I think the whole MMA community can unite in agreeement that UFC 144 was a great card. I personally missed the Mizugaki fight and most of the Fukuda-Cantwell fight, but everything else that I saw, I liked. Correction, I LOVED it.
The thing I liked more than the great knockouts, the back and forth fights, and the incredible comebacks was that there were so many upsets on this card. I don't pay attention to upsets betting-wise, but in terms of rankings...there were a certainly more than usual. I personally love it when guys win and shake up the rankings, we can all have a look after the jump.
From what I understood, this was a decision most saw the other way, and Dana F. White gave Mizugaki his win bonus. That being said, the Bloddy Elbow play-by-play noted that it was a 'close fight' after the first two rounds and they scored round 3 for Cariaso...so I feel Cariaso's upset is worth mentioning, even if it wasn't the best call by the judges.
God bless Tim Boetsch for going for it like he did. Too often you see fighters down two rounds in a 3 round fight essentially stop trying to really change the fight in the 3rd. Boetsch was down two rounds, and had nothing to lose. He was either going to drop a decision or get finished. His only option for victory was to get a finish himself, and he came out in the 3rd, went for broke, and made it happen. Hats off to him.
Mark Hunt's MMA career is illustrated by a few high peaks and low valleys: He lost his first fight, followed it with a five fight winning streak, then suffered 6 straight losses and has now resurged with 3 straight victories. The fights that the UFC were contractually obligated to give him were his last chance to make something more of his MMA career, Hunt knew that and has risen to the occasion beautifully.
In all likelyhood, Jackson's alleged knee injury which resulted in him eventually missing weight probably had an effect on his performance tonight. Would Rampage necessarily have won without the knee injury is anyone's guess, but Bader went out there and did what he needed to do for 3 rounds.
Bader losing to Jon Jones is what almost everyone expected, him losing to Ortiz is what nobody expected. Everyone seemed to want to permanently write him off after the loss to Tito. 'He lost to Tito Ortiz, in 2011, he's THAT bad!' or 'He's the only guy to lose to Tito Ortiz since 2006!' were repeated often. I don't like using the 'oh he just got caught' excuse for upsets in MMA, or for any outcome...it seems to just write off what the winner did. But sometimes, one guy just happens to land the right punch on someone who would likely beat him 9/10 times. I didn't think it was fair to write him off completely just because of that loss.
I love that he's shocked everyone by doing what nobody expected him to do and defeated Rampage.
It wasn't a huge rankings upset, but it was an upset nonetheless. The fight was certainly competitive, but it felt to me like Henderson did enough to take the rounds he needed to win.
I love this, people were quick to say that the WEC lightweight division was built with lower caliber fighters. Josh Thomson was quick to criticize journalists for putting Ben Henderson in the top 10 of the division. Well, now look at what has happened. You have the former(and lineal) WEC Lightweight champion becoming the UFC Lightweight champion, and his first challenger is likely going to be a rematch of a WEC Lightweight title fight with another former WEC lightweight champion in Anthony Pettis. I couldn't be happier, I'll leave you all with this:
WEC NEVER DIE!
PS. Random statement - John Carter, in theaters March 9th, is going to be a lot better than most people think, I suggest checking it out.