It's that time again. As with every major MMA event, I'm going to break down the biggest winners and losers of the night at UFC 139. It was a great night of fights from the UFC. The only real bummer is that with the absurd schedule they've been maintaining since August, the event fell through the promotional cracks with most of the focus being placed on the UFC on Fox card.
Dan Henderson - At 41 years old, Hendo has been looking better in his 40s than he did in his 30s. There are still questions about his gas tank but last night's performance was spectacular. He isn't ready for a title shot against Jon Jones or Anderson Silva but he can put on some fun fights with high level guys.
Mauricio Rua - Like Dan Henderson, he put on one of the best career performances last night. The guts and heart displayed in the third round are things of legend. The fact he almost won after the absolute drubbing shows that he's still one of the toughest fighters in MMA.
Urijah Faber - Earning another title shot after just losing to the champ may seem like a crazy thing to say but last night Faber looked better than he ever has. He sat down on his punches and generated the power needed to put a hurting on Brian Bowles.
Stephan Bonnar - I've criticized Bonnar for his apparent lack of desire to continue fighting. He's kept a minimal schedule to explore other ventures and it's a shame he takes up main card spots. But last night he looked solid against a solid Kyle Kingsbury
Michael McDonald - I don't know what the future holds for the 20 year old but he's extremely well rounded for his age. Does Joe Silva continue to develop him slowly or will he be tossed to the wolves?
Chris Weidman - Awesome win against a difficult opponent. He's still got a ways to go but the d'arce choke and set up was slick.
The Fans - Was that one of the best events or was that one of the best events? If you tuned in you were treated to the best card on paper and in practice of the year. You also got to see one of the best fights of all time. If you didn't tune in then you missed out on so much and there's no reason to even talk to you.
Losers and additional thoughts after the jump...
Cung Le - Showed up out of shape. Looked terrible in his fight and left the HP Pavilion with a broken nose. I have legitimate doubts that we'll ever see him fight again.
Wanderlei Silva - Yes, a win is a win. But last night he looked terrible. He looked slow and he was hit by numerous spinning back fists. The time is right for retirement. He got the win. But looking at the top 25 of the division, who has the name and skills to make this a competitive fight for Wand without causing him more brain damage?
Eddie Alvarez & Michael Chandler - Before the PPV card started, these guys had the fight of the night. Everyone was buzzing on twitter about how great this fight was and how it was a Fight of the Year candidate. It's now an afterthought because of Henderson and Shogun.
- People calling for an immediate rematch of Henderson and Shogun last night was a little ridiculous. Those men left everything they had in the cage. The rematch would never live up to the first fight and neither man deserves to ever take that kind of damage again. It was a once in a lifetime type fight. Cherish that memory and move on.
- It really is a shame that this card won't do major PPV numbers because it honestly was the best the UFC has offered in 2011. From the first fight to the main event, I was entertained and on the edge of my seat. I can't remember feeling such an adrenaline high from fights but last night was the perfect event to explain why I love watching MMA. I said it last night and I'll say it again. There's no place I'd rather be on a Saturday night than with you guys on this site.
- An interesting point that Strikeforce welterweight Jason High brought up last night is that five round non-title fights aren't for the fighters, they are for the fans. He was pretty down on the fact that both men put their bodies through so much for our entertainment. It was the kind of fight that could take years off a man's life. I hope that puts things in perspective that while this is a sport, it takes its toll on the human body. We love spouting off the fact that there aren't any long term effects of MMA and that it's safer than boxing. Last night may prove that theory incorrect.