(What do you get when you have a big left hand and not much else? One highlight in a losing effort. Photo courtesy of SI.com)
This week the Potato Index confronts one of mankind’s oldest problems as we sort through the UFC 102 aftermath, and it goes a little something like this: How much does a fighter’s stock drop if he loses after getting his testicles kicked up into his throat? On one hand, a TKO loss never results in a rise on the Potato Index’s arbirtrary numerical rankings scale, but on the other, simply not quitting and going off to sob in a dark corner is an accomplishment. The answer to this age-old question, and others, awaits you.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira +213
So you thought Big Nog was done just because he looks like he’s a senior citizen and fought like one against Frank Mir? Anybody can have a bad night. He showed on Saturday that he’s still got some bullets in the old gun, at least as long as he’s fighting representatives from the UFC’s AARP wing. Unless someone wants to see him killed, though, please keep him far away from Brock Lesnar.
Randy Couture -56
It’s hard to be too critical of a gutsy performance like that one. He didn’t look old or haggard, and didn’t lose because he was too slow or too weak. He just wasn’t the better fighter that night. Now we wait to find out what’s next, and whether the UFC really plans to give him two more years worth of fights, or if it’s just a way of keeping him off the Strikeforce roster.
Thiago Silva +113
He needed less than a round to find Jardine’s increasingly suspect chin and notch a victory as an underdog. He seemed to think of it as a sure sign that he’s back. We think he’s got a longer climb ahead of him than he realizes.
Keith Jardine -97
We’ve seen him recover from harder left hooks before, but Jardine’s flash chin might be becoming too much of a liability. Two straight losses is never good for your job security.
Nate Marquardt +149
No clash of styles, no epic middleweight contender battle, just one right hand. Apparently Nate had somewhere to be on Saturday night and needed to wrap things up in a hurry. That’s the kind of victory that title shots are made of.
Demian Maia -99
As we wait for the inevitable ‘I just got caught’ explanation, we pause to wonder whether this is a sign that being a specialist in one area can only carry you so far up the ladder. Too soon to say, but we know what we’d spend the next few weeks working on in the gym if we were Maia.
Jake Rosholt +78
After showing some improved striking early on, Rosholt gets smart and decides to beat Leben on the mat after feeling his power on the feet. With it he proved that he can take a punch and even dish a couple out.
Chris Leben -72
Same old Leben. When things get tough it’s all looping, telegraphed punches and foot stomps to the rescue. The days when toughness alone could carry him to victory are long gone. Time to find out if he’s got anything else in his repertoire.
Brandon Vera +65
We can’t criticize a guy for fighting smart, but we also can’t get too excited about “The Truth” if this is the kind of fighter he’s going to be.
Krzystzof Soszynski -63
The only thing worse than winning a lackluster decision is losing one. K-Sos seemed game for much of the fight but never managed to get his offense working. Lucky for him he’s earned a few second chances. We’re eager to see what he can make of them.
Gabriel Gonzaga +59
Not the most sporting of wins, even if he didn’t punt Tuchscherer’s nuts on purpose, but he looked as vicious as ever in putting him away, proving that when “Napao” gets started he’s tough to stop.
Chris Tuchscherer -43
Tough son of a bitch. Even after writhing in pain and nearly puking on the mat he still took a head kick like a man and never gave up. Not the debut he’d hoped for, but we still want to see what he can do when he isn’t outmatched and groin-kicked from the start.
Portland fans +130
They may not have shelled out the kind of cash the UFC was hoping for, but the ones who did show up were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and mostly avoided drunken brawls (so take that, Philly). The UFC will be back, eventually, and when they do hopefully it will be with a better card and lower ticket prices.