The UFC has closed the book on another free event on network television and they have to be pleased with the results. Although the broadcast started with some technical issues, and many fans were left complaining when some Fox affiliates switched to re-runs of the Big Bang Theory during the main event of the evening, fans were treated to some exciting fights and brutal finishes throughout the night. Topping it all off is strong ratings results, which peaked at 3.77 million viewers for the broadcast.
Featuring a nasty, bloody and brutally violent ground and pound finish, some of the most scintillating striking on the planet, a Light Heavyweight slugfest and two of the UFC’s fastest athletes battling it out for a full 25-minutes, this card had it all. Let’s take a look at the fights, and see what’s next for each main card fighter.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Featherweight Bout: Ricardo Lamas defeated Erik Koch via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 2:52 of Round 2
What began as a well-matched chess match between two great fighters got violent quickly. In the first Lamas looked to take Koch to the ground, but Koch defended well and was able to get off some decent shots before the closing of a very close first round. In the second round, an inadvertent slip by Lamas spelled the end for Koch. He tried to follow Lamas to the ground, but tripped himself and ended up underneath of Lamas after a brief scramble. From there Lamas fired off some nasty elbows and punches, one of which opened a gruesome cut on Koch’s face. It certainly left the Fox executives feeling antsy as they refused to show Koch after the fight and even spray-painted over the blood inside the cage.
What’s next for Lamas? Likely the winner of the upcoming UFC Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 next weekend. Lamas is now 4-0 since dropping down to the Featherweight division and has looked more and more impressive with each consecutive win. Throw in the quality of names he’s beaten in his past three bouts Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch and he surely deserves a shot.
What’s next for Koch? A bit of time to get back into the swing and a chance to rebuild himself. He needs to prove that he can handle talented grapplers as well as strikers, so someone well rounded enough to challenge his skills. Perhaps a bout with Nam Phan or Diego Nunes who both recently suffered losses would work for Koch.
Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis defeated Donald Cerrone via TKO (Liver Kick) at 2:35 of Round 1
This one had Fight of the Night contender written all over it, unfortunately for fans, it didn’t last long enough to live up to the hype. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis certainly lived up to his nickname, throwing a wild variety of flashy strikes at Cerrone en-route to a one-sided beating. In the end it wasn’t a capoeira wheel kick or a Showtime Knee off of the cage that did the job, but a steady liver kick that ended Cerrone’s night. With the TKO victory Pettis became the first man to ever stop Cerrone via Strikes.
What’s next for Pettis? Dana White was finally convinced that Pettis deserves a title shot that has eluded him in the past. With Benson Henderson scheduled to defend his Lightweight title against final Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez at the next UFC event on Fox, I would expect Pettis to be cage side for a post fight stare down.
What’s next for Cerrone? Let’s take a look at the people who have been successful against ‘Cowboy’ in the past, Pettis, Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson, the last title challenger, a future title challenger and the current champion. Cerrone remains a tough test for almost any other fighter and his success outside of the top 3 makes him a viable gatekeeper for the division. A bout with Joe Lauzon could be highly entertaining, as could a bout against Thiago Tavares.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira defeated Quinton Jackson via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds
This was supposed to be Rampage’s final bout in the UFC and many people thought he would come in out of shape and simply there for a paycheck. That proved not to be the case, but he was still soundly outclassed by Teixeira. Teixeira was certainly not flawless in victory but he managed to land some big blows, including a few that wobbled the usually iron-chinned Rampage. He also used well-timed takedowns and ground and pound to control the action the rest of the way. It was a fairly dominant performance, but probably not quite enough to elevate him to top contender status as of yet.
What’s next for Teixeira? He looked good beating up on Rampage, but that story is kind of getting old for a lot of fans. Jackson isn’t the fighter he once was, and although the Brazilian dominated him, he still showed some weaknesses that will need to be shored up before his next contest. Only two fighters really make sense to me for him at this point, Ryan Bader who came off an impressive victory on the undercard, or Rashad Evans should he get by Lil’ Nog at UFC 156 next weekend.
What’s next for Rampage? Retirement maybe? It’s probably his best option, but there’s still a lot of money to be made for him in smaller organizations so I doubt he’ll hang ‘em up. He seemed to be admitting to himself after the fight that he wasn’t a top tier fighter anymore, but he’ll still command top dollar on the open market. I expect to see him in Bellator or regional promotions knocking out cans for years to come.
UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Dodson via Unanimous Decision after 5 Rounds
The first title defense for the UFC’s Flyweight champion got off to a bit of a rough start. He was dropped a couple of times in the first two rounds and seemed a bit surprised to be in the cage with someone who could match his speed. Still even after dropping a couple of rounds and being dropped, he continued to push the pace and in the championship rounds he let his conditioning to the talking for him. With Dodson’s gas fading Johnson showed off some impressive Muay Thai skills, battering the challenger with knees from the Thai plum. In the end he couldn’t find a finish in the final round, but he did seal up a Unanimous Decision.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]What’s next for Johnson? Unfortunately with a division this young, there is a bit of a lack of challengers. That usually leads to rematches, which is somewhat unfortunate but necessary while the natural contenders emerge themselves. John Moraga and Louis Gaudinot are emerging as contenders, but the biggest stars other than the champion are Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall. They face off next weekend, with the winner likely to get a title shot even though they have a combined 0-2-1 record against Johnson in the past.
What’s next for Dodson? Anyone really. He’s a tough match up for anyone and he’s highly entertaining. Any Flyweight will probably do, but it’d be best to keep him away from the major up and comers. Perhaps a bout against Louis Gaudinot in a battle of former TUF alums.