Less than 24 hours ago the UFC made its Fox debut with a heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. The high of the night has worn off and now it's time to break down the fights, the production, and the intangibles from the broadcast television debut.
Junior Dos Santos - Some people would say that Junior's had the toughest road to a UFC title than any of the current champions. After beating Fabricio Werdum in his debut, he's faced Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson, and Shane Carwin. Last night was the culmination and he put a stamp on the occassion. He's the undisputed heavyweight champion and it couldn't happen to a more humble guy. My hat's off to him.
Ben Henderson - How much difference a year makes eh? He lost his WEC lightweight belt at WEC 53 along with an immediate shot at the winner of Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard II. The shot went to Anthony Pettis who opted to not wait around and lost it when he faced Clay Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 13 finale in June. Bendo went on a tear in the UFC and after last night, has been rewarded with a title shot in Japan.
Dustin Poirier - The man to derail the Josh Grispi hype train picked up another big win. He's probably two fights out from a featherweight title shot. He has legitimate skills on the feet and ground. It'll be exciting to see how he progresses moving forward.
Darren Uyenoyama - He's had to deal with a ton of garbage with Shooto in the past and last night he got to showcase that he is one of the top grapplers at 135. He picked up a win over a name fighter and the bantamweight division has a new contender.
Fox and the UFC - Last night was fantastic. The production values added by Fox were noticeable immediately and the format was successful. MMA fans need to realize that last night wasn't for us. It's sole purpose was to introduce the sport to a larger audience. They did it. It was a success.
Losers and additional thoughts after the jump...
Cain Velasquez - It's bad enough that he lost his title in 64 seconds but the champion was absolutely torn apart by UFC President Dana White. He'll obviously return to form and contend for the belt again in the future. For now he's the biggest loser on the night. Props for handling defeat with grace, there's no reason to apologize for a loss.
Clay Guida & Ben Henderson - If a FOTY candidate happens and noone sees it, did it really happen? That's the philosophical question that these two will be dealing with for the next couple of weeks. Absolutely great performance, too bad the only people who saw it were fans who tuned into Facebook.
Fox and the UFC - The plan was for the opening two rounds to be entirely commercial free. This tells me that they had anticipated the fight would at least get out of the first. Having a quick knockout probably isn't what they were hoping for and it may have turned off some new fans that a fight can end so suddenly.
Dana White - The UFC President is an emotional man but he absolutely tore down his former champ for the entirety of the post-fight segment. He never once built up Dos Santos, instead continuously saying "he has a bad gas tank". I said immediately afterwards that White will probably regret not using the time better but such is life. He's a loser on the night for not recognizing how to use Fox better to promote his new champion.
The way that MMA fans complained last night was absolutely hilarious. So much so that at this point I'm sure they'll complain about anything. The UFC gave away a title fight on free television and the complaints were that they had to watch the rest of the card on their laptops? Most of you illegally stream fights anyways. And if you do pay for fights then you saved $55 and got a card for free. What can you possibly complain about when it comes to the fights?