Fighters on the UFC undercards are in a bit of an alternate universe. Unless their fight makes the main PPV broadcast like Stefan Struve vs Christian Morecraft, they get lost in the old philosophical quandry -- "If you win a UFC fight in impressive fashion and no body sees it, did you really win?"
Well Phil "Mr Wonderful" Davis, Johny Hendricks and Rick Story all three won impressive victories on Saturday night.
Here's what BE reader Sam Cupitt had to say about Hendricks' performance:
The first round set the fight up for what I thought was going to be a very tense, grinding affair for the next two rounds. That was not to be the case though as Hendricks came out in the second round and blasted Brenneman with hard hooks and uppercuts that continuously dropped him. Brenneman was dropped three or four times before a final hook sent him to his back that forced Josh Rosenthal to stop the fight. You could make the case of it being an early stoppage because Brenneman appeared to still be able to defend himself but you won't hear any complaints from me.
Johny Hendricks is quietly building a very quality solid resume and winning streak inside the UFC. He is scoring very impressive wins over very good competition in a manner that was very similar to the early career of Jon Fitch. He now has four wins in a row inside the UFC and six in a row under the Zuffa banner. I'd like to see him get a step up in competition in his next fight with potential matches against the loser of Condit/Hardy, Kampmann/Shields or Ricky Story all solid match-ups.
One important distinction between Hendricks and Fitch, is that Hendricks has won 5 of his 9 fights by TKO, including two in the UFC. Hendricks was one of the most hated college wrestlers competing during his storied career at Okahoma State. He's got the personality to sell fights and the fists to deliver what the fans want to see. It's time for the UFC to feature Hendricks on a Fight Night, UFC on Versus card or a PPV main card. This undefeated welterweight is going places.
A great potential opponent for Hendricks? How about Rick "Horror" Story who's very quietly gone 4-1 in the UFC.
We'll talk about Story and Phil "Mr Wonderful" Davis in the full entry.
Here's SamCupitt talking about Story's performance against Dustin Hazelett:
It's a shame this fight didn't make the PPV broadcast as this was really a breakout performance for Ricky Story. This was the MMA equivalent of when Iceland played the USA the first time in Mighty Ducks 2. For all of Hazelett's submission skills and nifty technical moves, he was no match for the sheer force of Story and was just stomped. The difference in strength was crazy, it was like a man vs. a boy in there. Anything Hazelett tried was just thrown at the wayside. Armbar? No. Flying guard pull? No. Flying V? No. Story kept a crazy pace and just battered Hazelett with body shots against the cage in the first round and then in the second round forced Hazelett to wilt under the pressure of another crazy surge. Even on the ground, Hazelett was unable to get anything going as he was constantly defending against Story's unrelenting attack.
And last but not least is the man that I expect to be Jon Jones' biggest rival at the top of the LHW division in years to come, Phil "Mr Wonderful" Davis. Let's see what Tomas Rios had to say about his performance:
Taking a clean sweep of the scorecards in the UFC may not be a rarity, but doing so while completely shutting down your opponent's entire offense must not be ignored.
Phil Davis turned the trick against Rodney Wallace and, in doing so, made the fight look more like a glorified sparring session than anything else. Better yet, Davis has been given the chance to gradually develop in much the same manner as Jon Jones, which means this will only be the beginning for the Penn State wrestling legend.
Who Davis fights next does not matter, as long as he continues to face quality opponents who can give him a good workout. It seems almost absurd to say that about a 7-0 prospect with barely two years worth of MMA training, but the there are not many fighters in the 205-pound class who can give Davis a fight; the number will only get smaller.
Davis' blend of wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may not be as flashy as Jones' combination of Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and ground and pound but it's equally effective. Davis was the far far more decorated amateur wrestler than Jones, so it could be he'll be the man to take the wind out of Bones' sails. Time will tell, and I can't wait to see!