division, so Carmouche is going to need to win a few more bouts before she gets another crack at champion Ronda Rousey. Canadian grappler Alexis Davis recently made a successful UFC debut, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see these two ladies hook it up next.
What’s next for Andrade? She stepped up when the UFC needed her to, and at only 21-years-old she is still a solid prospect that will likely remain with the UFC. She’ll probably get a slight step down in competition for her next bout. Rosi Sexton is coming off of a loss, but I could also see the UFC pairing her up with an Invicta FC Fighter who might be making her UFC debut.
Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler defeated Bobby Voelker via KO (Head Kick) at 0:24 of Round Two
Joe Rogan was having a slight love affair with Lawler during the commentary for this bout, showering him with praise and compliments. Lawler for his part, deserved most of it. He looked relaxed, composed and in-shape for his two round destruction of Bobby Voelker. Voelker was a late replacement, but was coming off a slugfest with Patrick Cote where he showed an incredible chin. Didn’t matter to Lawler who beat him up for most of the first round with uppercuts, flying knees and solid combinations. In the early part of the second round a massive head kick landed for Lawler that dropped Voelker and a few follow up shots sealed the deal.
What’s next for Lawler? He was originally expected to face the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine at this bout, before an injury changed the plans for that bout. That bout still makes sense, but Saffiedine doesn’t have a lot of name recognition and two straight knockouts for Lawler may move him past that bout. Still it’s probably the fight that makes the most sense.
What’s next for Voelker? He’s lost two straight bouts in the UFC, but he loves to stand and trade and was willing to take on a dangerous fighter on short notice, basically he’s the UFC’s favorite kind of fighter. I expect him to get a more favorable match up in his next bout. The loser of the upcoming bout between Jason High and James Head might make sense. They might also use him to rebuild Strikeforce imports Jordan Mein or Tyron Woodley after tough losses though.
Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenberger via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
Don’t watch this fight. Unless you’re a massive fan of the jab’s use in modern MMA and want to see just how terrible striking defense can be at the top level of the Welterweight division. Rory MacDonald used a strong, fast, accurate jab and not much else to defeat Jake Ellenberger handily for three rounds. For his part Ellenberger looked flat and frozen for much of the bout, unable to get anything going. He rarely shot for takedowns, he threw punches that weren’t even close and he chose not to utilize any head movement as he stalked forward. It was a dominant performance for MacDonald but his lack of urgency or aggression will likely due him no favors in the UFC’s and fan’s eyes.
What’s next for MacDonald? He’s clearly a top talent and he keeps calling out Carlos Condit wanting to avenge his only career loss. The bout makes sense as they are two of the top fighters at Welterweight. However, Condit is already set to square off against Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27 on Fox Sports 1. If Condit wins that bout he should fight MacDonald. If Kampmann scores the upset, then he should take the bout against MacDonald instead.
What’s next for Ellenberger? The loss is bad news for Ellenberger. He talked a ton of trash heading into this bout and then did nothing to back it up. Not only did he get beaten and beaten badly, he looked pretty bad doing it, in a fight that the fans booed non-stop. His stock has certainly tumbled. A bout with Nick Diaz would make sense if Diaz decides to fight in the UFC again. If not Josh Koscheck might make sense as would a bout against Thiago Alves if he can get back into the cage after multiple injuries over the past year.
UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Moraga via Submission (Armbar) at 3:43 of Round Five
The UFC’s Flyweight Champion turned in his most dominant championship performance to date. Johnson’s submission actually beat out Anderson Silva’s previous record for latest stoppage in UFC history. Johnson was 12 for 12 in his takedown attempts and passed guard for dominant positions a staggering 14 times during the contest. Moraga found brief success with a massive right hand in the fourth round, but that was about his only highlight from the bout as he spent the rest of his time trying to handle the offensive onslaught of Mighty Mouse.
What’s next for Johnson? He’s defeated all of the top contenders in the division and he’s talking about superfights with Bantamweights, which Dana seemed open to at the press conference. Unfortunately the UFC Bantamweight and Flyweight Champion doesn’t have the same allure as GSP-Silva or Silva-Jones, but it’s an option. Joseph Benavidez dropped a very close Split Decision to Johnson in the inaugural title bout, and he will have three straight wins if he defeats Jussier da Silva at UFC Fight Night 28. I’d expect Benavidez to get the next crack if Johnson doesn’t face Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao next.
What’s next for Moraga? He took this fight after two straight Facebook fights, so it’s likely it was a case of too much, too soon for him. Still he’s a promising fighter with a decent skillset. Heading into this bout, his lone loss was against John Dodson at a regional show in 2010. With both of them being the last men to lose to the Flyweight Champion a rematch makes some sense for both men. Plus it would be a highly entertaining scrap.
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