Alright I can't think of a good witty introduction. I've got a pounding hangover from seeing Lucero last night after doing play by play. It's also way too early and I'm not functional yet. Anyways, let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers of the night. Maybe I'll add some snark. Probably not.
Dominick Cruz - This was the best performance of Dom's career. He was pushed harder than any of his past fights and still persevered. He fought to finish the fight on numerous occasions and pulled off two picture perfect german suplexes. If there is one complain it is that he was exhausted by the end of the fight and started getting hit a bit too much.
Demetrious Johnson - For a natural flyweight he did better against Dominick Cruz than pretty much anyone else in the division. He constantly landed on Cruz and fought off the takedowns and control. When Zuffa finally launches 125 he's gonna beast it on everyone.
Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig - Holy crap that was a great fight. It had everything and both fighters looked fantastic. Mac needs to drop to 145 because he'd look great at that weight. Wiman should be fighting better competition. He's definitely made a case for being just outside the UFC's top 10.
Yves Edwards - He looked great. His boxing was crisp and he was slipping a lot of punches. The flurry that ended it was great. He's still one of the best in the division and has better boxing than anyone not named Frankie Edgar and Melvin Guillard.
Mike Easton - Fighting in your hometown has to be impossible on such a big stage. The crowd was more into Easton than any fighter last night. He looked like crap in the first but the second he looked good. The knees at the end were awesome. It was
Matt Roth - Me. For being totally right about Pat Barry. You guys thought I was too negative but how can I be too negative when I'm totally right? Yep. I'm one of the biggest winners.
Leland Roling - If you follow Leland on twitter you know he won every one of his bets. He's one of the big winners on the night.
Dominick Cruz - Yes he had a fantastic win. Yes he looked good doing it. Unfortunately the sobering fact is that he just isn't connecting with fans and his style of fighting is just not conducive to a PPV draw. He didn't do himself any favors by not finishing the fight last night and getting hit constantly by Demetrious Johnson. It looks worse when you remember that Johnson is a natural 125er. Hopefully Cruz isn't fighting safe for his legacy and instead is still in the process of putting his skills together. I enjoy watching him fight. I just fear I'm the only one.
Pat Barry - He looked terrible or as Charles Barkley says: turrible. He landed a couple shots to Struve's chin but never really had the young Dutch fighter in trouble. His inadequacies on the ground are becoming more and more noticeable. Trying to powerbomb out of a triangle choke never works and it showed last night. He was forced to tap. He'll get another shot but man, he doesn't deserve it. He's just not a high enough quality fighter to be in the UFC.
The Yamasaki brothers - Holy crap has there ever been more bad calls in a single night? Mario and his brother both boned multiple fights and calls. The un-knockout in Watson/Sandoval, the no-tap from Roller, letting Yves Edwards beat on a visually out Rafaelo Oliviera too long, and the Charlie Brenneman/Anthony Johnson fight. This was an awful night for referees and it's obvious that the janky Yamasaki brother* won't get the call again. *credit to Rob Nashville for this term.
- Versus got screwed on this show. It could have been a major success but there was no promotion. Honestly the first time I saw the commercials for the fights was during the Facebook portion. They promoted it in good faith when the UFC was thought to be buying G4. When those talks broke down there was no reason to promote this show. Versus didn't run a pre or post show for this very reason. Hopefully this wasn't the end of MMA on the network.
- Watching Josh Neer vs Keith Wisniewski was possibly the most baffling fight experience. Wisniewski was allowing Neer to land standing inside elbows over and over and never once backed away or defended them. I'd love to know what he was thinking because that was an extremely easy way to lose a fight and it ended up costing him money from his win bonus. If he thought it would win him a fight of the night bonus he was sadly mistaken.
- I expect more of the Washington D.C. area. Drawing less than 10,000 people for a title fight isn't a good number. The gate being just over $700k is another terrible number. The UFC doesn't prioritize areas that don't draw well at the gate and if you're a fight fan in D.C. you blew it last night. The UFC has no reason to return with that kind of turn out. You'll likely get another card within three years but until then you'll need to travel to Philly or Jersey for the UFC.
- It was a solid show and definitely deserved more attention than what it received. The fact though is that the stories coming out of 135 were much more important and there just wasn't much interest in this card. Judging from yesterday's traffic more people were excited for the Barnett/Kharitonov card. It's not a good fact for someone like Dominick Cruz who needs to draw fans and money to headline cards. If he can't the UFC will relegate him to headlining cards they don't expect to do well in the first place. It's not a good position to be in.