(Photo courtesy of MMAFighting.com.)
By Jason Moles
Reflecting on UFC 145, one can only agree that that was an incredible way to break the fast of Zuffa-branded MMA action. Now that it’s all over, let’s take a moment to sort through the night’s biggest winners, losers, and everything in between. Oops, wrong site. So what five things did we learn from the event? Nope, that’s not right either. Here’s
UFC 145′s MMA Stock Market The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Yeah, that’s it.
• Travis Browne. In a Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem: Where Are They Now?” href=”http://www.cagepotato.com/brock-lesnar-vs-alistair-overeem-where-are-they-now/” target=”_blank”>shrinking weight division, the undefeated “Hapa” continues his streak of dominance. After submitting Chad Griggs with an arm triangle choke in the first round, top-ten heavyweights are forced to pay this man some notice — especially now that he’s finishing opponents on the mat, which seemed to surprise Browne as much as anybody. Look for the big man to get a big step up in his next outing.
• Young Fighters Performing Like Veterans. Rory MacDonald and Jon Jones are two of the youngest fighters in the UFC, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that purely from watching them in action Saturday night. At 22 and 24 respectively, the young guns showed us that virtuosity beats experience. Georges St. Pierre has praised MacDonald for a while now, going as far as saying that he will be the next Georges St. Pierre — a mighty high compliment considering the source. In all of his 14 pro bouts, “Ares” has only gone to a decision once. Even his one loss to UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit came in exciting fashion and earned him a Fight of the Night bonus. The countdown has already begun. Liftoff is imminent. Hope this kid isn’t scared of heights.
As for the champion, Jon “Bones” Jones retained his 205 lb. strap after he carved out an elbow-shaped cave in Rashad Evans‘ forehead. Even with emotions running high and the world taking pause to watch genuine bitter enemies fight it out, Jones kept his composure and never once hinted at cracking under the brightest of spotlights. The fight was never really all that close, at least not as close as one would expect it to be with Bones fighting an opponent who’s former champion as well as a former sparring partner. Jones’ masterful performance in the Octagon on Saturday night makes me hope the UFC offers to pay for the funeral of his next opponent. I mean, the guy’s already left four former champions in body bags.
• Guys Who Make Rape Jokes Getting KTFO. I don’t care if it was a line from a hit TV show or not, rape is no laughing matter. Miguel Torres was cut from the UFC for his blunder, and re-signed after making a concerted effort to make amends for his transgressions. Though his debt to society had been paid, Michael “Mayday” McDonald — another impressive young up-and-comer — dished out his own brand of justice to the master of mullets. Defeating a former champ is always noteworthy, even if Torres is playing on the back nine, so to speak. One well-executed uppercut was all that was needed from McDonald to send the former WEC bantamweight champion to the canvas for the night. I bet Torres never saw that coming. Good thing everyone loves surprises.
• Matt Brown’s Testicular Fortitude. Brown fought a game opponent in Stephen Thompson whose famed karate was key in busting up Brown’s face, but was virtually useless when the fight hit the mat. Nonetheless, as the fight progressed into the final minutes of the third round, Thompson landed a 1-2 combo and nearly won the fight. Goldie and Rogan insisted that Brown was in trouble, hurt, rocked and various other synonyms. If half of what they said was true, then maybe “Immortal” is more than just a nickname for Matt Brown.
• Joe Rogan busting Mike Goldberg’s balls. It never, ever gets old.
• Brendan Schuaub’s Chin. It’s no coincidence that all three of Brendan Schaub‘s losses have come by way of (T)KO. Some guys can take a punch, others can’t. Either the Colorado native needs to work on a different game plan for heavy hitters, or he should make reservations at Sharmar Village Care Center.
• Rashad Evans’ Unwillingness to “Go for Broke.” Being down four rounds to none is the definition of having one’s back against the wall. You cannot retreat. You have no other recourse than to fight your heart out, risking life and limb, and another embarrassing KO face, for the chance to wear UFC gold once again. This is your chance to prove what you’ve been saying for over a year to be true. Pop quiz hotshot, what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO? In the case of Rashad Evans, ‘nothing’ is answer.
• The MMA Live Curse Returns. Miguel Torres and Rashad Evans, both former ESPN MMA Live co-hosts, walked away in defeat at UFC 145. Some say it’s because their opponents were just that damn good or that the difference in reach was an insurmountable disadvantage for Rashad. Others, however, blame a completely provable, totally natural curse from a few years back — which we conveniently never mention unless it benefits us.
• That Color Blind Ref. I swear the referee for the Bocek/Alessio fight was wearing a pair of UPS pants. Although still not as big of a wardrobe malfunction as this (SFW), it was certainly distracting.
• The Faces of Mark Hominick and Eddie Yagin.
• Marcus Brimage and Maximo Blanco following up a shitty fight with a ridiculous gymnastics demo.