UFC on FX 8 is in the history books and last night’s event provided some very entertaining scraps, some controversial decisions and some excellent finishes in the final fights. Before getting into my post-fight analysis of this card, including what’s next for the winners of each bout, I’m going to make a slight complaint to the UFC.
I rarely complain about matchmaking or what fights make the televised portion of cards, especially cards that are on free television, but what the hell was the opening bout between Rafael Natal and late-replacement Joao Zeferino doing on the main card? In Natal you have a grinding, plodding fighter who isn’t really known for doing much of anything exciting, unless he’s on the receiving end of a knockout, versus a late-replacement fighter who is making his UFC debut and is likely to gas horribly after taking the bout on only a week’s no tice. The end result was a slow, plodding affair and the UFC missed the chance to show off a couple of exciting Flyweight fights, both of which were buried on the Facebook portion of the prelims. Or even the Featherweight bout between Nik Lentz and Hacran Dias, which had some importance to the divisional rankings in that division.
Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal defeated Joao Zeferino via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
I’ve already made my complaints about this fight being on the main card known, and it was for good reason. The opening round of the contest was exciting as the two men engaged in mostly a stand up battle over the course of the first, before exchanging knee bar and heel hook attempts. After that, Zeferino was exhausted and his pace slowed noticeably. Natal took control in the final two rounds and used a dominant wrestling and top control game to dominate the action on the mat and pound away at an extremely exhausted Joao Zeferino. In the end he took home the Unanimous Decision nod.
What’s next for Natal? He’s winning fights, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of big name victories on his resume. He probably deserves a step up in competition but if he takes too big a step, he could be in trouble. The winner of an upcoming bout between Tim Boetsch and Mark Munoz could be a decent candidate. As could a bout against CB Dollaway.
What’s next for Zeferino? He was a late replacement and stepped up on short notice when the UFC needed him, he’s more than likely going to get another shot in the UFC. They’ll probably bring him back for another fight in his home country of Brazil. I suspect he could also be cannon fodder for someone like Uriah Hall who will be looking for a bounce back opponent after his disappointing loss at the TUF finale.
Lightweight Bout: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Evan Dunham via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds
As expected these two Lightweights engaged in an exciting back and forth brawl that was pretty close. Close inspection of the Fight Metrics statistics for this fight showed an extremely close bout. Myself, I scored all three rounds for Evan Dunham, as I thought he was the fighter often landing the bigger punches and who earned more takedowns and had better takedown defense throughout the entire three rounds of the fight. This fight again shows us though how dangerous it can be to leave a fight in the hands of the judges. Despite most fans and observers believing Evan Dunham had won the fight, all three judges disagreed and handed dos Anjos the hometown decision.
What’s next for dos Anjos? He got the victory and although it’s a bit controversial, it was still a very close fight. Still dos Anjos looked entirely too hittable throughout the fight and struggled to keep Dunham under control any time they scrambled on the mat. He’s cracked the top 10 of the Lightweight rankings and will get a suitable opponent, but it might be a dangerous match up. Donald Cerrone and KJ Noons have an upcoming bout at UFC 160, the winner of that fight would be a good match for dos Anjos to test his striking skills.
What’s next for Dunham? Despite taking a loss here, it’s not likely that the UFC will punish him too much for it. Afterwards on Twitter Dana White claimed that ‘Evan Dunham was ROBBED!’ so the boss at least thought he won. I doubt he takes a big step back at all, and may even take a step forward. I expect he gets a top fifteen fighter coming off of a loss. Mark Bocek was the last man to lose to dos Anjos, that fight would make sense. It might also make sense for him to take on Thiago Tavares when he returns from suspension.
Middleweight Bout: Ronaldo Souza defeated Chris Camozzi via Technical Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) at 3:37 of Round One
Domination. Many people figured that despite his impressive winning streak heading into this fight, Camozzi was simply overmatched and was going to get wrecked. They were right. Souza showed off his continually improving Muay Thai skills, pressuring Camozzi on the feet before landing a trip takedown and absolutely schooling Camozzi on the mat. He switched beautifully from an Omoplata to an Arm Triangle Choke and coaxed Camozzi to sleep quickly.
What’s next for Souza? This bout was originally scheduled to be against Costa Philippou. After the bout many people said Jacare should face Belfort in a number one contenders match, but that’s a bit soon and even Souza admitted that himself at the press conference. Top contender Yushin Okami makes some sense, but I think the best bet is to go back to the original match up against Philippou.
What’s next for Camozzi? He stepped up with very short notice to take on a tough opponent. The UFC isn’t going to punish him too much for putting a solid winning streak on the line against Souza in Brazil. Despite the UFC’s preference to face fighters coming off wins against each other, I think Camozzi deserves a chance to face his original opponent for this card Rafael Natal.
Middleweight Bout: Vitor Belfort defeated Luke Rockhold via KO (Spinning Heel Kick) at 2:32 of Round One
Go on YouTube and find this knockout. I’m not even going to talk about it, it’s just a thing of beauty. What I will talk about, is that this win possibly is still clouded by all of the TRT questions about Vitor, but he remains a dangerous fighter and is proving that he’s only getting better with age. In his last 11 fights, he’s lost only 2, to the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Champion and Middleweight Champion. Impressive stuff.
What’s next for Rockhold? There are a number of decent Middleweights who are coming off of losses to match up with Rockhold here. Alan Belcher is primarily a striker and recently lost to Michael Bisping, matching those two up would make sense. A match up against former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard could also make sense, as both are champions from other organizations trying to get on track in the UFC.