Barry didn’t check on Morecraft, but it’s safe to say he got some fans. Props: UFC.com
Overall, the UFC’s fourth biggest debut on a television network, which showcased two of the best lightweights coming off of losses and the organization’s second best announcing team, was as successful as it could have been. Sure, there were some long pauses in between the fights, but that’s to be expected when you draw out 60 minutes of actual fighting into a five hour television broadcast. The rattling punches and tapping hands that signaled an early end to many of last night’s fights kept a perfect rhythm with a drum we’ve been beating on CagePotato for quite some time now: The key to victory in mixed martial arts is evolution, not regression. If a fighter wants to stay relevant- or even employed- within the UFC, he needs to develop himself into the most complete fighter he can.
For an example of this, look no further than Melvin Guillard. Both fans and pundits were calling his performance “Vintage Melvin” while the dynamic striker aggressively pursued Jim Miller, arguably coming closer to knocking out the submission specialist than anyone else has. However, after one flying knee attempt too many saw Miller putting Guillard on his back, “Vintage Melvin” demonstrated the same ground game that has always been his kryptonite. An impatient Melvin Guillard did everything he could to get back to his feet, which resulted in Jim Miller taking his back and sinking in the fight ending choke. “The Young Assassin” is now 10-6 in the UFC, with all of his losses coming by submission. While permanently relegating Guillard to the undercards may be a bit drastic, it’s obvious that Guillard will never be a contender unless he fixes those holes in his ground game- something far easier said than done at this point in his career.
Jim Miller did exactly what we knew he needed to do to win. He weathered the storm against Guillard’s attack, he was persistent with his takedown attempts and he kept the fight on the ground once it went there. While a quick submission wasn’t exactly unexpected, it was still impressive enough to earn him Submission of the Night honors.