As expected, it was a great idea to pit two heavyweight knock out artists against one another for the Fox audience. Lavar Johnson and Pat Barry swung for the fences and beat the tar out of each other for almost a whole round before Johnson stopped Barry with punches.
“Big” secured a $65,000 KO of the night bonus with the beating. Johnson now has two consecutive entertaining UFC wins under his belt, after back to back Strikeforce submission losses. He’ll likely get at least a couple more style-friendly sluggers to duke it out with from the UFC since he’s performed so well against them thus far.
Barry’s situation may be a little more complicated. The former K-1 fighter always brings it in his fights, is fan-friendly and has some big wins on his resume. But he’s also now lost three out of his last four fights and five out of his last eight. One would imagine he’ll get at least some more fights from the UFC given that he won his prior fight and how exciting he was, even in defeat, against Johnson.
Alan Belcher may have just capped the stealthiest rise to title contender in the UFC with his first round TKO win over Rousimar Palhares. Belcher defended a flurry of leg-lock attempts from Palhares expertly, allowing his He-Man shaped opponent to gas out, before putting on a ground striking clinic and finishing the fight himself.
Belcher has only lost one time since September of 2008, and that was a controversial decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama. He’s now piled up four consecutive finishes against solid competition and, short of Chael Sonnen, Mark Munoz and Hector Lombard, there are not many other names other than Belcher’s to consider as #1 middleweight contender.
We got exactly what we could have expected out of the matchup between former NCAA Division I wrestling national champions Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks – a wild slug fest. Top wrestlers like Koscheck, Hendricks and Dan Henderson often carry with them nasty one-punch natural knockout power, which they typically wield with reckless abandon. After all, they don’t usually have to worry about being taken down no matter how much they over extend themselves on strikes.
That’s what we saw with Hendricks and Koscheck. They each threw nothing but power shots, in spurts, in between mostly failed takedown attempts. Koscheck appeared to hurt Hendricks in the first round, but Hendricks landed nearly twice as many total strikes as Koscheck, including big uppercuts and straight lefts that landed flush. They didn’t seem to faze Koscheck, but left the right side of his face swollen badly.
In the end, two judges saw it for Hendricks and one for Koscheck. The fight was close but since Koscheck was gifted a decision over Mike Pierce in his last outing, you can’t feel too badly for the recently liberated long time American Kickboxing Academy fighter.
The good news for Koscheck is that he looked like his old self against Hendricks, after seeming flat against Pierce. Also, the dude has a plane, so, you know…it’s all good.
With as crowded and muddled as the talent-heavy lightweight division title picture is these days, some might have wondered if Dana White’s pre-fight statement that Nate Diaz would get a title shot if he beat fellow contender Jim miller was premature or dubious in its logic. But after beating Miller via second round guillotine submission, Diaz has three consecutive wins over former champs or top contenders.
What’s more is that Diaz beat Miller so emphatically and decisively. Miller is not an easy man to stop, in fact, Diaz is the first person to do so.
If Diaz decides to wait around for a title shot as his next fight, he’ll have a little chunk of change to help him make ends meet. He was awarded the submission of the night bonus for his guillotine over Miller, and with it $65,000.
Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker showed once more why its always a good idea to watch the prelims and also why its always good to watch the flyweights fight. Their exciting battle earned them each a fight of the night bonus as well.