Pardon the tardiness of this post, I am aware that it usually gets posted earlier in the day following a UFC or Strikeforce event. I had some computer issues last night entering the main event and was unable to do the write up as the show went off the air. Those issues have been resolved, at least temporarily, and that means I can bring you the biggest winners and losers of the first UFC on Fuel event.
Jake Ellenberger: Fighting in front of his hometown, Ellenberger came out like a man on fire and dominated Diego Sanchez for the first two rounds of the fight. Though Sanchez was able to come back in the third and make the fight a lot closer than it should have been, Ellenberger proved that he's one of the top welterweights in the division. Huge win and great performance.
Stefan Struve: He still hasn't figured out that he's a 6'11" fighter with a 84" reach but last night showed that Struve continues to improve in developing his punching power and stand up. He also looked to have filled out a bit more as well which will help him as he gets older. Not bad for a guy who turns 24 on Saturday.
Stipe Miocic: He allowed himself to get into early trouble by letting Phil de Fries land some powerful strikes but maintained his composure and was able to finish the Brit in under a minute. While his boxing credentials may be a bit overstated, he has crazy power and moves well for a heavyweight.
Ivan Menjivar: Like Miocic, Menjivar found himself in trouble early and was almost finished by John Albert. Menjivar was able to weather the storm and finish Albert with a rear naked choke. Gutsy performance from the veteran fighter.
Jonathan Brookins: Brookins continues to develop as a fighter against someone who I thought would give him trouble. The knockout was vicious and which was a result of Rocha leaving his face open while in an awful position. I don't know what Brookins ceiling is but it's higher than originally though.
The Omaha Crowd: 7,000 people in Omaha rivaled the crowds in both Toronto and Rio. While Dana White may have deemed Brazil the new (old) mecca of MMA, I think the locals in Omaha have an argument for best fans in the sport.
Losers and other thoughts after the jump...
Dave Herman: If you're gonna try and be the funny guy looking like a werewolf and coming out to 'Do you really want to hurt me', you have to go out and win in impressive fashion. He didn't do that. He looked like Cat Stevens and fought like Cat Stevens. I doubt he's given another shot. I hope this is the case since I hate terrible schtick.
Aaron Simpson and Ronny Markes: I'm grouping these two together because it took both of them to make for an absolutely horrible fight. The highlight was Simpson dropping marks with an uppercut in the first round. From there it was a myopic affair of clinch work against the fence.
Anton Kuivanen and Justin Salas: I understand they are both prospects so the expectations can never be the same had they been veterans. That being said, they fought a fight that wasn't memorable at all and the takeaway is that neither fighter is close to being UFC ready. Obviously they won't drop Salas but he's not as good as advertised.
Three Round Main Events: Are you serious, bro? Obviously not every fight will turn out to be Hendo/Shogun or Henderson/Guida, but there is no reason for a fight with title implications to be a three rounder. They'll be fighting for a championship sooner or later, why not allow them to get the experience of going five rounds?
- Diego Sanchez lost last night but he is in no way a loser. He brings the fight every time he enters the cage and shows a toughness that is rare in this sport. While he may never capture UFC gold, he'll be remembered as one of the most entertaining guys in the sport. As a fan I feel cheated because had that fight gone two more rounds I believe we'd be talking about Sanchez vs Condit for the interim belt. But such is life.
- T.J. Dillashaw has a ton of potential but a terrible fight IQ. He could have likely finished the fight if he didn't abandon his ground and pound to continuously look for the rear naked choke. He's still young and hopefully his coaches will go over the fight with him so he doesn't make the same mistakes again.
- I loved the commentary of John Anik and Kenny Florian. They have great chemistry together and weren't trying to oversell the action. This is key as people are tuning in to see the fights, not to be distracted by the commentary team.
- Brian Stann was absolutely incredible in the booth for the pre and post fight shows on Fuel TV. He was able to give great analysis of the fights that night as well as the upcoming fight between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. I wouldn't mind if he became a permanent fixture for future Fuel coverage.
- The presentation of Fuel was great and the addition of statistics made MMA feel more like a 'legitimate' sport. Small additions like this can help change how people view MMA and will help grow the UFC product.