Hindsight: UFC Fight Nights: Rockhold vs. Bisping & Shogun vs. St. Preux in retrospect

Honestly, few things are as exhilarating & demoralizing as getting it right when you expect one fighter to get crushed. Especially when that fighter…

By: Zane Simon | 9 years ago
Hindsight: UFC Fight Nights: Rockhold vs. Bisping & Shogun vs. St. Preux in retrospect
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Honestly, few things are as exhilarating & demoralizing as getting it right when you expect one fighter to get crushed. Especially when that fighter is the betting favorite coming in. I mean, on the one hand, I’m really happy that OSP won, and won big. It’s good to see a fighter who’s stuck around in the division for a little while now get a big win. But, on the other side, I’m not going to pretend that I felt awesome watching Shogun go down in 30 seconds like a sack of potatoes. That sucks, and I feel for the guy.

Otherwise, we couldn’t have had two cards that were more different in terms of the energy and enthusiasm they produced. Australia was basically a non-stop thrill ride of crushing finishes, and Uberlandia was a grind of listless decision after listless decision, capped by the destruction of a fan favorite in front of a crowd rooting heavily for him. The uncanny post KO silence said it all. Eventually, I went 14-7 over two events, and lets face it I was lucky to go 6-5 in a very weird night over in Sydney.

Disclaimer Time: No weekend encapsulates all the reasons I don’t gamble better than this one. I nailed it with the Uberlandia card, including a couple of solid underdog predictions, but was way off on much of the Sydney card. Having not spent any actual money over the course of my fight picks for the weekend, I can revel happily in my successes, without feeling the bitter sting of defeat. So, while this isn’t intended to be a deep reflection on my gambling ability, the use of odds and fight picking is a great way to talk about fighter development. I’ll be using BestFightOdds for the odds on each fight, and taking the mode for each fighter. Now, let’s get to the fights…

UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping

Jumabieke Tuerxun (+450) vs. Marcus Brimage (-600) (I picked Brimage, I was right)

  • The Expectation: It’s hard for me to say if I thought this fight would be more or less competitive. I was pretty certain, going in, that Brimage was going to win, and do so comfortably. But, on the flip side of that, I think that Tuerxun has been getting a bit of a raw deal as he came in to the UFC with a pretty limited skill set and has been improving steadily. But, Brimage is a fighter with top tier aspirations at 135, and at this point, it’s safe to say Tuerxun is not.
  • Fallout for Tuerxun: As I said above, this really, finally, definitively puts a cap on Tuerxun as a UFC talent. And frankly that cap is probably just below the UFC level. And it’s a shame, because he has looked better each time out, and didn’t look lost against Brimage, right up until the point that that headkick separated him from his senses. And that’s the rub, as good as he could hope to get technically, he may just not be fast enough to compete with good athletes at 135.
  • Fallout for Brimage: For Brimage, this was the turning point he really needed and one he almost got against Russell Doane. He’s slowly molding himself as a fun action fighter. A good athlete and a decent striker. Hopefully the finishes and the solid performances continue the next time he takes a step up from the bottom rung of competition.

Daniel Kelly (+250) vs. Luke Zachrich (-300) (I picked Zachrich, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: Honestly, I thought the odds were spot on going into this. Luke Zachrich looked a lot like the fighter I’d seen on the regional scene in his last outing against Guilherme Vasconcelos, and I really thought Vasconcelos was a more dangerous opponent than Kelly. Likewise, my expectation of Kelly was that he was too slow and too limited in his dominant dimension (wrestling) to be effective against a fairly 3-dimensional fighter in Zachrich.
  • Fallout for Kelly: It turns out that Kelly is a lot bigger and stronger than he looked on the regional scene. A “true middleweight” if you will. His fighting style still isn’t fast or pretty, but he showed that he has the raw horsepower and command of in-fighting to bully a few middleweights around. I still think he’ll struggle with better athletes, or even fighters that can just match his strength. But he has more potential to win in the UFC than I gave him credit for.
  • Fallout for Zachrich: Over his three fight UFC stint, the book on Zachrich seems to be, fighters that are bigger and stronger than him can just bulldoze right through him. While he’s not a bad technical fighter, he’s not so adept to stay away from guys looking to walk him down. And frankly, when Kelly got him in the clinch and on the ground, he seemed to freeze up a bit. He could still maybe be competitive against a few of the more wiry 185ers, but it’s going to be tough to pick him to win many fights in a division that seems to get bigger every year.

Chris Clements (-110) vs Vik Grujic (-110) (I picked Clements, I was right)

  • The Expectation: I was really surprised that the odds on this fight were essentially even. In fact I think Grujic may have even been the favorite for much of the week. In reality, while both men are well past their athletic primes, Clements has had a lot more experience fighting at a high level, and shown a lot more success there. He also has a style, as a reasonably athletic, powerful range striker, that’s made for success against a fairly plodding infighter like Grujic.
  • Fallout for Grujic: The UFC probably doesn’t cut him right away, because they like having a few faces around for their Australia shows, but this was his second attempt at facing a more athletic, yet fairly limited opponent, and he’s fallen flat both times. He has the power, and the ability against the cage, to brutalize lesser athletes, but very few of those guys get to or stick around in the UFC for any length of time. It’s tough to see many bouts Vik Grujic wins right now at 170 lbs.
  • Fallout for Clements: He’s still a fighter to watch, if perhaps for not much longer. At 38, the amount of time that Clements can spend as a whirling cyclone of surprising violence is probably severely limited. But, this was a really nice reminder, that with the right matchups he can still be a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully the UFC takes his post fight speech to heart and gives him another fun brawler next time out.

Louis Smolka (-370) vs. Richie Vaculik (+300) (I picked Smolka, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Even on short notice, I didn’t expect Louis Smolka to have that much trouble with Richie Vaz. That was almost certainly a mistake, as it undersells how solidly well rounded (if unexciting) a fighter Vaculik is, and how limited (if exciting) a fighter Louis Smolka is. Smolka came out extremely flat, and would have certainly lost, were it not for his ability to pull off the exciting and dynamic moves that Vaculik hasn’t shown the ability for.
  • Fallout for Smolka: Even in the areas he normally excels (in the phone booth) Smolka looked slow and tentative for this bout. A lot of that probably comes down to short notice, but it’s worth noting that if his camp situation isn’t perfect, Smolka’s big size for the division may mean he’s a half step slower than the normal flyweight. With a full camp, that hasn’t seemed to be the case, but here it was noticeable. Otherwise, it was good to see him adding variety to his distance striking, to get the finish. It’s an area he’s needed to work on a lot.
  • Fallout for Vaculik: Having been in the game as long as he has, it’s hard to see Vaculik really revitalizing things in the UFC. This was a big opportunity for him. He got an opponent on short notice, who seemed noticeably unprepared, and he still couldn’t pull out the win. All the basic tools are there, as far as his fighting skills, but his athletic ceiling just seems to not quite be at the UFC level. Flyweight is a dangerous division to hang around in, and unless he’s fighting Sangcha-an on an infinite loop, it’s hard to see many fighters he should be a favorite against.

Sam Alvey (+140) vs. Dylan Andrews (-150) (I picked Andrews, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: I don’t know that I’d have put Dylan Andrews as a bigger favorite over Sam Alvey, but this definitely felt like his fight to lose going in. He was the bigger, stronger, and equally skilled fighter, so it was hard to think of any way to reasonably pick him not to win this fight. Of course, that doesn’t account for the possibility of intensely stupid things happening, like slamming your opponent onto your own head. Live and learn, I guess.
  • Fallout for Andrews: This may be the end of the UFC road for Dylan Andrews, or close to it. He’s now lost his last two straight fights, both by freak stoppage. It’d be nice to see the UFC give him another shot, just because he’s not losing due to a lack of ability, but at 34 and closing in on 9 years in the game, it’s a really bad time for him to be dropping winnable fights. He’d still probably be worth picking against most of the lower half of 185, but he’s not going to get that many more opportunities to prove it.
  • Fallout for Alvey: This is a huge, if not quite meaningful win for Alvey. The huge part of this is that he gets to keep fighting under Zuffa, there’s a good chance they’d toss him out on his ear with back to back, losses in his first two fights. This is his guarantee to see another day. Unfortunately, the less meaningful side is that he looked to be getting manhandled right up until the moment Andrews decided he was tired of winning. Even Alvey had a pretty good idea of what happened. Credit to him for taking advantage and for hooking Andrews to keep him off balance, but I’ll need to see another solid win before I feel certain of his ability to compete in the UFC.

Guto Inocente (-220) vs. Anthony Perosh (+180) (I picked Inocente, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: This was supposed to be Guto Inocente’s true arrival as a LHW prospect. He’d been waylaid by injury, taken a foolish trip north of 205, and was finally returning to where he should be doing his best work. The odds were set, the stars felt aligned, and then he came out and got owned by a 42-year old reasonably one-dimensional grappler… ouch.
  • Fallout for Inocente: This is the official end of the road for Inocente’s prospect watch. He’s been in the game since 2005, so, while he’s only 28 and only has a 10 fight career under his belt, he’s been around long enough to take any excitement away from what he might do. He’s a reasonably technical striker without much power, or the footwork and wrestling to stay upright. There’s still a chance the Blackzilians could change all that, but at this point, I wouldn’t bet on it.
  • Fallout for Perosh: The hippo lives to swim another day. I’d be lying if I said I felt comfortable with the idea that Anthony Perosh is a competitive light heavyweight in 2014, but he’s still winning fights. And while his loss to Ryan Bader was a complete bloodletting (no really), Perosh was very smart to call out borderline top 15 fighter Fabio Maldonado, as a decent competitive light heavyweight he can beat. As long as he doesn’t set his sights on the divisional elite, it appears he’ll be good in the fight game for a little while longer.

Jake Matthews (-500) vs. Vagner Rocha (+354) (I picked Matthews, I was right)

  • The Expectation: While I certainly expected Matthews to win this bout, I thought it might be a reasonably tough contest, as Rocha has a reputation for being a tougher than advertised scrapper. Add into that, that Matthews’ most comfortable arena is the ground, right in Rocha’s wheelhouse, and I thought he might struggle a little on the way to the win. Instead he very much dominated.
  • Fallout for Matthews: When I say “he very much dominated” I don’t mean he didn’t struggle at all. Rocha nearly slapped a kimura on him, and generally looked the more technical fighter on the feet. But, once Matthews realized that Rocha wasn’t going to hurt him and couldn’t really threaten him, he just turned everything up a notch and ran Rocha over. Hopefully the UFC keeps him on an even development pace, as Matthews is young, and probably the brightest talent out of Australia to date.
  • Fallout for Rocha: Yet again, Rocha looks undersized and over matched fighting at 155. He moved down to featherweight briefly before getting starched out of the UFC by Jonathan Brookins, but went right back to lightweight on the regional scene. Unfortunately, while his game looks well rounded, and decently skillful, he just seems tremendously over-matched. Matthews is a big, strong lightweight, but fighters of his size and relative ability aren’t rare in the UFC.

Walt Harris (+155) vs. Soa Palelei (-170) (I picked Palelei, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Hard to see how bookmakers had this one as close as they did. In his previous UFC tenure, Walt Harris had shown no signs of a game that would threaten an established heavyweight talent. Some more time developing, or taking on lesser, younger heavyweights, might have eventually righted that for Harris, but a short notice callup against Palelei was hardly a route that seemed made for success. All said, however, he did better than I would have expected.
  • Fallout for Palelei: I know this is going to seem a little weird, but I wonder if this is maybe, the beginning of the end of Palelei as a gatekeeper heavyweight. He struggled to get Harris down a lot more than I thought he would, and once he got him there, winning seemed more a factor of Harris looking for a way out than Palelei really busting him up. He’s always been a bit of a slow leviathan, but it feels a little like he might be getting slower. I’d still pick him to beat most of the bottom half of the heavyweight division, but I’ll be watching his next fight closely.
  • Fallout for Harris: He still doesn’t have the pieces in place to be a competitive fighter at 265 lbs. Palelei is a tough, but perfect litmus test. He’s big, reasonably one-dimensional, and tough enough to not just go down in a heap when you clip him. Harris had to show that he could fight smart, and really put something new together to beat Palelei and he didn’t get it done. It’ll be interesting to see what the UFC does with him from here.

Clint Hester (-185) vs. Robert Whittaker (+170) (I picked Hester, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: While I realized that Whittaker was the more technical fighter going in, I really thought the difference in strength might be a little too much for him to handle. So did the majority it seems, as Hester was a comfortable, if not decisive favorite. In practice, of course, that was all wrong, and Whittaker reinforced that , when picking between developing talents, the more technical guy is often the safer bet.
  • Fallout for Whittaker: The biggest thing of note here is that Whittaker is not at all an undersized middleweight and really made the right decision moving up to fight there. He’s got a large frame, decent height (6 foot on the nose) and a decided speed advantage. It helps too that he’s also almost impossible to take down, so fighters are going to have to out work him standing to beat him. If there’s anything 185 lacks right now, it’s consistent technical strikers outside the top 15.
  • Fallout for Hester: Well, it turns out that win streak was, at least in part, due to the pretty poor talent base in the lower ranks of 185. Hester has slowly improved, but it is a slow improvement and he still has big holes in his striking game. Most importantly, Hester seems most comfortable darting in and out from range, but doesn’t strike in volume, eventually making him a reasonably easy fighter to time with shots on his way into the pocket. Fortunately for him, there aren’t many MWs that can take advantage of that, so I’d still pick him to beat most guys in the division.

Al Iaquinta (+110) vs. Ross Pearson (-130) (I picked Pearson, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: I should have listened to that nagging voice in my head, telling me that Pearson doesn’t always perform that well against more fluid, dynamic fighters. I thought the odds were spot on, and even though I took Pearson to win it, and even get the stoppage, that was more to my lack of trust in Iaquinta’s fight IQ, than any real disparity in skill or ability. I saw an avenue for Iaquinta to win it, but didn’t take it because of his past questionable performances.
  • Fallout for Iaquinta: This is his get-over fight. The bout that really puts him on track to be a top fighter. He’s been a potential star for years now, ever since BE highlighted him in their scouting report. But his failure to win TUF and then his upset loss to the crafty Mitch Clarke, seemed to tag him as a guy who would probably never quite make it. That was absolutely my read on him, and that appears to be wrong. I’d like to see one more really solid, complete performance out of him before I take his favorite status as given, but it certainly seems like he’s on his way up.
  • Fallout for Pearson: As big a win as this was for Iaquinta, it was as big a loss for Pearson. He’s been knocking at the door of the top 15 for a little while now, and after KOing Gray Maynard, it really felt like he was going to get there. Unfortunately for him, as an inside boxer, he may not just be fast enough to make that style work. And he’s not quite diverse enough to fall back on other skills (even if he’s not particularly bad anywhere). Iaquinta marched in and beat Pearson at his own game, and it’s hard to see Pearson as more than an action gatekeeper after that kind of loss.

Michael Bisping (+375) vs. Luke Rockhold (-550) (I picked Rockhold, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Almost everyone I talked to expected Rockhold to come in and walk all over Bisping here. I can’t say it was much of a surprise when that was exactly what he did.
  • Fallout for Bisping: Hopefully this is the end of meaningful, relevant fights for Bisping. Guys like Cung Le, Rich Franklin, hell maybe even Anderson Silva or Nick Diaz at this point, are the fights that Bisping should be taking. Not bouts against potential up and coming top contenders. He’s no longer fast enough to work his game against elite athletes (and some would argue that he never was) but at this stage, the idea that he could be up for contention should just die. I still like watching him fight, and there are still fights he could take, but he doesn’t need to keep Rockhold busy.
  • Fallout for Rockhold: If he wasn’t before, he’s now clearly in the title picture. If/when Weidman stops Belfort, Rockhold has some claim to being next in line. If he’s unwilling to wait, he could solidify that claim with a bout against Jacare or Romero. Both would be dangerous, but either would establish an really legit no. 1 contender.

UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. St. Preux

Colby Covington (-500) vs. Wagner Silva (+401) (I picked Covington, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Covington was slated to roll over a much less skilled opponent in Brazil and everyone, from the bookies on down knew it. Eventually he got there, but it wasn’t quite as easy as I might have expected. It set a very real tone for this card, of scrappy young prospects under-performing, mostly due to their relative inexperience.
  • Fallout for Covington: He gets another win. And a stoppage win, no less. I expected that he would pound Silva into putty, but in just his seventh pro fight, Covington is still very raw. He doesn’t have a ton of extra tools outside of his wrestling. Still, it was a very good sign to see him get the stoppage late, as it shows that he was looking for the finish all fight, and not happy to just ride out the decision.
  • Fallout for Silva: Silva is almost certainly not ready for the UFC right now. He looks like a good athlete, and a functional striker and grappler, but without a deep technical base, like Covington has, he’s just going to get beat up by numerous welterweights who are further along in their development than he is. The UFC could throw a couple TUF China guys at him, or save him for some of their upcoming Mexican or south east Asian fighters, where a lot of the talent is really raw, but Silva would probably be best served back in the minors right now.

Thomas Almeida (-450) vs. Tim Gorman (+325) (I picked Almeida, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Once again, a young prospect was expected to roll through his opponent, and once again he failed to do so. This time, it seems like it had less to do with the relative lack of skills of Thomas Almeida, than it did the ridiculous toughness of Tim Gorman. Gorman stood in the pocket and traded blows with Silva for a lot of this fight, and was almost always on the worst end of it. But Almeida is a volume striker, not a one punch KO artist, and no amount of volume seemed to chip away at Gorman’s chin.
  • Fallout for Almeida: He’s still one of the sports’ very best prospects, but this was a fight that exposed a few holes. His takedown defense wasn’t a major issue (although it did come into play a bit), the biggest issue seemed to be, what Almeida will do with an opponent he can’t finish standing. At that point, he doesn’t really seem to have a lot of other aspects to his game. He went for a couple of decent chokes, but never really got close to securing them. If Gorman had been a more technical or more athletic fighter, Almeida may have found himself in trouble. Hopefully this becomes a good learning point, even in a win.
  • Fallout for Gorman: I should have had some inkling of just how tough Gorman was, when he went three full rounds while getting battered by Mitch Gagnon. He’s got a head like a rock, and just enough skill as a wrestle boxer, to make an exciting fight out of it. IF he could really get some good technical training in, that skill set could carry him some distance. Even as he stands right now, he could probably beat a few of the lesser fighters at bantamweight. But, on the back of two straight losses, coming off of TUF, I’m not sure he won’t be on his way back to the regionals.

Charlie Brenneman (-125) vs. Leandro Silva (-105) (I picked Brenneman, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: It’s weird to think I thought Brenneman would win this fight. And it appears that at least a few others shared in that optimism as he ended up as a very slim favorite over Leandro Silva. At the end of the day, I really thought this was a coin flip fight. And I bet on Brenneman’s wrestling, over Silva’s whatever-it-is-he-does. It turns out that whatever Silva is doing is still better than where Brenneman’s at right now.
  • Fallout for Brenneman: If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, Charlie Brenneman shouldn’t be fighting in the UFC anymore. He’s just not good enough, in any one area, to compete there. “Buscape” is exactly the kind of big, athletic, and not great at anything fighter that Brenneman should have been able to outwork to a decision, and he couldn’t get it done. He even got KO’d by the low power, workman like Beneil Dariush. Hopefully people around him are talking to him about his MMA career, because none of it seems to be going well for him right now.
  • Fallout for Silva: He lives to fight another day. Leandro Silva is big, and he’s pretty athletic. Honestly, he may belong at welterweight, but if he’s making the cut to 155 fine, then that’s good enough for me. His big problem so far has been that he’s a pretty low output striker, and doesn’t really dominate in any other phase of the game. He got a little lucky here, with an opponent who’s doing everything just a little worse than him right now, but I’ll need to see him win again before I’m convinced he can consistently compete in the UFC.

Caio Magalhaes (-260) vs. Trevor Smith (+250) (I picked Magalhaes, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Magalhaes has been a fighter of steadily increasing returns, as Smith has been a fighter of steadily diminishing returns. This promised to be a very similar style matchup as Magalhaes should have been able to breeze by an opponent who’s just not getting a whole lot done at this point in the UFC. And, that’s just what happened (along with some illegal stuff).
  • Fallout for Magalhaes: The illegal blows aren’t great, but they’re not a terrible sign either. It’s a moment of that athlete outrunning his brain, where Magalhaes saw an opportunity and his body took it. You know, the sort of thing that Maximo Blanco and Melvin Guillard seemed to do all the time. It’s something to watch out for, as I wonder how good he’d be at sticking to a game plan, but it’s not “dirty” in the way that Lima’s knee was dirty. Otherwise, Magalhaes just re-established what we already knew. He’s a fighter to watch at 185.
  • Fallout for Smith: He won his previous bout, against the now retired Tor Troeng, so Smith probably isn’t done in the UFC, but I can’t say I’m really excited for his next bout. He started out as a solid brawling grappler, but seems to have become more and more the brawler and less and less the grappler. He got a bit lucky in that Tor Troeng really wanted that grappling match, and made Smith play a game he’s better suited to, but unless other opponents are willing to do the same, I’m not picking Smith to win many fights.

Diego Rivas (-145) vs. Rodolfo Rubio (+121) (I picked Rivas, I was right)

  • The Expectation: That this would be an ugly slop-fest between two under-prepared fighters. Sometimes reality meets expectation head on.
  • Fallout for Rivas: He gets to stay in the UFC and hopefully for him, get the kind of matchups he can win. There aren’t many of those, so the UFC may end up bringing in fighters just to face him and get cut.
  • Fallout for Rubio: He’s almost certainly not staying in the UFC. If he does, it will most likely be to build up another, better prospect.

Nina Ansaroff (-145) vs. Juliana Lima (+115) (I picked Lima, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Not gonna lie, I was pretty shocked to see that Nina Ansaroff was the favorite leading into this bout. She’s a fun, exciting fighter, but her style is pretty much tailor made to be beaten by a controlling wrestle boxer like Lima. The eventuality, I think, is that people were really undersold on Joanna Jedrjezczyk. Lima’s loss to her was not a knock on Lima’s skill, but rather a showcase of just how complete Jedrjezczyk’s overall game is.
  • Fallout for Lima: She’ll probably never be a fan favorite as a grinding wrestler with a limited striking arsenal, but frankly, there are so few really quality wrestlers in women’s MMA, that I find it refreshing to watch her do her thing. Lima is going to beat a lot of women at 115, just by being hard nosed and technical. I don’t see her beating powerhouses like Esparza or Gadelha, but she could be a top 10 mainstay.
  • Fallout for Ansaroff: Ansaroff still has a ton of talent and ability, but she needs to round out the rough edges in her game. She doesn’t work in enough volume, and given the chance to fight at range, walks herself right into the clinch. She also has a love for spinning strikes, while moving backwards, that good fighters are going to exploit over and over. Hopefully she can patch up those holes, because she’s got rare power and technical variety in her game.

Leon Edwards (-225) vs. Claudio Silva (+190) (I picked Edwards, I was wrong-ish)

  • The Expectation: This seemed like a bout primed to give us a highlight introduction to Leon Edwards. Silva is a scrappy come forward fighter, but a terrible striker and mediocre wrestler. And Edwards, much like Ansaroff above, is a striker with great variety and power in his game. Unfortunately, also like Ansaroff above, he’s got a few holes to patch. I thought he won the decision, but it wasn’t a robbery at all.
  • Fallout for Edwards: It’s really good to hear that he seems pretty at peace with the judges going against him in this bout. Hopefully, his own feelings that he lost will push him to make improvements he might ignore if he felt he got robbed. The biggest holes he has to fix are output and footwork. The output problem is that, when faced with a tough out like Silva, volume striking is key. Judges like volume, it wins rounds. And the footwork is all about avoiding takedowns, and avoiding getting hit by wild strikers. Edwards takedown defense was actually okay, early, but as he got tired everything deteriorated and he was practically falling over at Silva’s request. If he can work on keeping aggressive fighters from crowding him, he’ll be much better for it.
  • Fallout for Silva: Technically, Silva’s still kind of a mess. He’s a functional wrestler, and a decent grappler, but his striking looks more like he’s having a fit in the ring than anything functional. The flip side to that is that he’s tougher than dirt. As was the case with Gorman against Almeida, simply being tough can really close a lot of skill gaps. In the case of Silva, it really made the difference between winning and losing, as he ate a lot of shots that would have put other fighters down. I could see him keeping his win streak alive against the right welterweights, but sooner rather than later, he’s going to hit a real wall with his limited skills.

Dhiego Lima (-500) vs. Jorge Oliveira (+342) (I picked Lima, I was right)

  • The Expectation: This was all set to be a nice easy win for Dheigo Lima. And he played it just right. Came out early looking to strike, realized quickly what a bad idea that was, and then went into full grappler/wrestler mode… which is right where he had to stay for all 15 minutes. What should have been an easy win, became a pretty ugly showing, in a night that ended up with a lot of ugly showings.
  • Fallout for Lima: After his loss at the end of TUF, a season many pegged him to win, there was still quite a bit of hope for Lima as a top MMA prospect. At 25, he’s relatively young, he hasn’t been fighting for that long, and he’s been winning more often than not. It’s hard for me to feel that a great deal of shine isn’t off his potential after this win however, as he seemed to get everything going his way, and just not be able to get over the hump and finish the fight. At one point, in the first, he got so frustrated that he threw a blatantly illegal knee. It’s not a great sign for his ability to take on opponents that can really hang with him, if he’s losing his cool against someone he’s dominating.
  • Fallout for Silva: Those that scouted him before hand knew that Silva was basically coming into the UFC as an action striker, and little else. There wasn’t much chance he was going to win this bout, against a bigger, better prepared, more skillful wrestler and grappler. But, when the fight was on its feet, Silva acquitted himself reasonably well. He’s a bit wild and hittable to be seen as a guy who will move way up the ranks, but for as long as he’s in the UFC (and given the right booking) he should be a lot of fun to watch.

Warlley Alves (-400) vs. Alan Jouban (+345) (I picked Alves, I was sorta right)

  • The Expectation: Alves was a big favorite on potential and potential alone. He hadn’t yet shown a great depth of skill in his career, but he’s been blowing the competition away. Jouban was supposed to be a tough, legit test, but a test Alves should pass. He sort of did that, kinda, but not to most observers. Frankly, I thought he won, but the argument that he didn’t has a lot of merit. If nothing else Alves had the more dynamic fight-changing moments in each of the first two rounds. And having heard a few judges talk about that sort of thing, it seems many place a lot of importance on those moments.
  • Fallout for Alves: Maybe unfairly, maybe not, this is going to be a major pump-the-brakes moment in Alves’ career. A lot of people think Jouban got robbed, and when fans are angry they tend to characterize the fighter they’re angry at as shitty, or dirty, or a lot of other labels that can stick for a while. Alves is still a great prospect. He’s 23, and for about 30 seconds, he showed that he could utterly dominate a guy like Jouban. Then he gassed hard. If this fight teaches him to fight smarter, then it’s a lesson well learned.
  • Fallout for Jouban: Tough to say. He’ll certainly have gained a few fans, not just for gutting out a tough fight, but for getting robbed of a win most felt he deserved. Eventually, I’m not yet sold on him as a talent to watch however. He’s looked badly over-matched at points in both his first two UFC bouts, and isn’t really a technically complete fighter in any phase. He’s also pretty old, at 31, for a guy just getting his career going (without a deep technical base like Romero or Burns). Hopefully he can keep developing and put together a nice run of wins, but he may just end up being something of a fun action fighter for a little while.

Mauricio Rua (-165) vs. Ovince St. Preux (+135) (I picked OSP, I was so right)

  • The Expectation: Here’s my opportunity to rub this win in everyone’s face. I said this would be a brutal short night for Rua, and it was. I said it would be a lot like Mike Brown vs. Steven Siler, and it was almost exactly like that fight. And yet, I’m still a bit sad, because who want’s to see an former legend go out like that. Not even on his shield, but felled by the first arrow. A good night for my ego, but a rough moment to watch.
  • Fallout for Rua: I’m not saying he “has to retire” he can do whatever he wants. He’s an adult, it’s his career. But, I severely hope that those around him, those in his family, those in his camp, talk to him about hanging it up and making good, smart choices. Shogun used to be indestructible. Now, he’s utterly destroyed and that’s not going to get a lot better going forward.
  • Fallout for OSP: Of course, now that it’s happened, most fans are just going to say “Wow, Shogun’s shot, OSP’s not even a great fighter, and he beat him up.” The thing is, OSP is a pretty great fighter at this point. He’s not a technical wizard, but not everyone has to be, to win fights. He’s big and exceptionally athletic, and not totally lost in any area of the fight. Most of the guys above him will very likely beat him, but there are still a whole lot of guys below him that, at just this moment, probably don’t have a prayer against him.

Those are my collected thoughts from a double header weekend of UFC action. So much of what I wrote seems obvious now, but as always, that’s the benefit of hindsight. Make sure to tune in next week, when I hope to be talking about Mark Hunt, interim heavyweight champion (but probably won’t be). Until then!

*This week’s movie quote courtesy of Clerks.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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