Rashad Evans: Esther Lin
On Saturday night, the UFC not only made their return to Fox, they also made their return to Chicago after a three year hiatus. The last time the Windy City was treated to the UFC was Anderson Silva vs Patrick Cote at UFC 90, a disastrous event mared by a horrendous main event. UFC on Fox 2 will be a card that garner differing opinions instead of a unanimous agreement. So without wasting any more of your precious time, let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers on the night.
Chris Weidman: Third round be damned. Cutting 30+ pounds in 11 days is ridiculous. I worried in the lead up that he was taking too big of a step up in competition this early in his career but he was impressive for the two rounds before he gassed out. I'd love to see more from when he has a proper training camp.
Mike Russow: Being a full time anything plus full time fighter has got to be incredibly tough. Being a full time police officer is crazy but Mike Russow has found a way to do both. If there has ever been a more physically unimpressive undefeated fighter in the UFC then I don't know who that person is but Mike Russow may be in line for a step up in competition.
Cub Swanson: Before the bout I made a joke on twitter that Cub Swanson was the only person in the WEC that Jens Pulver was able to beat. I figured the fight with Roop was all but decided. Apparently Cub didn't get the memo because he absolutely thrashed Roop for two rounds. Super impressive win for who I thought to be a mediocre fighter.
Charles Oliveira: That was a slick submission. I worried that the Cerrone fight had broken him as a fighter but he showed creativity in that calf slicer. I incorrectly noted that it was a lucky submission in the results post as I write those in real time but dang, what a great set up to a submission that literally no one saw coming.
Michael Johnson: Michael Johnson has a ton of potential but he's still young and makes stupid mistakes. He's essentially Melvin Guillard with a better cage IQ and without the ridiculous knock out power. Beating Shane Roller is a big deal for a young fighter and it showcased that he has some fantastic takedown defense.
Lavar Johnson: Did anyone thing that out of all the Strikeforce heavyweights that Lavar Johnson would have an impressive UFC debut? He entered the fight riding two losses and beat the breaks off of Joey Beltran. Johnson still won't be a contender in the UFC but he'll put on fun fights.
Losers and other thoughts after the jump...
Demian Maia: What the hell happened to Maia? The last person he submitted was Chael Sonnen and that was almost exactly three years ago. He's a loser because he not only lost, he's a loser because he lost to a guy who had 11 days to prepare and 30 pounds to cut. He needs to stop boxing and get back on the jiu jitsu mat. It's what got him to the dance in the first place.
Phil Davis: For all the talk of being a better wrestler you'd expect him to be a better wrestler. Technical wrestling really isn't effective in MMA where most guys hit the power double to get takedowns. Hopefully this doesn't break him as a fighter and that he'll be able to rebound because that was an awful performance.
Jon Olav Einemo: Remember when fans were super excited about this signing and how Einemo would take the heavyweight division by storm? What happened? I realize that Russow is undefeated in the UFC and may be better than we give him credit for but come on, it's Mike Russow. If you're an elite HW you have to beat Mike Russow.
George Roop: He goes from having a close fight with Hatsu Hioki to getting knocked out by Cub Swanson. The inconsistency with Roop is amazing. It's obvious that he expected a technical kickboxing bout and instead got assaulted in the octagon by Cub. Awful showing for George Roop.
Eric Wisely: I had to learn this man's name for the primer and I will remember it as the first person ever to get caught in a calf slicer in the UFC. I doubt I'll have to write a primer about a UFC fight he is booked in again after that showing.
The live crowd: General reaction from Chicago is that the arena was dead following the Weidman/Maia fight and that people were exiting by the third round of Evans/Davis. That's not a good look.
- You're probably wondering why I didn't mention Rashad Evans or Chael Sonnen as 'winners' on the night. Well the simple answer is that both fighters did enough to win but neither impressed in those victories. That may be the fault of Dana announcing the winners were guaranteed title shots but I'm not really interested in seeing Rashad fight Jon Jones after the tentative fight last night. The same goes for Chael Sonnen. Sure, he hit the takedowns when he needed them but he was getting outmuscled in the clinch by Michael Bisping.
- Speaking of Bisping, he's not a loser on the night. Everyone thought he'd get smashed by Sonnen. Including that media member who announced that he was 'Chael's biggest fan' at the pre-fight presser. Bisping is criminally under rated by everyone and hopefully he will find his way to a title shot since he really can pose an interesting match up for everyone in the division.
- If a match happens and no one sees it, did it really happen? Chris Camozzi has to be wondering that right now. Live reports said that he pulled off a pretty slick guillotine to win his fight. I wouldn't know though since I didn't see it.
- Nik Lentz is a tough sumbitch but he's not who we thought he was. Evan Dunham is who we though he was. Which is a guy who starts incredibly slow but brings murderous intentions in the second and third rounds.
- Overall, I'm torn on this event. The prelims were great. We got great submissions and knockouts which is why I tune into the fights. On the other hand the main card was atrocious. I'll call it a C+/B- event and end this post with that.